News, tips, advice, support for Windows, Office, PCs & more. Tech help. No bull. We're community supported by donations from our Plus Members, and proud of it
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • Win8.1 Pro downgrade rights

    Posted on driftless Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 8.1 Questions: Win 8.1 (and Win 8) Win8.1 Pro downgrade rights

    This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 1 year, 11 months ago.

    • Author
    • #132550 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      By now, OEM copies of Win8.1 have just about dried up. I was looking at recertified laptops, but almost all ship with Win10. In a chat session at the Windows Store, an MS rep told me that any machine that ships with 10 Pro may be downgraded to 8.1 Pro.

      Since I have received mostly misinformation in tech chat sessions, can anyone verify if this is true?

      If so, either 8.1P would activate with the BIOS-embedded key, or one could call MS for activation.

      It may be a minority view since many pretend that 8x never existed, but 8.1 is a good choice because it’s faster and more secure than 7, avoids all the lunacy associated with 10, and will be supported until 2024.


    • #132556 Reply

    • #132557 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      Excellent, thanks. A couple more clicks and I landed at Downgrade_Rights.pdf, which includes a table showing that OEM versions of Win10P may be downgraded to 8.1P or 7P, shown below. Good to know! win-downgrade

    • #132566 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      You probably got the links already but its still availble on this site:
      You should get Pro & Core (Home) in the same install media and upon install it “should!!” select the version your entitled to. Just in case it doesent or you want to select the version on, say a clean install. Simply use 7zip extract the .iso image to a folder. Locate the sources folder and insert a blank (i.e. no specified version) “ei.cfg” file (theres lots of howto’s out there) it takes no more than a minute to make.
      Then recreate the .iso file with your favourite ISO maker. Either burn it to a disk or “RUFUS” it to a USB.
      A word of caution, well not really caution before install make sure you get the key out of the BIOS before an install as it saves time during “setup” and Win8.1 doesent always find it. My machine is Orig. Win8.1 and on the exceptionally rare re-install I have had to enter it manually.
      Hope this has been of some use 🙂

      PS Most of the .iso’s avail. are release 3, that is they have the infamous kb3000850 large 800mb update already integrated but your still looking at about 1.1GB of updates as well 🙁

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #132569 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      Yes, I already have install media with and without a customized ei.cfg. I’m not sure any old ie.cfg would do this, but mine enables the option to skip entering the key during the install, useful when testing on generic hardware that doesn’t have a key in the BIOS. I wouldn’t pirate an OS, but it makes sense to verify that all device drivers are working before entering the key.

      • #132577 Reply



        You must already own a Win 8.1 Pro Retail or Volume License before you can utilize the downgrade rights when buying an OEM Win 10 Pro Business PC or high-end PC. If not, the downgraded Win 8.1 Pro cannot be activated, ie only Win 10 Pro is activated.

        The Win 10 Pro downgrade rights to Win 8.1/7 Pro is mainly for corporations who already own Win 8.1/7 Ent Volume Licenses to buy new OEM Win 10 Pro computers, downgrade them to Win 8.1/7 Pro and then convert them to Win 8.1/7 Ent; and for power-users who already own Win 8.1/7 Pro Retail Licenses to do something similar as the corporations.
        As we know, Win 8.1/7 are still supported until 2023/2020 and many corporations have chose to stay on Win 8.1/7 Ent until EOL but may need to replace/upgrade their computers = to save on costs and/or postpone the Win 10 Ent twice-a-year upgrade debacle.

    • #132591 Reply


      MS makes no mention of a requirement to hold a license to the earlier OS when downgrading. Many people on forums have reported that 8.1 automatically activates using the BIOS-embedded key. Win7 doesn’t use embedded keys; the key may be injected by the recovery media, and if that is not available, presumably by phone activation with MS.

      I agree with BobbyB that it is a good idea to look up the BIOS key. I’ve used ProduKey from Nirsoft.

    • #132666 Reply


      As I understand the info from MS, any system that shipped with Win10 Pro preinstalled may be downgraded to 8.1P or 7P. Media ISOs for the earlier OSs are freely available from MS.

      Since Win7 does not read activation keys stored in BIOS, if the PC has no COA sticker with a key, the key is typically injected by the factory recovery media. If factory recovery is not available, I’d try a phone activation with MS. If MS declines to activate the OS, the next call would be to the PC manufacturer.

      I had one instance where an HP laptop would not activate Win7 after using the factory recovery DVD. I called HP and was given a key that worked.

      • #132675 Reply


        Do you think M$ are so kind and generous as to allow people to buy an OEM Win 10 Pro computer, easily downgrade to Win 7/8.1 Pro and then be able to get a new and free Win 7/8.1 Product Key by just calling M$ or the OEM?

        If what you think is true, there would be no market demand for Win 7/8.1 Pro Product Keys at Newegg, eBay and Amazon…

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

    Reply To: Win8.1 Pro downgrade rights

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use Advanced BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.