Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Downgrading is not as simple as upgrading. You will need to reformat and reinstall from your original disc.

I'm running an HP 2000-300, with Windows 7, 64 bit. Originally Home Premium came with the machine. I have installed the Enterprise edition over the Home edition, but I want to go back to the Home edition. Is this possible? And if so, how can it be done?

In this excerpt from Answercast #40, I look at the steps necessary to downgrade to a previous operating system – it's a full reinstall.

Is it possible to downgrade?

Well of course, anything is possible. Unfortunately, I don't don't think you're going like the steps that are going to be required to make this happen.


To begin with, I want you to first backup your existing machine with the Enterprise edition installed. I want to make sure that you don't lose anything in what happens next.

The only way to downgrade from one version of Windows 7 to another (in other words, you're going from a more capable, more expensive, larger version like the Enterprise edition to one of the more basic versions like the Home edition) is to reformat and reinstall the edition from scratch.

Erase the drive

So, you're going to actually erase your hard drive – which is why I had you back it up first.

  • Then grab those Windows 7 Home edition discs;

  • Boot from the install disc for that;

  • And reinstall Windows 7 from scratch.

Now at that point, you're also going to want to reinstall all of your applications from scratch. And you're going to want to re-copy over all of your data from your backup, or from wherever you keep it, onto this newly installed copy of Windows 7 Home edition.

That's a lot!

Now, if that seems like a little much, well, unfortunately, it probably is. It's what it does take.

In your shoes (I'm not sure what's driving you to make this particular decision to want to revert to the Home edition) but in your shoes, I would be really, really tempted to live with the Enterprise edition instead.

  • It is a pretty major piece of work to revert.

It's not nearly as easy as it was to upgrade; where you might just run an installation program on your existing version of Windows. This does require a complete reformat, or at least a complete reinstall of Windows 7 Home edition.

Article C5644 - August 1, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Bob Fisher
August 3, 2012 8:19 AM

On down grading, if you have a network with several computers, entering the correct network information in the several different places it is required can be time consuming and frustrating. I know, I just did it and found several places that require specific information to get all the networked machines to see and speak to each other. The network troubleshooters are useless!

August 3, 2012 9:12 AM

If you have no reason to suspect malware, there's no need to format before reinstalling your Home Premium, but of course it won't hurt to do so if it gives you peace of mind.
More importantly--- Just the point that it's an HP machine might be causing glitches. HP, in their desire to help with every aspect of computing, adds a LOT of programs to an HP box. Sometimes this programming can get hinky. Perhaps doing the upgrade, in conjuction with having the extras from HP, has caused you some frustration. You might want to turn off some of the HP programs before reinstalling. My guess is that if you use Enterprise when it's running properly, you may decide to keep it.

August 3, 2012 7:40 PM

I'm just wodering what's the difference between windows 7 enterprise and Pro? The company that I work for just resently upgraded to windows 7 enterprise from Windows XP Pro. The only thing that I can think of is that Windows 7 entreprise is the Ultimate version. Am I right?

Luke B.
August 4, 2012 12:01 PM

@Ponce I think windows 7 Enterprise is more like Pro only it's designed for corporations and organizations. Enterprise also will only run on Volume Licensing. Windows Pro can run on OEM, Retail, and Volume Licensing.

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to to ask your question.