HP urges consumer customers not to downgrade new PCs to Windows 7

Will not support Windows 8-to-Windows 7 moves with drivers, company-provided apps

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has advised consumer customers not to downgrade new PCs equipped with Windows 8 to the earlier Windows 7.

In a message on its support website, HP said that consumer-grade desktop and notebook systems shipped after Oct. 26 -- the date Windows 8 launched -- will not support the older Windows 7.

"Windows 7 will not be supported on these new platforms, and no drivers, apps, or Windows 7 content will be available through HP," the company said. "If users choose to downgrade their HP consumer desktop or notebook system, HP will continue to support the hardware but if there is an issue where HP diagnostics are required or it is determined that the loaded software or upgrade operating system is causing the issue, HP may suggest returning the system to the original Windows 8 OS."

Downgrade rights -- which let customers replace a newer version of Windows with an older edition without paying for two copies -- are de rigueur with business-class editions of Windows, and are meant to let companies keep new machines on their preferred OS.

Only Windows 8 Pro comes with downgrade rights; the consumer-standard Windows 8 does not. Windows 8 Pro users can downshift to Windows 7 Professional or Vista Business.

Downgrade rights are available only from OEM copies of Windows, those that are pre-installed by computer manufacturers like HP. As with earlier downgrade rights, the customer is responsible for obtaining the installation media for, say, Windows 7 if he or she wants to downgrade from Windows 8.

HP noted that it will support downgrades on its business-class PCs, implying that it will provide drivers for those machines.

Although HP's for-consumers PCs come standard with Windows 8, customers who have factory-upgraded to Windows 8 Pro -- an option available on many machines -- acquire downgrade rights. HP charges $70 for the move from Windows 8 to Windows 8 Pro.

HP, like most computer makers, also continues to sell some models with Windows 7 pre-installed. Microsoft's rules allow OEMs to equip PCs with the older OS for up to two years, in other words, until late October 2014.

Do-it-yourself downgrades are more complex with Windows 8, however: Users must first modify the PC's BIOS to boot into what's called "legacy mode." By default, Windows 8 uses UEFI-mode (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) boot on new PCs to enable some new features, including Secure Boot.

Downgrade rights were a non-factor with Windows 7, which customers generally applauded, but they were newsworthy after Windows Vista's launch in 2007, when many users, frustrated at that edition's problems, mutinied and dropped back to XP.

It's too early to say whether Windows 8 will trigger a Vista-like desire to downgrade, or if customers will take to Windows 8's massive user interface (UI) changes.

See more Computerworld Windows 8 launch coverage including news, reviews and blogs.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Read more about windows in Computerworld's Windows Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags HPoperating systemssoftwarePCsWindowsHewlett-Packardhardware systemsdesktop pcs

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?