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How to downgrade to Windows 7 from Windows 8

Install Windows 7 on a laptop that came with Windows 8

Inspiron 14z Windows 8 or Windows 7?

Our Helproom Editor explains how to run Windows 7 on your Windows 8 PC or laptop. UPDATE: see our more detailed piece - How to downgrade your PC from Windows 8 to Windows 7.

QUESTION I have bought a Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook. Its specification lists an Intel Core i5 processor, a 500GB hard drive, an SSD and Windows 8. I'd prefer it to run Windows 7. I have tried using a shell to emulate the older OS, but it feels unwieldy. How difficult would it be to install Windows 7 on the SSD so I can continue to enjoy the fast boot times?

I have not installed any software that would require backing up. I also need to know whether an OS downgrade would invalidate my warranty, and where I can buy a genuine copy of Windows 7. (See also: Dell Inspiron 14z Ultrabook review.)

HELPROOM ANSWER Downgrading your operating system should not invalidate your hardware warranty. You can run any operating system you wish.

Whether or not you can easily downgrade to Windows 7, though, will depend on whether your Windows 8 PC was purchased with downgrade rights. With downgrade rights, you can install a previous version of Windows without needing to purchase an additional key for the software. Windows 8 Pro often provides downgrade rights to Windows 7 Professional, for example.

Be aware that even though you'll be using an SSD, Windows 7 won't boot up as fast as Windows 8. Also watch out for any possible incompatibilities: some of the most recent laptops sold running Windows 8 will not have been tested with Windows 7. There is no guarantee that Windows 7 drivers will have been made available either.

See all How to articles. Get free tech support in the Helproom Forum.

Visit Windows 7 Advisor and Windows 8 Advisor for more Windows advice. Or email our Helproom Editor for bespoke advice.

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