I want to Downgrade to Windows 7 from 8.1, can I keep my files?

I have been using windows 8.1 on my HP 8710w Mobile Workstation. It has made my system significantly slower than before, longer boots, errors, driver fails and, the UI is as bad as everyone says it is. If I were to switch back to 7 SP1, would I lose all my files? I have work done in Visual Studio that I would like to hold onto if possible.

This would be a clean install off disc.
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  1. Best answer
    BACKUP ALL your data on slave secondary external HDD (make more that one backup if possible).
    Then clean format and installation and everything fresh.
    The other solution is NEW HDD new install and then copy paste from your old hdd to the new .
    That's all :)
  2. I have at my disposal a 64GB & 2GB flash drives, an 8GB & 2GB sd card. Most of the things I would want to save should fit. All else I can reinstall. Just wanted to avoid several hours of downloading and installing if possible. It will be definitely worth it though, Windows 8.1 has not been a good experience.

    I'll give the HDD a full format from my desktop, then clean install windows. I could swear that because I don't have a code for Win 8 it has been actively sabotaging my system. It was given to me by my programming teacher who works for microsoft as well as someone with a mac, only one code and I don't think it worked for either of us.

    Thanks for the help.
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Help Desk Visual Studio Professional 2013 Windows 8.1 File retention Windows 7 Windows 8 Hewlett Packard Downgrade from windows 8.1 to windows 7 Downgrade Windows downgrade