Downgrade Rights Q&A – from Microsoft OEM Partner Center Web site

as copied today 10/23/2007

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Q. What are downgrade rights and how would my customer benefit from downgrade rights?

A. Downgrade rights refer to the ability of your customers to acquire the most recent version of Microsoft software but continue to run a previous version until they are ready to upgrade. Downgrade rights are an end-user right and are documented in the product End-user license agreement.

Q. Where can I find out more information on downgrade rights?

A. Please visit http://oem.microsoft.com/downgrade for more information.

Q. Who can install the downgrade software or reinstall the original software?

A. A System Builder (when authorized by end user), or the end user. Because downgrade rights are an end user right granted in the end user license agreement (EULA), the end-user must first be able to accept the (EULA) associated with Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Small Business Server 2003 software, so this software must be installed first before the downgrade software is installed.

Q. Where do customers get the CD/media to install the Downgrade Software?

A. End users must use a legally licensed version of the specified previous version of the Windows desktop or server operating system to install the Downgrade Software. The Downgrade Software may be from the retail, OEM/System Builder, or volume licensing channels.

Q. Can end users use both the latest version and the downgrade software at the same time?

A. No. End users may only install and use one Microsoft operating system (either the downgrade software or the applicable Windows Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Small Business Server software) at any given time.

Q. Can end users return to Windows Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Small Business Server 2003 software after they downgrade?

A. Yes. End users who downgrade may reinstall the original software when they are ready to migrate. For example, an end user who downgrades to Windows XP Professional may later return to Windows Vista Business software provided that the end user deletes the Windows XP Professional software from the PC.

Q. How do end users reinstall the original software after downgrading to a previous allowed downgrade version?

A. End users must use the original System Builder media that was included with the PC or server for reinstallation. The Downgrade Software must be deleted from the hard drive before the original software is reinstalled.

Q. Does the Office 2003 or 2007 OEM license contain the downgrade rights to a previous version?

A. No, OEM System Builder licenses of Office do not contain downgrade rights. Currently, Windows Vista Business, Vista Ultimate, Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Tablet, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition, Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, and Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition are the only OEM System Builder Licenses that contain downgrade rights.
Please see the Downgrade Rights Overview page for more information on downgrade rights.

Microsoft OEM Partner Center Web site

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