Users can downgrade to Windows XP and Windows Vista from Windows 7 via OEMs for 6 months after Windows 7 General Availability. For customers and businesses running Windows XP, Microsoft still recommends an upgrade to Windows Vista before moving onto upgrading Windows 7. If the user needs to run Windows XP Professional on new PCs and if they are running Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate already, they have the automatic right to downgrade to a previous version of Windows for the life of that PC and the downgrade media may be obtained by an OEM for Windows XP for the service life of that PC (OEMs can choose to provide downgrade media).
The end user downgrade rights are available only to Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate editions and the user can downgrade to the corresponding previous versions of Windows, such as:
- Windows Vista Business
- Windows Vista Ultimate
- Windows XP Professional (both 32bit & 64bit)
- Windows XP Tablet PC Edition
"We are currently in the development stages for Windows 7 and expect it will take approximately 3 years from Windows Vista Consumer GA to develop. The specific release date will be determined once Microsoft meets its quality bar for release."