Second, even though Microsoft and its partners are pushing Windows 8, you can still find Windows 7 machines for sale on Amazon, Best Buy, and Dell, to name a few locations. Amazon, for example, is selling a limited number of 15.6-inch Samsung laptops featuring a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i3-2370M processor, 6GB RAM, a 750 GB HDD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium for $500.
Best Buy has a 14-inch Asus laptop with a 2.3Ghz Intel Pentium processor, 4GB RAM, a 320GB HDD, and 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium for $300. You can find comparable Windows 8 machines for around $100 to $200 more. So you will also save a bit of money if you purchase a Windows 7 machine instead of Windows 8. Also, if you buy a Windows 7 machine before January 31, 2013, you have until February 28 to purchase a Windows 8 upgrade for $15.
Here's the bottom line taking pricing and installation headaches into consideration: As long as Windows 7 is available on new PCs, buying a Windows 8 Pro machine with downgrade rights really only makes sense if you plan on returning to Windows 8 at a later date. That way, you'll have hardware built for the new version of Windows such as a convertible laptop or an all-in-one desktop PC with a touchscreen.
It's also important to note that you cannot downgrade to Windows 7 after buying a Windows 8 Pro upgrade for an old Vista or Windows XP machine. Your only possible downgrade path in that situation is to reinstall the original OS that came with your PC, as long as you still have your old system discs that is.
Next Up: What can Windows 8 Pro downgrade to?
What can Windows 8 Pro downgrade to?
If you bought a PC with Windows 8 Pro preinstalled you can downgrade to either Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business.
Also, in case you're wondering about the differences between Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro, know that the Pro version offers several power user and enterprise-centric features such as BitLocker disk encryption and the ability to boot from a virtual hard drive (VHD). PCWorld detailed the features in each Windows 8 edition in April.