HP clarifies Windows 8 consumer PC downgrade and warranties

HP clarifies Windows 8 consumer PC downgrade and warranties

Summary: HP can't let you downgrade ordinary, consumer Windows 8 PCs to Windows 7. That said, if you do move to Windows 7, or shift to Linux or another operating system, your hardware will still be covered by HP support, just don't expect HP to supply the drivers for any of these alternative operating systems.

SHARE:
windows-8-post-banner
Your warranty is still good with HP if you move from Windows 8 to another operating system.

HP isn't supporting consumer PCs  downgrades from Windows 8 to Windows 7. However, the company has clarified that, if you do change operating systems anyway, your consumer Windows 8 PCs will still be under warranty.

It's been a confusing few days in HP laptop and desktop land. For a brief time, it appeared that HP would support Windows 8 consumer PCs downgrading to Windows 7. Microsoft would not have been amused! Microsoft's official licensing policy restricts Windows 8 downgrades to Windows 8 Pro users.

After I spoke several times with HP, we now know what's what with HP's Windows 8 consumer PCs. HP told me, "HP has updated this post, providing additional information that should clarify this topic for HP customers" and the official HP Windows 8 to Windows 7 downgrade answer is:

Yes, customers can downgrade to Windows 7, but Microsoft has different terms regarding users’ downgrade rights and paths. HP recommends customers check with Microsoft for the terms governing their specific operating system edition.

Customers who are able to and choose to downgrade their HP Windows-8 compatible products to Windows 7 will remain protected by HP product warranties. However, HP has not tested all Windows 8 platforms for Windows 7 and we may not have your particular drivers available. If you choose to install a different operating system (OS) and have a problem that requires HP support, you may need to restore the original OS to fully diagnose your problem. Please check with HP Customer Care for questions related to your specific product.

So the bottom line now is that If you move your consumer HP PC to another operating system, including Linux, Windows 7 or anything else you can get to run with Windows 8's alternative operating system unfriendly UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) Secure Boot you will still be covered by HP's warranty. For useful support, however, you'll still need to be ready to switch your PC back to Windows 8.

In addition, HP still won't guarantee that they'll have Windows 7 drivers for its Windows 8 retail/consumer PCs. Since Windows 8 as  an operating system is barely out of the gate, it seems odd to me that HP would no longer offer drivers for what clearly the more popular "modern" version of Windows. Still, it is what it is so don't count on your HP Windows 8 consumer PCs being completely compatible with Windows 7. In short, if you want WIndows 7 on your PC, insist on buyinga computer with Windows 7 already installed. 

Related Stories:

Topics: Windows, Hewlett-Packard, Laptops, Linux, Operating Systems, PCs

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

41 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • HP clarifies Windows 8 consumer PC downgrade and warranties

    Nice to know.
    daikon
    • ... which has always been the case.

      Does Dell or any vendor ever supply Linux drivers should you install Linux on their PCs? Nah.

      Thanks for the non-news and nice little FUD.
      LBiege
      • Drivers included...

        The drivers are included unless you are buying something really strange.

        Everybody gets the drivers...
        jessepollard
  • I find it odd that people look at computers differently then

    everything else they buy. If you change something significant in your car engine, a manufacturer may say that the engine is no longer under warrenty.

    Tinker with the inside of your TV, or with the soiftawre that runs it, warrenty is void

    Yet change an OS on a computer from what came with it, and people are puzzled that they can't get free support on it?
    William Farrel
    • Re

      True that!
      imscythe
    • As a courtesy

      and hopefully you will not mind, but I just wish to point out that you seem to consistently type "then" when you mean "than".

      I have noticed it several times.
      D.T.Long
    • Pretty bad examples

      "If you change something significant in your car engine..."

      That's hardware, not software, that would be like changing your CPU.

      "Tinker with the inside of your TV, or with the soiftawre that runs it, warrenty is void"

      Again that's hardware, and it's not possible to tinker with the software that runs your TV.

      "Yet change an OS on a computer from what came with it, and people are puzzled that they can't get free support on it?"

      If there is a hardware problem then yes I would expect to get support, because the hardware hasn't changed, but I don't expect software support, because I've changed the software.
      guzz46
    • Because computers ARE different than anything else you buy.

      If you buy a car, you only have a limited set of tasks that you can do with your car - most of them revolve around driving. This is expected and accepted.

      People don't buy computers with the intention of using them for such incredibly limited tasks - the use of the computer can range and wildly as playing a game of sudoko to negotiating a professional baseball contract or designing the replacement for the Space Shuttle.

      Most items that we buy are special purpose devices. Computers are not, they are general purpose devices. This is why we expect something different from a computer as opposed to a toaster or even a TV set.
      daftkey
    • Incorrect comparison

      The correct vehicular comparison would be having your warranty voided if you change the brand of oil or gas you use in the car. Of course the courts sided with the consumer in that case.
      msdamico@...
    • analogies

      Excellent analogy....flash the fuel ECU on your car and see how fast the warranty voids...as for it being comared to the fuel/oil...that is more like saying changing electric companys will void it
      JonPA
  • I fail to see how this is a story...

    How has it been a confusing time for anyone? These policies were pretty clear:

    - Downgrade rights from MS are absolute - Pro only. And that's what HP said.
    - A warranty on any computer covers the hardware for any faults or defects, not the software (which essentially has none). The manufacturer will provide help, support & drivers for the OS it came with only, but the hardware is always covered.

    Anyone confused is a moron.
    SupaRawr93
    • The part that really confuses me is:

      Why would anyone buy an HP at all?
      mlashinsky@...
  • Consumers should be able to do whatever they want with the hardware

    Including downgrading to Windows 7. But they shouldn't expect HP (or other manufacturers) to supply drivers for all the alternatives (or old versions of operating systems).
    Smalahove
  • I don't find it odd at all

    that HP would not have the older drivers for newer machines. However I would find it odd if the manufacturer of the hardware in needing of a driver would not have a Windows 7 version of the driver. You would just have to find that on your own. Which is not a big deal, because we'd be doing that anyway if we switched to Linux. And like Linux, I am sure Windows 7 would find most of the drivers on its own anyway.
    Michael Kelly
    • Limits of guarantee versus reality...

      "I would find it odd if the manufacturer of the hardware in needing of a driver would not have a Windows 7 version of the driver."

      As would most people. In reality, the only reason HP would make this statement in the first place is to make clear the limits of what they will guarantee to their customers, rather than to state what they will actually offer. I would bet that most, if not all, HP computers and components would have Windows 7 drivers that would work perfectly fine.

      The only reason such a qualification is given is simply so they don't paint themselves into a corner. Where practical, it is likely that they would have Windows 7 drivers just the same.
      daftkey
  • HP clarifies Windows 8 consumer PC downgrade and warranties

    Everything is the same then. No one supports linux anyway so that shouldn't be a concern. In fact the linux community is used to not getting support even from each other. There would be no reason to downgrade from Microsoft Windows 8 to Microsoft Windows 7 since the compatibility is still there. Plus Microsoft Windows 8 works a lot better with its start screen and updated apps. You can't go wrong with it. Hardware is hardware and HP has always said they may wipe your drive and restore to factory defaults to fix some hardware issues. There wasn't much change at all and there was nothing confusing about this unless you were a linux user but then that would explain why you are a linux user.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Actually, many support Linux (including HP)

      But you knew that already.
      Smalahove
      • Re: Actually, many support Linux (including HP)

        I'm sure they support Linux (including HP)....IF the installed Linux on the machine before it was shipped to the consumer. However, if the machine is one that was configured for Windows and you shift it to a Linux distro, then they're unlikely to provide any support for OS-related problems. For one thing, there are too many Linux distros to provide general support for Linux. You'd have to install a Linux distro the manufacturer supports, and even then it's questionable if the manufacturer has installed a distro that has been tweaked for their computer hardware. I'd say if software support is a big issue for you, then either 1) stick with the OS that came with the system, or 2) check with the manufacturer's tech support regarding their policy regarding OS changes to the hardware and if they will support the software change (again you'd most likely have to use an OS version/distro that they support. I doubt any would support a downgrade to Windows 2000 or 98SE, or some obscure Linux distro).
        jrbales@...
    • Disengage brain,

      type.

      The LD MO.

      Or maybe the problem is that the brain is missing, period.
      D.T.Long
    • the linux community is used to not getting support even from each other

      Explain how Linux can exist if no one supports each other?

      "HP has always said they may wipe your drive and restore to factory defaults to fix some hardware issues"

      Where did they say that? how is it possible to fix hardware issues by wiping your drive and restoring to factory defaults?
      guzz46