OEM Downgrade Rights


This covers the 1. Windows 10 Pro OEM License, 2. Windows 8.1 Pro OEM License and 3. Windows 7 Pro OEM License and their associated Downgrade and Upgrade rights.

1. Windows 10 Pro OEM License

Only the Pro OEM Edition has Downgrade rights. The unique 25 digit product key is embedded in the UEFI BIOS. A system shipped with Windows 10 Pro OEM will have a sticker like the following affixed to it:

win10Pro

Downgrade Rights

According to Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM has downgrade tights to Windows 8.1 Pro OEM and Windows 7 Pro OEM. In the majority of cases the end user will wish to Downgrade to Windows 7 Pro OEM. Microsoft have only facilitated a legitimate mechanism to Downgrade to Windows 7 Pro OEM and as discussed in detail below it may be impossible for an end user to downgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro OEM without Volume Licensing.

https://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/licensing/sblicensing/Pages/downgrade_rights.aspx#fbid=i9LiJFFRVUA

Windows 10 Pro OEM

  • Windows 10 Pro has a unique 25 digit Windows 10 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key embedded in the UEFI BIOS. This is automatically input and accepted by Windows 10 TH2 Pro installation media.

Windows 8.1 Pro OEM*

  • Windows 8.1 Pro installation media rejects the unique 25 digit Windows 8.1 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key embedded in the UEFI BIOS. End User thus cannot get an Activated Windows 8.1 Pro Install.
  • Microsoft-OEM-End User triangle of blame: Microsoft Support refer the end user to Dell; Dell refer the End User to Microsoft.
  • This is a Microsoft caused issue; Dell cannot activate Windows 8.1 Pro as the key is now considered “hardware” i.e is embedded within the UEFI BIOS. For Dell to Activate Windows 8.1 Pro via Downgrade rights they physically need to deassemble your system to give you a new motherboard with a Windows 8.1 Pro UEFI BIOS embedded System Locked Preinstallation Key (and Windows 10 Pro via the “Free Upgrade”).
  • Microsoft do not provide a Dell a means of facilitating Downgrade Rights once a system is shipped and have made the Windows 8.1 Pro installation media faulty with respect to Windows 10 Pro keys… It rejects them.
  • Downgrade rights for an End User are therefore impossible once a systems been shipped and can only be carried out by an organisation using Volume Licensing.
  • A typical end user experience with Microsoft Product Activation regarding this downgrade path is demonstrated here: http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/software-os/f/3524/p/19666381/20860862/

Windows 7 Pro OEM

  • Windows 7 Pro utilises a Generic Dell 25 digit Windows 7 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key 32KD2-K9CTF-M3DJT-4J3WC-733WD. This product key cannot be used with Retail Media using conventional means.
  • For Downgrade rights its assumed the end-user has a Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation DVD from a previous Dell system… Due to the fact that pretty much all Windows 7 SP1 images are 5 years out of date I recommend using the Dell Windows 7 SP2 Professional 64 Bit Reinstallation .iso which I have updated to incorporate Intel USB 3.0 functionality, NVM Express and all updates until June 2016.

Dell Windows 7 Reinstalaltion DVD4

  • Note the Generic Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM SLP key activates if and only if a valid OEM BIOS is detected. In the case of Dell, the Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM Reinstallation DVD inputs this generic product key and activation occurs on a Dell Windows 10 Pro UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 8.1 Pro UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 7 UEFI BIOS and Dell Windows 7 Legacy BIOS. Activation does not occur on a Dell Windows 10 Home UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 8.1 Home UEFI BIOS (including Bing and Single Language Home Editions), Dell Windows 7 (Non-Pro) UEFI BIOS and Dell Windows 7 (Non-Pro) Legacy BIOS.
  • The product ID will be of the form 00371-OEM-8992671-00524 (00371 indicates English and a different 5 digits will be present if you use a different Language).

2. Windows 8.1 Pro OEM License

Only the Pro OEM Edition has Downgrade rights. The unique 25 digit product key is embedded in the UEFI BIOS. A system shipped with Windows 8/8.1 Pro OEM will have a sticker like the following affixed to it:

Win8Pro

Downgrade and Upgrade Rights

According to Microsoft Windows 8/8.1 Pro OEM has downgrade tights to Windows 7 Pro OEM and Windows Vista Business OEM. As Windows Vista Business is almost at End of Life and the Vista OS was highly unpopular its assumed no-one wants to Downgrade to Windows Vista Business OEM. Moreover modern hardware may be unable to install Windows Vista and its unlikely there will be Windows Vista system drivers released. Windows 10 TH2 Pro OEM is also a Free Upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro OEM:

https://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/licensing/sblicensing/Pages/downgrade_rights.aspx#fbid=i9LiJFFRVUA

Windows 10 Pro OEM

  • Windows 8.1 Pro has a unique 25 digit Windows 8.1 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key embedded in the UEFI BIOS. This is automatically input and accepted by Windows 10 Pro TH2 installation media as Windows 10 TH2 Pro is a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro.

Windows 8.1 Pro OEM

  • Windows 8.1 Pro has a unique 25 digit Windows 8.1 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key embedded in the UEFI BIOS. This is automatically input and accepted by Windows 8.1 Pro installation media.

Windows 7 Pro OEM

  • Windows 7 Pro utilises a Generic Dell 25 digit Windows 7 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key 32KD2-K9CTF-M3DJT-4J3WC-733WD. This product key cannot be used with Retail Media using conventional means.
  • For Downgrade rights its assumed the end-user has a Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation DVD from a previous Dell system… Due to the fact that pretty much all Windows 7 SP1 images are 5 years out of date I recommend using the Dell Windows 7 SP2 Professional 64 Bit Reinstallation .iso which I have updated to incorporate Intel USB 3.0 functionality, NVM Express and all updates until June 2016.

Dell Windows 7 Reinstalaltion DVD4

  • Note the Generic Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM SLP key activates if and only if a valid OEM BIOS is detected. In the case of Dell, the Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM Reinstallation DVD inputs this generic product key and activation occurs on a Dell Windows 10 Pro UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 8.1 Pro UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 7 UEFI BIOS and Dell Windows 7 Legacy BIOS. Activation does not occur on a Dell Windows 10 Home UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 8.1 Home UEFI BIOS (including Bing and Single Language Home Editions), Dell Windows 7 (Non-Pro) UEFI BIOS and Dell Windows 7 (Non-Pro) Legacy BIOS.
  • The product ID will be of the form 00371-OEM-8992671-00524 (00371 indicates English and a different 5 digits will be present if you use a different Language).

3. Windows 7 OEM License

Only the Pro OEM Edition has Downgrade rights. A system shipped with Windows 7 Pro OEM will have a 25 digit product key on the Code of Authenticity (COA) which should be affixed to your system:

Windows 7 COA

To prevent the COA from fading the COA is likely residing in the battery compartment of Laptops and inside the computer cover of Desktops. Use your smartphone to take a picture of it.

Laptop COA

Downgrade and Upgrade Rights

According to Microsoft Windows 7 Pro OEM has downgrade tights to Windows Vista Business OEM and Windows XP Professional OEM. As Windows Vista Business is almost at End of Life and the Vista OS was highly unpopular its assumed no-one wants to Downgrade to Windows Vista Business OEM. Many downgraded to Windows XP Professional OEM but this OS is now past its End of Life. Moreover modern hardware may be unable to install Windows XP or Windows Vista and its unlikely there will be Windows XP or Windows Vista system drivers released. These may have been made available for the earlier 2009-2011 models however. Windows 10 TH2 Pro OEM is a free Upgrade to Windows 7 Pro OEM:

https://www.microsoft.com/OEM/en/licensing/sblicensing/Pages/downgrade_rights.aspx#fbid=i9LiJFFRVUA

Windows 10 Pro OEM

  • Windows 7 Pro has a unique 25 digit Windows 7 Pro OEM key on the COA. Windows 10 Pro TH2 installation media will ask for a product key and accept the Windows 7 Pro key on the COA as Windows 10 TH2 Pro is a free upgrade to Windows 7 Pro.

Windows 7 Pro OEM

  • Windows 7 Pro utilises a Generic Dell 25 digit Windows 7 Pro OEM System Locked Preinstallation key 32KD2-K9CTF-M3DJT-4J3WC-733WD. This product key cannot be used with Retail Media using conventional means.
  • For Downgrade rights its assumed the end-user has a Dell Windows 7 Professional Reinstallation DVD from a previous Dell system… Due to the fact that pretty much all Windows 7 SP1 images are 5 years out of date I recommend using the Dell Windows 7 SP2 Professional 64 Bit Reinstallation .iso which I have updated to incorporate Intel USB 3.0 functionality, NVM Express and all updates until June 2016.

Dell Windows 7 Reinstalaltion DVD4

  • Note the Generic Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM SLP key activates if and only if a valid OEM BIOS is detected. In the case of Dell, the Dell Windows 7 Pro OEM Reinstallation DVD inputs this generic product key and activation occurs on a Dell Windows 10 Pro UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 8.1 Pro UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 7 UEFI BIOS and Dell Windows 7 Legacy BIOS. Activation does not occur on a Dell Windows 10 Home UEFI BIOS, Dell Windows 8.1 Home UEFI BIOS (including Bing and Single Language Home Editions), Dell Windows 7 (Non-Pro) UEFI BIOS and Dell Windows 7 (Non-Pro) Legacy BIOS.
  • The product ID will be of the form 00371-OEM-8992671-00524 (00371 indicates English and a different 5 digits will be present if you use a different Language).
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