“How do I downgrade MS Vista to XP” is a question I hear quite often at work (although less recently so it looks like Vista is gaining ground!), so I thought I’d make a quick post on how it’s done.
Can I downgrade?
In most cases yes. All Microsoft volume licenses include “Downgrade Rights” as do the OEM licences for Vista Business & Vista Ultimate. The Downgrade Chart can be found here. Vista Business & Ultimate can only be downgraded to XP Pro, XP Pro 64-bit or XP Pro Tablet…NOT Windows 2000.
How do I downgrade?
You can use any XP Media and also any previous XP Pro licence key (VLK), even one that has been used before. This prevents you from activating online so you’ll need to call the Product Activation Centre, you can get the number by selecting the “Activate by Phone” option in the installation wizard or call 0800 018 8354 and 0870 2411963 if you’re in the UK. Once they confirm you have a valid XP key, you will get a new Vista key.
Can I re-install Vista later?
Yes you can. You will need to remove the XP installation and use the original OEM Vista media.