I’ll let you on a little secret, and keep it between you and me, I don’t really find Windows 10 to be that great, you know what I am saying?
Other than me being very OCD about Microsoft deciding to skip from Windows 8.1 straight to Windows 10 (I mean, c’mon the number 69 is awesome, wait did I just say 69? I meant 9…).
There’s a lot of stuff about Windows 10 that has been somewhat disenchanting to many of the Windows users out there like you and me.
From the forced updates (which you can’t turn off), peer-to-peer updates (which seems to use your own internet to distribute updates for strangers), and some are even getting the feeling it is a spyware. You can read all of this, as there’s literally like a whole page with over 99+ problems faced by Windows users on Windows 10.
You might also miss the simplicity that was on Windows 7 (I kinda do actually 🙂 ) or the uniqueness of Windows 8.1. So whichever Windows version you are now deciding to downgrade from Windows 10, I have prepared this guide specially for you.
Here’s how you can downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 in just a few little quick baby steps.
One of the new things that did come with the Windows 10 was the option in the Settings app to easily go back to your previous version of Windows installed.
However there’s only one rule about it: You only have a month (30 Days) from after you upgrade to your new Windows 10 to go back.
Within 30 Days from Upgrade
1. The Easy Recovery Method
If you’re still within those 30 Days after you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, you can follow these simple steps to go back to your previous Windows version.
Step 1: Go to the Settings app, or use this shortcut Windows + I
Step 2: Next, go to Update & Security
Step 3: Next, head over to Recovery.
Now, if you’re within the 1 month (30 Days) from your upgrade to Windows 10, then you should be able to see the option Go back to Windows 7 or Go back to Windows 8.1
Step 4: Click Get Started and this will get rid of your Windows 10 install and restore your previous install.
Step 5: Microsoft is like Gandalf and “You shall not pass!” well without a reason of course 😉 . So you will need to pick the reason you’re going back. After you have done that click Next.
Step 6: Now you will get a warning saying that you will need to reinstall some apps and programs and you’ll lose any changes made since making the upgrade to Windows 10.
You don’t really have to backup all your files, but if you have important files that are too valuable for you to lose then I recommend you should backup.
Step 7: Click Next
Step 8: Do make sure you know your password to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If you don’t, you are going to be locked out of your own system. Click Next
Step 9: Just one more step and you can then wave and kiss goodbye to your Windows 10. Finally, you need to click the Go back to Windows 7 or Go back to Windows 8.1 and to begin the downgrade process.
That’s it! 🙂
2. Third-Party Backup
Before you Upgrade
Third-party backup is similar to the method of backing up by Downgrade by using previous backup (in the After 30 days section you can find below). However for this case, you are going to use other software.
These are some of the software that you can use
These hard drive imaging software (geeky word for backing up your hard drive) allows you to make a complete copy of your hard drive.
This helps especially if something were to happen to your hard drive like a hard drive failure then you can use this copy to get back to where you were.
Another software that you might like is EaseUs System GoBack which is specifically designed for to let you get back to a previous version of Windows.
Again, you need to install this type of software and backup before you downgrade from Windows 10.
After you have Upgraded
This is another trick and you must be within the 30 days after you upgrade.
Basically how this work is, there are a few files that Windows 10 automatically deletes after the 30 days. These files have to be deleted because they take up a lot of space on your computer.
Don’t get me wrong, Windows is doing it for the right reasons but what if I were to say to you, that you could rename the three folders that Windows will try to delete.
If it can’t find them, then it won’t get deleted.
annd if it doesn’t get deleted you can easily downgrade from Windows 10 anytime!
So for now, it’s alright if you don’t know how to do this, I will write another guide on this soon. 🙂
On the side note..
I can’t seem to verify this in anyway, but there are some users who have reported that by renaming their folders back to the original names of the folders after 30 days, that it will bring back the rollback option which you’ll find in
Start > Settings > Update and Security > Recovery
Again, I can’t seem to verify this, but it’s worth a try!
After 30 Days from Upgrade
Here’s how you can downgrade from Windows 10 if you don’t see the option to Go back to Windows 7 or Go back to Windows 8.1.
I have included a number of methods here for you if you ever find that you prefer a certain method over the other, in order from easy to difficult.
1. A Clean Install
There’s two ways you can go about this and it all depends on whether your computer was bought with Windows 10 in it or not since you’ll need the product key for the version of Windows7 or Windows 8.1 that you’ll be going back to for in order to use it.
Yeah, a clean installation is time consuming and I can tell you that for sure but it is surely the most reliable and complete option you have if you’re out of the 30 day time period.
(So you can go to the appropriate subheading under this and go on from there) 🙂
If your PC was not bought with Windows 10
If your PC was not bought with Windows 10 in it then you’ll have to find back the product key of your previous Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 version that you use to have.
To find that examine your PC for a “certificate of authenticity” sticker with a key on it. They sticker may be on the underside of your laptop, in the battery compartment under a removable battery, or even on a laptop’s power brick.
If you were on a Windows 8.1 PC, then you won’t need to search through your entire computer. The key may be embedded in your computer’s firmware and Windows 8.1 will automatically detect it and allow you to reinstall Windows 8.1 without even asking you to enter a key.
Did all of that? Alrighty, you can move on with the clean installation.
Step 1: Start off by heading over to Microsoft’s website and download either the Windows 7 or 8.1 ISO files.
Step 2: After you have done that, Download the Windows installation media and burn the ISO file to a disc or copy it to a USB drive using Microsoft’s Windows USB/DVD download tool.
Step 3: Reboot your computer with either the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 installation files (make sure your PC is set to boot from the drive with installation files).
Step 4: You’re doing great! Just a little few steps and you’re done. During the Windows Setup, click Next, accept the licensing, and then click Next.
Step 5: Click the option Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced) option to do a clean installation.
Step 6: Here’s an important step. Now you have got to delete any partition created by your current installation of Windows. (Which would be your Windows 10)
Note: If you have a partition where you store files or a secondary hard drive, you don’t have to delete these partitions.
Step 7: Finally, Select the empty drive and click Next to start the installation process.
Annnd you’re done!
After you have followed those few little steps and once you’re done with the Windows Setup process, you will once again be back to your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
Do not panic if you find that all your files are empty, you do need remember that you need to restore your files and reinstall and configure all the programs you have previously installed on your system. 🙂
If your PC was bought with Windows 10
If your PC was bought with Window 10 in it and without any other Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 then it’ll be slightly tougher.
Why will it be tougher? Because you will need to get a brand new copy of either Windows 7/8.1 as you are going to need that product key in order for you to go back.
The steps are same to how you normally install a brand new Windows version (like above)
All you have got to do is install it from scratch and by entering the product key you purchased during the install process.
2. Downgrade by using previous backup
Keeping a backup of a computer before upgrading to a new operating system is recommended like how I said at the beginning of this article and there is reason for that.
Backing up not only keeps your data from being lost, but it’ll also help make things easier for you if you ever decide to downgrade from Windows 10 to any other operating systems in the future.
So if you did do your backup,
Great! Here’s a cookie for you it is made with Jake’s killer recipe. (‘Killer’ hmm explains why I’ve got many people poisoned lately)
Anyways back to you, you’re basically half way done!
Now all you have got to do is simply make a new backup of your new files since the last full backup or just make a copy of all your files to an external hard drive. 🙂
Also, note any new software installation since the last full backup, as you’ll need to reinstall them after you downgrade from Windows 10.
Here’s how you can do that
Step 1: Go to Control Panel on your computer. (You can search using Cortana)
Step 2: Next, head over to Programs and Features
Step 3: Lastly, you can arrange the list of apps in your system by Installed On.
You’re doing a great job! Just a little a bit more and you’re done.
So after you have the backup of your files, and you know the apps you need to reinstall, reboot your computer using the “repair disc”, which you were prompted to create after creating the initial full backup.
Note: You don’t need to actually have a repair disk as you can also boot with the Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 installation media (check the A Clean Install section) to perform the recovery.
Done? Great! Now connect your external hard drive with the backup that you did and then reboot your PC.
Once you have done that, you can follow these steps:
Step 1: Firstly, While you’re in the Setup wizard, click Next, and then Repair your computer.
Step 2: Next, select Restore your computer using a system image that you create earlier, and then click Next.
Step 3: After you’ve done that, Select the backup to restore and then click Next.
Step 4: You’re almost there! Now select the image you want to use and again click Next.
Step 5: Click Next one more time and then Finish to begin with the recovery process.
Annnd you’re done! 🙂 once you have finished these few little steps you’ll be brought back to your previous version of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1