Unusual WIN7 installation route - can it ever work?

Hi guys.

I'm new here, so hoping not to tread on any toes ;-)

My query is on behalf of a friend who's not particularly computer literate, and I'm hoping some of you experts can help us.

He currently has a new machine with WIN8 on it. He prefers the WIN7 on his old machine, but loves the speed of his new hardware.

The WIN7 on his old machine was installed as an upgrade from WIN XP (which I understand is basically a clean install). His old machine was last used about a month ago. It still has this WIN7 on it (it's not been uninstalled and deactivated via Microsoft).

Seeing as his WIN7 is, as far as MS is concerned, presumably still activated on his old machine, will he have to get it uninstalled and deactivated in order to be able to reuse it on the new machine? Will his WIN7 upgrade disk even run properly as an 'upgrade' on a machine with WIN8 already installed (rather than, say, Vista or XP)?

Basically, my head is spinning wondering if there's effectively a way to get WIN7 off his old machine and activated on his new machine using only a WIN7 upgrade disk and, I believe, an XP install disk. Is it a case of uninstall and deactivate WIN7 on the old machine, install XP on the new machine, and then run the WIN7 upgrade disk on the new machine's fresh XP installation?

Any clarification MUCH appreciated! (and apologies if this is a common query).

Regards, Jon.

Joe S

Excellent Member
Did you look down in the Windows 8 forum? They have tips on setting it up similar to windows 7. You can use ClassicShell to replace the missing startmenue and boot straight to the desktop. You can create a Tool bar and pin things to the taskbar.

Hi Joe.

Thanks for your reply. That's one of the possible routes he might take should re-installation prove impossible, but I think (at the moment anyway), his preference for WIN7 is a bit stronger than a change of looks might solve.

Regards, Jon.


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Have you thought about whether you want to keep the Windows 8 drive, or replace it with a new one? Or do you have some type of recovery media that would recreate the Windows 8 install after you wipe the drive if you needed to get back the original install?

New Windows 8 systems probably have bios settings that will need to be changed to even load Windows 7. You might research those, probably related to a CSM (compatibility support module) or secure boot. The OEMs are putting out bioses with different types of setups and the settings may not look the same from OEM to OEM.

Do you know about UEFI to configure your system instead of the older MBR type of bios? You can use MBR is you want, if the bios is set up correctly. Depending on the old system, you may even be able to put the old drive in the new system and let it update its drivers, but this only works under certain circumstances. You would then have to call Microsoft to reactivate the install so they will know it is on another computer.

And no, Windows 8 is not a usable OS to install the Windows 7 upgrade. But attaching the drive so it can be seen during the install might be enough to get it activated. If not, in many cases, a phone call to Microsoft can straighten things out.

Personally, I would put the Windows 8 drive aside and replace it with a new one, then Install Windows 7 to the new drive.

Joe S

Excellent Member
I'm not a big fan of Windows 8 but the biggest thing most people hate is no start menu and the new page it boots too. ClassicShell fixes both. It would be easier modifing Windows 8 than having to reinstall alot the software and tweak Windows 7 too. Just my opinion. There are some good videos about using Windows 8 down in that forum.

Thanks for the further replies guys.

OK, let me suggest ClassicShell to him, and see what he says.

I did think about putting his old hard drive into the new machine, but the hardware really is quite different, so I think the odds of it working are slim. That said, slim is better than impossible..;-) Plus, his WIN8 drive is an SSD, so I suspect using his old drive might be a bit of a disappointment speed-wise, though if it actually boots and works and just needs drivers, he could always clone it.


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
Before doing anything you should ensure that you have the means to fully restore the new pc to its current state. You may have recovery disks supplied with it, in which case you are ok. It is more likely however that you have a recovery partition on the hard drive and in trying to add dual boot facilities you could very easily lose both the live op sys and the recovery partition rendering your pc unbootable. You should therefore (whether or not you intend making any chages) burn a set of recovery disks for which the pc will have come supplied with a built in utility. You should also make a second copy of them to give you further insurance (you shouldn't be working with pc's if you don't have complete faith in the absolute superiority of Sod's Law! lol).

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