I need a new computer, and all the new ones come with Windows 8 pre-installed. The particular software I need to run for my work won't run on Windows 8. How can I buy a new computer but get Windows 7 on it?
We’re very surprised that your application that runs on Windows 7 won’t also run on Windows 8—Microsoft tried exceedingly hard to ensure that every Windows 7 application runs the same on Windows 8.
If you really must downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7 (or you simply don’t want to use Windows 8), many vendors will allow you to downgrade your Windows 8 license and then install a Windows 7 license when you buy your new computer. It’s worth asking the vendor from whom you are buying the new computer. It may cost extra money (yes, it may cost extra money to get the old operating system), but if you need it, that cost may be worth it.
You can always purchase your own copy of Windows 7, and simply install it on your computer, replacing the installation of Windows 8. The problem is that most copies of Windows 7 that Microsoft sold were upgrade copies, and were meant to replace an existing operating system. If you do go this route, you’ll need to ensure that you purchase a “new installation” version of Windows 7. You might try the copy for sale here: http://goo.gl/3RFA2. If you’re going to attempt this, make sure you replace the hard drive in your computer, or use a separate partition on your existing hard drive, to ensure that you don’t overwrite your installation of Windows 8, in case you decide to return to Windows 8 later. The real problem with installing Windows 7 on a new computer is that it’s possible (and likely) that Windows 7 didn’t provide drivers for all the hardware in the new computer—this has happened to both Doug and Ken in their attempts to help friends downgrade (note that both of us are happily using Windows 8, and actually kind of like it).
Downgrading from Windows 8 to Windows 7 isn’t a task for the computer novice. If this is something you need to tackle, you might benefit from getting help or advice from a professional. No matter what you do, make sure you back up your current system first!