I'm using build 7100 7 ultimate and will be downgrading to 7 Pro. Will I be able to just backup my entire system to an external hard drive, do a clean install of the 7 pro and then restore my files and programs to the new OS?
I am not sure I understand your question, but you can certainly back up your system first using the Windows backup in the RC. You can then do a custom install to the Professional version. Your data will be put in folders on the new install called Windows.old and two hidden folders. You can recover it from there or the external drive if you want.
There is also something called Easy File Transfer which I did not use, but you might be able to.
You might look around the internet a bit to see if you can find any more information about your type of situation.
Also go through some of the threads and tutorials here to see what kind of problems some folks are having and how they might be resolved before you do the install, just remember more accurate information usually comes later down the thread so check the dates.
Maybe this will clarify what I'm asking about. I've been reading that it is a PITA to go from Windows7 Ultimate to Windows7 Pro. So it seems to me that it would just be much easier to export all of my files, music, games etc to my external hard drive. Then do a clean install of the Windows7 Pro OS. When that is completed, then I could just do an import from the external HD to recover my software and files. Does this make sense? Or will it even do a restore to a different version of the Windows7 OS? I just don't want to lose everything I have and have to start all over. I hope this helps you understand my original question. Thanks for the response Saltgrass !