So, I have Windows 7 pro, and I'm looking to upgrade so that I can use some of the apps that are only available in Windows 8+. I considered just taking advantage of the free Windows 10 upgrade, and actually installed it at one point, but then I found out that there's forced automatic updates and decided that wasn't for me(I'm a bit paranoid after Android 4.4.4 killed Flash Player without telling me. :P). So, I did some research.

From what I read, the Windows 10 upgrade "consumes" your Windows 7 license into a Windows 10 license, and so even if you revert back after upgrading then you can still change your mind later and jump back to Windows 10. (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-win_upgrade/windows-10-downgrade-rights/58e29e48-c1bf-456d-bd9f-c8917d9fb2a1)
I also read that Windows 10 has "downgrade" rights to Windows 8 and Windows 7, which to my understanding meant that if you have a Windows 10 key, you can also use it to install Windows 8 or 7 if you want. (https://www.microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/downgrade_rights.aspx#fbid=Ci8rIKPyuSa)

My plan for the process is re-upgrade to 10, pull the license key, downgrade to 8 and use the license key, then upgrade to 8.1 via Windows Store, and end up on 8.1. So my questions are: Is this possible? Will it wipe all my data in the process?(not a dealbreaker if it does, but I'd need to know that so I can back it up) Do I need to re-upgrade to 10 in order to downgrade to 8? Any input is definitely appreciated. Thanks!

  • 1
    Just format and install Windows 7. No; You can't downgrade to Windows 8, that only applies, to Windows 10 OEM machines your machine is a Windows 7 machine. If you want Windows 8.1 you will have to purchase it. – Ramhound May 19 '16 at 1:17
  • A Windows 10 key cannot be used to install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 – Ramhound May 19 '16 at 1:23
  • This link indicates that if you upgrade to Windows 10 from an OEM version, you'll get a Windows 10 OEM version. answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/… – Potatomaster May 19 '16 at 1:25
  • And this is the link I was looking at about downgrade rights. microsoft.com/oem/en/licensing/sblicensing/pages/… On second thought, I should edit these links into the original post. – Potatomaster May 19 '16 at 1:26
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    No; You don't get a Windows 10, Wibdows 8.1, and Windows 7 key all from one instance of Windows 7. Those downgrade rights are for the original version of Windows that came with the machine. If you have Windows 7 installed the you have exactly what you wanted, well, except the impossible. If you want Windows 8.1 you will need to purchase it. – Ramhound May 19 '16 at 1:56

Community wiki answer constructed from comments to question

My plan for the process is re-upgrade to 10, pull the license key, downgrade to 8 and use the license key, then upgrade to 8.1 via Windows Store, and end up on 8.1. [...] Is this possible?

No, your plan is not possible. Nowhere in that process do you acquire a valid license (key) for Windows 8 or 8.1.

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