Windows 10: Windows 10 drivers backwards compatible with Windows 7?

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  1.    21 Nov 2015 #1

    Windows 10 drivers backwards compatible with Windows 7?

    So after having a few Windows 10 updates lately give me major hassles, like Bluetooth not talking to devices after the latest update after pairing, I'm considering going back to Windows 7. What I'd like to know before I undertake the change is if Windows 10 drivers are backwards compatible with Windows 7? I'm assuming no but figured I'd ask first since I haven't found anything on this. Thank you.
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  2. Posts : 2,437
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1709 (FCU build 16299.248)
       22 Nov 2015 #2

    Yes! Anything from Vista up to Windows 8.1 should work in Windows 10 (exceptions are very rare), as long as they are of the same architecture (32-bit or 64-bit). Some drivers will install as normal. Others might require to run the setup as Administrator (right-click and select Run as Administrator) or even set compatibility to Windows 7 or 8 to pass the version check. Few may require manual installation from Device Manager (right-click on device, select Update drivers, select last option, then last option to see a Have disk button. Click on the button and browse to the folder where you extracted the driver files. Use WinRAR to open and extract executable drivers).

    I first right-click on the setup and Run as Administrator, to make sure access rights won't block the installation. If this is not enough (rare but it could), then I try to set compatibility to Windows version of the driver. In worst case, I try the manual installation as described above.

    Download drivers with the following order: Windows 10 -> Windows 8 -> Windows 7 -> Vista -> XP (only for 32-bit and if no other version is available).
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  3.    22 Nov 2015 #3

    Spapakons, thank you for replying. Unless I misunderstood you, I think you misunderstood my question. I have a new laptop that came with Windows 10. However, I want to get rid of Windows 10 and install Windows 7 on the laptop. I don't know if Windows 10 drivers will work for the Windows 7 install and I can't find drivers for some of the devices. Hence, my question. Thank you.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4. Posts : 2,437
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1709 (FCU build 16299.248)
       22 Nov 2015 #4

    Usually the drivers provided in manufacturer's site can work in more than one Windows version. The site states they are for Windows 10, but they should also work at least in 8 and maybe 7. In worst case you can download the Windows 7 driver directly from the source (Intel, nVidia, AMD, Realtek, whatever). This was the way we could install Windows XP in Vista laptops when manufacturer would not provide XP drivers. Download any drivers individually directly from the chip manufacturer. But hopefully you need to do so only for the graphics driver and 1-2 others. The rest should work in Windows 7 as well.

    I would download them all and try them. If anyone doesn't work in Windows 7, I would then download it directly from chip manufacturer.
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  5.    22 Nov 2015 #5

    As I said, there are no pre-W10 drivers for some of my devices. I'll give it a shot. Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6.    22 Nov 2015 #6

    They can be compatible (the driver model has not changed fundamentally since Windows 7). Nevertheless every now and then you encounter a Windows 10 driver that does not work with Windows 8.1 or 7. Concerning the components that do not come with pre Windows 10 drivers you'll have to try and see what happens.

    Make a system image before you start! In case of malfunction of one or more of your components you can simply restore the image and you are back to Windows 10 without the hassle of going through the install process again.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7. Posts : 147
    Windows 10 x64
       22 Nov 2015 #7

    Here's one caveat: the driver itself can be compatible without its installer being compatible. In other words, the actual INF files may work just fine in Windows 7. However, the installer for the driver may check the OS you're running and stop the installation. In that case, you can sometimes run the driver installer in compatibility mode so that Windows reports that it's actually Windows 7 to the installer.

    Another option is to simply find the INFs and associated files and install them using Device Manager.

    All that probably won't matter, though. There's nary a manufacturer that currently releases hardware that won't use Windows 7. Even if your manufacturer doesn't provide Windows 7 drivers, there's a 99% chance they exist on the interwebs somewhere. For example, for Intel hardware, if the device manufacturer doesn't provide Windows 7 drivers, I guarantee you Intel itself does. To my knowledge, nothing on Intel's site yet is Windows 10-exclusive.
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  •    22 Nov 2015 #8

    Splat said: View Post
    As I said, there are no pre-W10 drivers for some of my devices. I'll give it a shot. Thanks.
    Wow, I can't imagine any hardware being so new, yet, that has ONLY Windows 10 drivers for it.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  • Posts : 147
    Windows 10 x64
       22 Nov 2015 #9

    Yeah, even hardware made in November 2015 will have Windows 7 drivers.

    I think the discrepancy is the OEM. For example, an OEM like Dell may not provide Windows 7 drivers on its Web site, but if you do even a basic search, you can find them from the actual hardware-device manufacturers, like Intel.

    The reason is that OEMs like Dell feel that they don't need to explicitly support operating systems that they don't provide an option for when shipping.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  • Posts : 2,437
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1709 (FCU build 16299.248)
       23 Nov 2015 #10

    Yes, try the drivers in Windows 7. If anyone doesn't install running the setup, then try installing it manually from Device Manager (see my previous reply) or download a Windows 7 driver directly from hardware manufacturer (Intel etc).
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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