I was browsing the "Understanding Downgrade Rights" page at Microsoft, and there is no mention that I can see of any downgrade rights for Windows 8 - only the Windows 8 Pro edition is mentioned.
Understanding downgrade rights
Does this mean that Windows 8 (Core) preinstalled by an OEM has no Downgrade rights?Downgrade rights offer a practical solution. The customer can:
- Purchase a PC with Windows 8 Pro preinstalled.
- Downgrade—at no additional cost—to Windows 7 Professional.
- Move to Windows 8 Pro at the appropriate time. The system is licensed and ready for conversion.
Windows and Windows Server software eligible for downgrade rights
OEM versions of Windows 8 eligible for downgrade
Windows 8 Windows 7 Windows Server 2008
Windows 8 Pro includes downgrade rights to:
- Windows 7 Professional
- Windows Vista Business
Downgrade rights process
To downgrade Microsoft Windows or Windows Server software, customers must:
- Purchase a PC preinstalled with Windows or Windows Server software.
- Accept the End User Software Licence Terms.
- Perform the downgrade or authorise a third party to perform it on their behalf.
When the Downgrade Rights details and FAQ page is read, things become more confusing as it seems to shift to OEM System Builder installations:
Downgrade rights details and FAQ
So whereas the Downgrade rights are at "no additional cost", the software that is used for the downgrade cannot be used on another system whilst the downgrade is installed - if I read this right!What to know about downgrade rights
The following provides more details about downgrade rights for Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise and Datacentre versions and Windows Small Business Server 2008 Premium Edition.
- Also see the Downgrade Rights FAQ.
- End users can use the following media for their downgrades: retail (full packaged product), or system builder edge-to-edge media (DVD), provided the software is acquired in accordance with the Microsoft OEM System Builder Licence. End users can use one legal version of the downgrade media for multiple installations. They don't need to have one set of media for each PC they are downgrading, because they have acquired legitimate full operating system licenses for the most recent version, which gave them the right to downgrade.
- In the event the end user opts to downgrade, neither Microsoft nor the PC manufacturer is obliged to provide customer product support for systems on which downgraded software is installed.
- The software may not be installed on any computer system other than the one that was downgraded under this right.
- If downgrading, the end user cannot use the new operating system (for example, Windows 8 Pro) and the downgraded operating system (for example, Windows 7 Professional) at the same time.
- If an end user chooses to downgrade to an approved, prior version of the Windows desktop operating system, the PC manufacturer still must apply the desktop operating system Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to the PC.
- End users may reinstall the software at any time, provided the downgraded operating system has been removed from the computer and that software is reinstalled on the same PC on which it was originally installed, using the original OEM system builder edge-to-edge media (DVD) distributed with the original PC. The end user will need to use the product key, located in the centre of the Certificate of Authenticity (COA), in order to activate the following products:
- Windows 8 Pro
- Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate
- Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate
- Windows XP Professional
- Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
- Windows XP x64 Edition
- Windows Server 2008
- Windows Small Business Server 2008
- For Client Access Licence (CAL) downgrades, end users may use Windows Device CALs and Windows User CALs with an earlier version of the software in accordance with the terms of the of the Windows Server 2008 End User Software Licence Terms.
This summary is intended to be a general informational overview of the downgrade rights outlined in the End User Software Licence Terms for the indicated Microsoft OEM system builder product. Please refer to the actual Licence Agreement for the precise terms and conditions that govern use of the software.
So I presume you must get someone with retail or System Builder versions of the Downgrade OS to do it for you, assuming you don't wear an eye-patch or have bought your own media in the past. How do you do this at "no additional cost"?In the event the end user opts to downgrade, neither Microsoft nor the PC manufacturer is obliged to provide customer product support for systems on which downgraded software is installed.
The software may not be installed on any computer system other than the one that was downgraded under this right.
When I try to get further information following some links on the page I am taken to: Enrolling in Microsoft Partner Network
presumably because the document I was trying to get is on a download server available to the Microsoft Partner Network, and therefore enrollment in the scheme is necessary.
This seems quite weird. The Downgrade Rights page states:
Provided that certain requirements are met, end users may request that another party perform the downgrade on their behalf. The following document provides clarity about how to meet those requirements, and what that process entails.
End User Downgrade Rights Facilitation Options .pdf 88 KB
Because downgrade rights apply to end users, they are not primarily designed for third-party facilitation, which has many complications. Also, such facilitation is not suitable for carrying out on a large scale.
Why would an end user need to be enrolled as a Microsoft Partner?
So even if you have an eligible edition, "no additional cost" does not mean freely available.
Doesn't Microsoft want you to downgrade or something?