Buying a Windows 7 PC seems like an easy task. You just walk into a computer store and find the nearest Windows 7 PC, right?
Unfortunately for anybody who dislikes Windows 8, big box retailers like Best Buy have officially phased out Windows 7 PCs and no longer sell them in-store.
That doesn’t mean you can’t buy a Windows 7 PC in 2014 or beyond. Today, I’m going to show you 3 easy ways to buy a Windows 7 PC no matter where you live or what your budget may be.
Where you cannot buy Windows 7 PCs
You cannot buy a Windows 7 PC at a lot of popular spots where you might normally expect to find them. You won’t find them at Best Buy retail outlets, for example.
You also cannot buy new Windows 7 licenses directly from Microsoft.
You can, however, buy Windows 7 licenses and Windows 7 PCs from a number of easy sources.
Online PC retailers
Online PC retailers still have plenty of Windows 7 PCs available. While retail Best Buy stores can’t display Windows 7 PCs, they can still sell Windows 7 PCs online.
Take a look at Newegg, Amazon, Best Buy, or Dell’s websites and you’ll find hundreds of different Windows 7 PCs. You can buy Windows 7 laptops and desktops. Or, if you’re upgrading from Windows XP or building a new PC, you can also buy individual Windows 7 licenses.
Windows 7 is available at more than just big box retail websites. You can also order Windows 7 PCs on the websites of individual PC manufacturers, like Lenovo and HP. Or, if you prefer the expanded service and customization options of smaller companies like Origin and Falcon Northwest, then you can choose Windows 7 on your built-to-order PC.
Build your own PC
If you have never built your own PC, then you’re missing out on a fun, productive, and educational experience.
Building your own PC is a great way to save money while also getting the exact parts you want. Want a good graphics card but don’t need a good sound card? Build your own PC? Want to use the money you saved to buy two 24 inch HD monitors? Build your own PC.
Want to swap out Windows 8 for Windows 7? Build your own PC!
When you build your own PC, you install Windows 7 by purchasing “OEM” copies of the operating system. “OEM” stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer. When you build your own PC, that Original Equipment Manufacturer is you!
You can buy Windows 7 OEM licenses from just about any PC hardware retailer. If you’re building your own PC, then you might as well buy your OEM license from the same company from which you’re buying the hardware.
You can’t buy OEM licenses from Microsoft. However, most smart retailers stockpiled OEM licenses for Windows 7 before they stopped being sold, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding some at the recommended retail price of $100.
Downgrading from Windows 8
Out of all three options listed here, this is definitely the worst and most difficult.
If you have already purchased Windows 8 or are planning on buying a Windows 8 PC, then there are ways to downgrade to Windows 7.
However, it’s not as easy as you might think.
Microsoft typically only gives big businesses the authority to downgrade operating systems. That means you need a Windows 8 Professional license in order to downgrade.
Here’s how to downgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 7:
-Valid licenses for Windows 8 Professional and Windows 7 Professional
-Or, if you want to downgrade to Vista from Windows 8, then you’ll need valid licenses for Windows 8 Pro and Windows Vista Business
-A DVD or USB slot you can use to install your new operating system
Step 1) Disable the Windows 8 Secure Boot setting by going to Charms Bar > Settings > Change PC Settings > General > Advanced Start Up > Troubleshoot > Advanced Options > UEFI Firmware Settings
Step 2) Pop in the Windows 7 or Windows Vista disc and follow the onscreen instructions
At this point, you may have to activate your product key by telephone if you had previously used it on another system, which is one of the most popular ways to get a Windows 7 Pro license in this day and age.
The trickiest part of the downgrade will likely be finding Windows 7 installation discs and valid license keys.
Psst! Here’s a secret tip to get free OS upgrades
Some PC manufacturers are selling Windows 7 PCs that have been downgraded from Windows 8. They’ve already performed the steps listed above and are ready to give you your brand new PC.
These computers will often be referenced as “downgraded from Windows 8” on the retailer’s website. If you see this notice, then that’s a good thing: if you ever get tired of Windows 7 Professional, then you can upgrade for free to Windows 8 Professional.
Eventually, Windows 8 has to become more usable for people who don’t use touch screen devices. When that day comes, you’ll be ready thanks to your “Downgraded from Windows 8” Windows 7 PC.