Windows 7 does not allow users to “downgrade” or convert from a more premium and more expensive edition to down-level, more basic and less expensive edition. For example, it’s impossible to downgrade from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise, or from Windows 7 Professional to Windows 7 Home Premium or Home Basic.

Windows 7 SKUs or editions have a hierarchy as below:

Starter -> Home Basic -> Home Premium -> Professional -> Ultimate

Upgrade is only possible one-way from the lower edition to higher edition of Windows 7, and not the other way round. If user attempts to perform an in-place upgrade to downgrade to lesser edition of Windows 7, an error similar to below will be displayed at compatibility report:

Windows 7 Ultimate cannot be upgraded to Windows 7 Home Premium. You can choose to install a new copy of Windows 7 Home Premium instead, but this is different from an upgrade, and does not keep your files, settings and programs. You’ll need to reinstall any programs using the original installation discs or files. To save your files before installing Windows, back them up to an external location such as a CD, DVD, or external hard drive. To install a new copy of Windows 7 Home Premium, click the Back button in the upper left-hand corner, and select “Custom (advanced)”.

Windows 7 Cannot Downgrade or Convert to Lesser Edition

The refusal of Windows 7 to downgrade causes several groups of people some headache, especially when user doesn’t want to lose and wipe off existing programs installed. For example, users who installed Windows 7 Ultimate during beta or release candidate phase of Windows 7, but now acquire a Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional license. The situation can also apply to user who installs Windows 7 Ultimate or Professional edition, but now wants to go legit by buying or being given a gift of Windows 7 Home Premium license. End-users also have to go through the hassle of backup all data files when clean install is required.

Microsoft probably forbids downgrade for a reason, such as possibility of corrupting or messing the operating system and complexity involved in such downgrade. For user who must perform in-place downgrade, there is a workaround trick that can force Windows 7 setup installer to allow “upgrade” or downgrade from uplevel edition of Windows 7 to downlevel version of Windows 7, while retaining all installed application software, drivers and migrating all documents, music, video, shortcuts, bookmarks, favorites, and personal data files or settings.

  1. On existing Windows installation, run Registry Editor (RegEdit).
  2. Navigate to the following registry key:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

  3. In the right pane, change the value data of EditionID and ProductName to reflect a minor version of Windows 7.

    For example, to fool OS to think that it’s another edition of Windows 7, hack the registry key to the following values as below:

    Windows 7 Professional Product Name and Edition ID
    Original Windows 7 Ultimate registry value

    Windows 7 Home Premium (allow Windows 7 Ultimate or Professional to Home Premium downgrade)
    EditionID: HomePremium
    ProductName: Windows 7 HomePremium

    Windows 7 Professional (allow Windows 7 Ultimate to Professional downgrade)
    EditionID: Professional
    ProductName: Windows 7 Professional

    Windows 7 Home Premium Product ID

    Note: The ProductName and EditionID should have the same name with the Windows 7 operating system name displayed during OS selection on the installation DVD. Some Windows 7 installation DVD may use “Windows 7 Home Premium” as OS name. See the hack to enable Windows 7 OS edition selection during setup by disabling ei.cfg to create universal Windows 7 installer ISO.

  4. Start Windows 7 installation by inserting Windows 7 DVD disc into disc tray, or mount the Windows 7 ISO image into a virtual drive.
  5. Select Upgrade as type of installation. Then, continue to install Windows 7 as per normal.

For user who decided to upgrade from Windows 7 Beta or Windows 7 RC release, the Windows 7 upgrade paths also does not support direct upgrade any prerelease versions of Windows 7. However, an easy hack of modifying cversion.ini can enable direct upgrade to Windows 7 final from Windows 7 RC or Beta.

One last note is that after the “downgrade” of Windows 7 installation, the operating system must be reactivated.

Related Posts

  • vishnu

    how can i degrade from ultimate to homebasic.

  • John

    This works great!

    I had Win 7 Ultimate installed and had a Win 8 Pro upgrade I couldn’t use simply because of the difference in version hierarchy.

    I made the two registry edits and changed to HomeBasic, and in a matter of seconds I was able to install Win 8 Pro upgrade!

    I am so thankful! If Before finding this tip, I was facing having to back up all my documents and programs, reinstalling a plain Win 7 version in order to apply the Win 8 upgrade, and then reinstalling all my programs and documents again.

    Amazing such a simple edit could save this trouble!

  • John

    I am trying to downgrade from Ultimate to home professional. the professional version is not genuine and so need to downgrade but because I had home premium preinstalled on my PC I don’t have a disk. I was wondering if I could just click on change product key by right clicking on my computer and properties and changing it to my windows 7 home premium key.

    2. If this doesn’t work I have a know how whatever happens guarantee and was wondering if they would fix this for me???

    someone please reply ASAP

  • MQ

    I have Win 7 Enterprise SP1
    I have changed the registry key from Enterprise to Professional (also in WoW6432Node).
    My Win 7 Professional DVD is without SP1, so ei deinstalled SP1 and did an Upgrade via Professional DVD.

    Everything worked fine, but I have a currious issue now:
    When I restart windows, the keyboard and mouse freezes after restart (the logon window is shown). I have to shutdown via start/shutdown button on the pc and start the pc again. then the mouse and keyboard is aktive.
    This happens everytime I try.

    I have updated all hardware drivers, sp1, all windows updates, but no change.

    What can be the problem?

    Would a os repair help?

    Thanks,
    MQ

  • kelly

    Need to downgrade Professional to Home Premuim so that i can fix my shutdown problems. And update my windows homepremuim and i’ve tried to update it but it didn’t work since it was Windows 7 Professional help please!!!!

  • Currently having a Win 7 Ultimate x64 and want to downgrade to Professional x64.

    Followed the steps indicated above but just can’t get to the windows where there is a selection for upgrading. Even the “Compatibility report” warning didn’t shows up when running the installation disc from virtual drive.

    It goes straight to the Copying temporary files and installing windows part.

    Does this have something to do with my installer? Is there any further tweaking necessary? Is downgrading applicable for x64 installers?

  • ash

    Thanks for the write up, I've used this before and it works wonders. Yet recently I cannot get it to work. NO matter what I change the ProductID and Product Name to they never change and I cannot do the downgrade. Has Microsoft made this legacy at this point with SP1 or some GA patch?

    Thanks,

    Ash

  • EmTech

    It's worth noting that if your DVD media is an original OS without any service packs, and your OS has a service pack installed, it may (rather confusingly) report that you can't downgrade from a more advanced version – meaning it can't downgrade from Enterprise SP1 to Professional original (SP0), for example.

    Uninstalling any service packs to take it back to the same SP level as the install media should get around that problem. Only took me an hour to figure out that's why it wasn't working, thankfully before I resorted to a rebuild :)

    If this process is failing and you can't see any other reason why, check the SP level of your OS and of the DVD, it may just be the cause.

    • detronix

      Took in a customers netbook, replaced a faulty hard drive and loaded up windows 7 home basic from an older DVD. Did all the updates (including sp1) ran my custom ninite install and went to activate. It wasn’t until then that I realized I should have installed windows 7 starter. I carried out the reg edit procedure as outlined above changing the values from HomeBasic to Starter. When I ran the DVD, I selected upgrade and chose Starter. However, it reported back that I had a newer version of windows 7 (possibly because of the service pack). I never thought of trying to roll back to SP0 although with the load of updates I pulled down before sp1 showed up and the fact it’s an Atom on 1gb ram, I would probably be quicker and safer doing the clean install again.

  • Old Bob

    "4.Start Windows 7 installation by inserting Windows 7 DVD disc into disc tray, or mount the Windows 7 ISO image into a virtual drive."

    Now that's a trick I'd like to see. Install Win 7 from a virtual drive which will get wiped out once the installer gets going.

    • Adz

      I once did that back with Vista…When I realised what I'd done, the bruise from facepalming so hard lasted a week.

    • Older Tony

      Obviously, that would be either a VM or drives that would be unaffected by the install……..

  • I face the error message "bad image" when i run windows professional cd exe is there any idea?

  • It works?

    This will be delete the data on HD or not?

  • Matthew Sutton

    Worked a treat after a few tweaks.

    The switch to enterprise nearly had me beat. Here's how i got it to work:

    Because Enterprise is a special version – a machine can only be upgraded to Win 7 Enterprise from a Vista Business or Vista Enterprise machine.

    I changed the registry settings at the locations in the previous post to:

    EditionID: Enterprise
    ProductName: Windows Vista (TM) Enterprise

    With this it worked without an issue. Took approx 1.5 Hours but with the customization i'd done to my machine was worth it.

  • SyKoTiK

    @Arms: I am currently in the process of doing a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 to Windows 7 Enterprise x64 "upgrade". I initially had the same error you received, but after changing the keys in both HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion AND in HKLMSoftwareWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion from "Ultimate" to "Enterprise" it now went through and is performing the "upgrade". I'm currently at 41% of the last step which is "Transferring files, settings, and programs". Not sure what to tell you other than to change the values in the registry in BOTH places (not just 1 or the other).

  • Josh

    I had trouble converting Windows 7 Ultimate x64 to Windows 7 Enterprise x64 until I figured out the problem. THIS HACK TO CHANGE VERSIONS ONLY WORKS WITH WINDOWS 7 INSTALL DISKS THAT HAVE A SINGLE EDITION ON THEM. It will not work with MSDN disks that have for example 32 bit and 64 bit installations on the same disk. I downloaded the MSDN disk with Windows 7 Enterprise x64 only on it and this hack worked perfectly. It wouldn't work with the MSDN disk I had that had both 32 and 64 bit.

  • sHeRrY

    can you still upgrade to an original windows7 professional after upgrading to a fake one? because i was tricked with this fake one and i'd like to buy a new and original windows7 professional from a store near me:] but before buying i'd like to know whether i can still upgrade to windows7 professional though this current fake OS is already windows7 professional.. i can upgrade to ultimate but professional is cheaper and it doesn't really matter to me whether it's not ultimate:]

  • Matt

    Woops. I did miss the section on reinstalling with the disc. Bleh. Will try again.

  • Matt

    I am getting the same thing….Windows is still recognizing it is Pro and will not accept my Home Premium key. I rearmed the OS, which gave me another 3 days to activate…have followed the command prompt instructions for forcing the key in. Also tried altering keys in the WOW64 directory as a previous poster mentioned. No luck there. I am in the same boat as a lot of people here. Bought a crappy key but have a genuine Home Premium key. I do not want to reinstall everything!

  • Arms

    Unfortunately, it appears that this hack no longer works.

    Tried to downgrade from Win7 Ultimate x64 to Win7 Enterprise x64.

    Toggled the registry keys under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion

    and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion

    (EditionID and ProductName).

    This enabled Enterprise setup to choose the "upgrade" option, but it recognizes immeditately afterwards, that it is really running on Win7 Ultimate, with this message:

    Windows 7 Ultimate cannot be upgraded to Windows 7 Enterprise. You can choose to install a new copy of Windows 7 Enterprise instead, but this is different from an upgrade, and does not keep your files, settings, and programs. You’ll need to reinstall any programs using the original installation discs or files. To save your files before installing Windows, back them up to an external location such as a CD, DVD, or external hard drive. To install a new copy of Windows 7 Enterprise, click the Back button in the upper left-hand corner, and select “Custom (advanced)”.

    Has anyone an additional idea how to get past this annoying artificial obstacle?

  • FoXX

    my acer laptop have Win7. bt i want to delete win7 & install XP.(i know,i wil lose my drivers file, bt i wil instal them from internet/driver cd). how can i downgrade to win7 to win XP?

  • Konamiman

    It is as yakkamut says: the product name in the registry key must be "Windows 7 Home Premium", with an space. I tried it without the space first, then all the installation process went smoothly, but at the very end I received the message like "This edition of windows can't be installed on this computer, the previous edition has been restored". D'oh!

  • Oliver

    For downgrading the 64bit edition of Windows Professional to HomePremium I had to change the "ProductName" and "EditionID" in the following registry path:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindows NTCurrentVersion

  • yakkamut

    Like the previous commenter, I bought a fake key off ebay for Windows 7 Ultimate. Eventually I bit the bullet and I ended up buying "Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit System Builder 1pk" off Amazon.com for 100 bucks, followed your steps, and it worked fine (after the second attempt). For me, I needed a space in between "Home" and "Premium" in the ProductName.

    EditionID HomePremium

    ProductName Windows 7 Home Premium

    You must validate online. At first I entered my new key through "Windows activation" (Control Panel > System and Security > System) and it was rejected! Then I clicked a link for validating online, and all was good :)

    W7 Ultimate 64 bit > W7 Home Premium 64 bit

    Thanks so much for posting these tips, and good luck to everyone else trying this.

  • gory524

    wow! worked like magic. never thought it would be this easy. downgraded from ultimate to my original premium when the key i bought from ebay turned out to be a fake. THANK YOU!!!

  • Billy

    Will this work downgrading from Windows 7 Ultimate x32 to Windows 7 Professional x64?

  • Annya

    Yay!!!!!!!!!Works Perfectly on me!(At the 3rd time haha)Thank U!!!

    I had a big problem as i installed the professional and it was not genuine.I hated that black screen but now i am returning back to home premium!!!Again THanks!!!

  • Joshua B

    Working just perfectly for me!

  • Tom

    Worked like a charm: W7 Ultimate 64 to W7 Pro 64!

  • Jure

    It works like a charm… Downgraded from Ultimate to Prefessional. It takes a while but works smoothly!

    :)

  • Steve M

    Thanks, that worked great for me, had a non-genuine Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, "upgraded" to Home Premium 64-bit fine after changing the two registry keys. I had to re-validate it after the upgrade.

    Read post no 3 to see the correct values for the keys.

  • lechoo

    Thanks ! that works. I've got problem with reinstallation in place W7 Enterprise to Ultimate.

    Changed was in 2 places registry (how You describe) and cversion.ini on installation files.

  • Jsnider

    No matter what I try still says Utlimate cant be upgraded…

    Help please….

  • jsnider

    I've tried this but when i run install it still says ultimate cant be upgraded… help…..

    jsnider1970@yahoo.com

  • Дюша

    navpadlu throw keys on Windows 7 Ultimate x86-x64

  • Mathew

    How can I upgrade from Windows 7 Home Premium to Ultimate from a DVD without a clean install?

  • Ryan

    Great info – thank you for the help!

  • Andrew

    i did the upgrade "by youtube", from home premium to ultimate. Now that i have it i can't see anything better FOR ME, and also games doeesn't work any more, so i want to go back. Knowing that it would result in shit, before upgrading i saved the product id of home premium in a text file. So, if i change the product id i need also to reinstall windows 7? And also: my windows 7 came with the pc (its hp), so can i use the recovery discs to go back or not?

  • ixm7

    Question: would the registry hack work for in-place downgrade from Vista Enterprise to Vista Business?

    Background: I have a legit Vista Business but, by mistake, after a hard drive crash, I ended up with a non-legit Vista Enterprise installed.

  • computerdoctor

    64 bit Windows 7 Ultimate can not be downgraded tp x64 Windows 7 Home Premium as it would be necessary to use Home Basic (HomeBasic) as the upgrade path. Home Basic was not offered in x64.

  • Scott L

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to thank people for this and update that if it still says you have ultimate and fails to work, choosing business as per CJ's post up above fixed it for me.

    So I had to rename ei.cfg to ei.cfg.old I had to fiddle with my cversion.ini and edit the registry but I can now fix up this laptop some idiot put a dodgy version on.

    Thanks to all – awesome.

  • JohnD

    Ok, I tried downgrading to Windows 7 Pro from Windows 7 Ultimate and it worked by using the regedit and using Windows 7 Business it's copying files now.. I tried using Windows 7 Home but it did not work.. I will leave feedback here once it's done and I hope everything is working fine..

  • marcinm

    It doesn't work!

    I was do everything in above instruction and change version in cversion.ini, but I still have the same problem like this: http://www.mydigitallife.info/wp-content/uploads/

    And now I have win 7 RC x64 and download from msdn win 7 x64 RTM language version are correctly (eng) What i should do ??

  • Joe

    nice one guys, worked like a treat. had to make some changes to the cversion.ini as specified in one of your other blogs because i was installing Windows 7 Ultimate RC -> Windows 7 Professional (upgrade dvd)

    thanks

  • John

    When downgrading from W7 Professional to W7 Home Premium (by modifying the ei.cfg file), the authorization code will not work. Is there a workaround for this? Windows 7 is now in a trial mode and will expire soon.

  • doug

    did the job as expected. thanks

  • Dan

    (continued from previous comment)

    Good news- I was able to switch from Windows 7 Ultimate to Windows 7 Professional after all. I took a cue from CJ and changed the registry values to say "Business", and during installation I also told it not to download updates for the installation (when it asks at the beginning of install). Not sure which of the two made it work, but one of them did.

  • Dan

    Made the registry changes to "Professional" and "Windows 7 Professional", and tried to downgrade Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit to Windows 7 Professional 64bit. It got to the very end and then said that it couldn't be completed, and rolled back to Ultimate. When it booted back up, it showed this error: http://imgur.com/VQ72K

  • CJ

    I could not get the way described to work using an inplace upgrade from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Pro.

    However, I found that changing the following would allow an inplace upgrade.

    From

    EditionID: Ultimate

    ProductName: Windows Vista (TM) Ultimate

    to

    EditionID: Business

    ProductName: Windows 7 Business

  • Dharma

    Didn't work for me. Tried to change Vista Ultimate to Vista Professional, then install Windows 7 Professional, but it wouldn't accept the change. Still thinks I am running Vista Professional. Checked the Registry, and the change was there, but something else is telling Win7 that Ultimate is installed. Any ideas?

  • Ray

    This neat trick didn't work for me. Currently running Vista Ultimate 64, tried downgrading to Windows 7 Home Premium. Failed once, put a space in the product name field and failed again the same way. Got to where it was copying 700,000 files or so, left, came back and vista was running again with a message that said it wasn't compatible… Windows 7 upgrade advisor would never run before, but after the first failure it does. The hack is in place but the upgrade advisor says I am running Vista Ultimate.

  • Bill

    Brilliant! Worked fine, although the upgrade process is sloooow (100 minutes!?!? on a high-spec PC)

    Win 7 Enterprise RC –> Win 7 Professional RTM.

    Thank you!

  • Mick

    Dmitry

    For user who decided to upgrade from Windows 7 Beta or Windows 7 RC release, the Windows 7 upgrade paths also does not support direct upgrade any prerelease versions of Windows 7. However, an easy hack of modifying cversion.ini can enable direct upgrade to Windows 7 final from Windows 7 RC or Beta.

    You need to upgrade to the RTM version first – ver 7600 of Windows.

  • Gnoop

    If I am downgrading from W7 Professionsal to W7 home premium, what edition should I tell the system I have. Hope Premium is already the base system? Can I tell the system it is Vista when it is actually W7?

  • Microsd

    Is it possible to downgrade from a 64bit Ultimate version to 32bit Professional using this method?

  • Phreak

    Worked PERFECTLY upgrading from Vista Ultimate to Windows 7 Home Premium. You da Man!

  • anonymous

    thanks.

    Your steps worked fine.

    I was getting so stressed with this problem after upgrading using the msdn dvd and not being able to downgrade.

    The weird thing is that i dont recall entering a key during the msdn upgrade, and for some reason the upgrade took me from vista oem home premium to ultimate(not home premium)… but then no way to go back to oem home premium win7 when i finally got the dvd upgrade from the manufacturer. what a waste of time…

  • ddk

    pyro42, yes it does work downgrading vista business to w7 home premium. I just did it, had no problems at all and days later I detect no issues.

    I used:

    EditionID: HomePremium

    ProductName: Windows 7 HomePremium

  • Fagin

    Worked perfectly for me.

    I went from Windows 7 v7100 (evaluation version) to Windows 7 Home Premium using the Registry and cversion.ini tricks. I used a Windows 7 upgrade disk that I got free from Microsoft when I purchased an OEM copy of Vista home Premium. I now have a fully working, validated W7 Home Premium instalation.

  • Kim Jong ill

    I'm going to be trying this with Vista ultimate > Windows 7 upgrade soon, I'll post the results here when/if it works.

  • jarod1701

    FYI: Technically Enterprise is just the same as Ultimate. Licensing model is the only difference.

  • mustafa

    it also works professional -> ultimate upgrade

    i tried with an image of win7 and it didnt give an error

  • Dmitry

    OK, I figured out what as the problem. There's a vital note: for Home Premium version only ProductName should have space between words. EditionID MUST be written in one word. So the final edit is the following:

    EditionID: HomePremium

    ProductName: Windows 7 Home Premium

  • Dmitry

    Didn't work for me. It still says I have Ultimate and it can't be upgraded to Home Premium.

    Currently I have Windows 7 Ultimate, Build 7100 (RC).

  • pyro42

    what are the chances of this working to inplace downgrade from windows vista business to windows 7 home premium?