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How to Uninstall Windows 10 and Downgrade to Windows 7 or 8

How to Uninstall Windows 10 and Downgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1

Updated October 27, 2017, 11:17pm EDT

Don’t like Windows 10? As long as you’ve upgraded within the last month, you can uninstall Windows 10 and downgrade your PC back to its original Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 operating system. You can always upgrade to Windows 10 again later.

Even if it’s been more than a month, you should be able to perform a clean install of the version of Windows that came with your PC using fresh installation media and its product key.

Why Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7?

Windows 10 is the latest version of Microsoft operating system for desktop computers, laptops, tablets, etc. It provides some amazing features and functions to promote the performance of computer, including Tablet Mode, Sticky Notes, universal applications, music controls in lock screen and more.

Although Windows 10 is the fresh blood of Microsoft, it is so controversial, many users complain about the unstable function, old fashioned interface, and privacy information might leak. So many people plan to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7.

How to Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1?

Backup Important Files in Case of Downgrade Failure

No matter which method we take to rollback Windows 10, it’s best to back up all important files. After all, any accident or error could occur during the rollback process, and this may result in data loss and even system crash.

Thus, you can use the professional file backup software – MiniTool ShadowMaker. It can help you to back up files with ease. So just download it to keep your data safe.

Step1: Install this software and launch it. Then click Connect in This Computer to enter its main interface.

Step 2: Then go to the Backup page and click Source module to choose to Folders and Files to choose which files you want to back up.

Step 3: Then click Destination module to choose where you want to save the backup image.

Step 4: After you have chosen the backup source and destination, you can click Back up Now to perform the task immediately.

When you have finished all the steps, you have successfully backed up all important files. And you can refer to the post How to Back up Files on Windows 10? Try These Top 4 Ways to know more information about files backup.

In addition, you can also use the Copy Disk feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard to help you back up important files.

Now, we will show you how to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7.

Downgrade Windows 10 to Windows 7/8.1 within 10 Days

Microsoft has said that you can make the rollback within 10 days as long as you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7/8.1 recently. Microsoft offers an option to do the downgrade, which could be Go back to Windows 7, Go back to Windows 8.1, or Go back to previous version of Windows 10, depending on your system and settings. Here, we take rollback Windows 10 to Windows 8.1 for example:

Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery to get the window below:

Here you can see the Go back to option. Please tap on Get started button, and then Microsoft will ask for your feedback as well as reasons for changing back to previous Windows. Type your feedback and click Next. Then, the following screen will appear:

Please make sure that your computer is plugged in because the rollback might be interrupted due to power off, and then click Close to continue. Afterward, click Go back to Windows 8.1 button to do the rollback, which may take some time for the system needs to read settings of the previous Windows. Once the rollback process is completed, your computer will automatically boot from the previous version of Windows.

Nevertheless, during the rollback progress, you may receive the error message: We are sorry, but you can’t go back. The files we need to take you back to a previous version of Windows were removed from this PC.

Now, most users would want to know what files were deleted or removed. In fact, the rollback should be on the availability of Windows.old and $Windows.

WS, which are created by Windows during the upgrade and hidden in drive C by default. If one of them is deleted, renamed, or damaged, then you may receive the error message above. To check whether these files are still there, please do these operations:

Go to Drive C, click on View tab, check File name extensions and Hidden items:

Then open Options, under View tab put the checkmark on Show hidden file, folders, and drives, and remove checkmarks from Hide extensions for known file types and Hide protected operating system files.

After these settings, these files would be visible in root directory of C drive. However, if you can’t find them, most probably they have been lost. Under this situation, users have no choice but to try recovering them or take another rollback solution that will be introduced in the next section.

And if you want to recover the lost or mistakenly deleted data, the Data Recovery feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard plays an important role.

Step 1: Launch MiniTool Partition Wizard to enter its main interface and then choose Data Recovery to continue.

Step 2: Choose the drive that has lost the files and click Scan to continue.

Step 3: When the scanning is finished, you can recover your lost data.

In addition, it’s very necessary to mention another situation: you are unable to find the Go back to previous version of Windows option even if the upgrade is completed within 10 days. Here is the possible reason: you logged in as a regular user rather than with admin account. To deal with this situation, just change the current account to the admin account, and then the very option would emerge.

Well then, what if the upgrade has been done for more than 10 days? Users have to take the following methods.

Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 after 10 Days Limit

Before showing the exact methods, let’s see a way to extend the 10 days limit to go back to previous version of Windows, which is recommended by lots of websites.

The Way to Extend the One Month Limit to Go back to Previous Windows

Based on the fact that files (Windows.old and $Windows.

WS) used to revert back to Windows 7 will be deleted automatically after 10 days, which is the key to resulting in downgrade to Windows 7/8.1 failure, many people suggest making a copy for those files or renaming them before the 10 days limit ends, which is in theory available. But in my opinion, it’s useless. Here is my explanation.

From Microsoft I got the message that the Go back to previous version of Windows option will be unavailable in Settings if the upgrade has been done for more than 10 days. Without such an option, how can we do the rollback even if files for reverting are still there? Of course, if you are lucky enough to find the option somewhere or make it appear again, this is undoubtedly an excellent solution.

Therefore, users have to look for other ways after the upgrade has been done over 10 days.

Change Windows 10 Back to Windows 7/8.1 from a Windows 7 or 8.1 Backup

Before upgrading to Windows 10, most people will be suggested to make a backup for their system or other important files in case of upgrade failure. If you have prepared such a backup, it could be so easy to do the restoration. You can refer to the following methods.

1. Restore from Backup and Restore (recommended to revert to Windows 7)

Go to Control Panel > System and Security > Backup and Restore (Windows 7) > Select another backup to restore files from. Then, do the recovery by following instructions.

In addition, if you have created a system image for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 before the upgrade, you can use another recovery option in Windows 10 to do the rollback – Advanced Startup.

Do you know how to perform Windows backup with ease so as to protect your PC and data? Try to use MiniTool programs to back up Windows.

2. Restore from System Image

Go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Advanced startup > Restart now > Troubleshoot to get the following window:

Then choose Advanced option to enter the following page and choose System Image Recovery to continue.

3. Use MiniTool ShadowMaker

If you have created a system image with MiniTool ShadowMaker before updating to Windows 10, you can use this software to downgrade Windows 10 to Windows 7.

MiniTool ShadowMaker can help you to rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 with the system image. And you can read the post 2 Ways to Restore Computer to Earlier Date in Windows 10 to know more detailed information.

In addition, someone suggests rolling back Windows 10 from a command prompt, which is indeed introduced by Microsoft especially for Windows 7 users. If you are interested in this method, just try it. Well, what if we want to do the rollback when Windows 10 is unbootable? Here are 2 options: rollback Windows 10 from Safe Mode or revert it by using Windows installation disc or system repair disc (CD or DVD disc rather than USB flash drive). We haven’t tested these 2 methods, but you can have a try.

All in all, rollback Windows 10 to old version of Windows from a backup is highly recommended if we have a backup for Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, because this requires simple operations and just removes new things. However, if there is no such backup, we have to take the following recovery options.

Rollback Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1 via Restoring Factory Settings

In Windows 10 you are able to restore your computer to factory settings, which reinstalls the version of Windows coming with your computer. For example, if your computer was preinstalled with Windows 8, then upgraded to 8.1, and then upgraded to Windows 10, restoring factory settings will change Windows 10 back to Windows 8 rather than 8.1.

Detailed steps to do factory reset are as follows: go to Start, and then select Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get started > Restore factory settings.

However, this recovery option isn’t available on all computers. If it doesn’t work for you or you have a product key for the previous version of Windows, we highly suggest making a clean Windows installation.

Change Windows 10 back to Windows 7/8.1 via Clean Installation

You can download the Media Creation Tool to create installation disc for Windows 8.1 or download Windows 7 ISO file and burn it to USB flash drive or DVD. Then, install your old version of Windows from this disc, and the product key for the previous Windows is required.

Wrapping Up

The two options provided above make it easy to reinstall Windows 7 if you’re currently on Windows 10.

The first method works (direct downgrade) only if you’ve upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 within the last thirty days. Use the second option – ISO file or clean Windows install – if the other is not available. Also, remember to back up all your data first.

Nicholas Godwin is a technology researcher who helps businesses tell profitable brand stories that their audiences love. He’s worked on projects for Fortune 500 companies, global tech corporations and top consulting firms, from Bloomberg Beta, Accenture, PwC, and Deloitte to HP, Shell, and AT&T. You may follow his work on Twitter or simply say hello. His website is Tech Write Researcher.

How to Downgrade Preinstalled or Upgraded Windows 10 Installation to Windows 7/8.1

If you get a new computer that comes with Windows 10 preinstalled, you might want to downgrade it to Windows 7 or 8.1. Here’s what you need to know to do it.

Microsoft hopes to have Windows 10 running on 1 billion systems within three years. An admirable goal, but one that does not take into account the requirements of the user. Windows 10 shares a lot in common with Windows 8.1; it is a smooth experience upgrading from that release. For Windows 7 users, the story might be a little different. Some older applications just work better with the older versions. If you purchase a new PC today, it likely will have Windows 10 preinstalled. Users still have an option, though, which is the ability to downgrade the installation to an older version of Windows, such as Windows 7 or even Windows 8.1.

Important Note: This is a different process than rolling your Windows 10 upgrade back to the previous version. When you upgrade Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10, you have a 30-day window where you can roll it back to the previous version and not lose any of your data. For more on rolling back, check out one of these following articles:

Prerequisite Tasks you should Complete

Downgrading is an involved process; I strongly recommend you have everything in place before you start this project, such as:

  • The copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 you want to downgrade. If you don’t have a license, you will have to purchase a Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license. If your system came preinstalled with Windows 10 Pro, you’d need to download or borrow a Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Pro disc.
  • A product key from a computer that is running Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Pro. If you are exercising downgrade rights from Windows 10 Pro OEM, this key can be either a retail upgrade, full version, OEM preinstalled, or System Builder product key.
  • Necessary hardware drivers for either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
  • External hard disk to back up your Windows 10 installation.
  • Have a copy of your Windows 10 Pro OEM product key available, just in case Microsoft support needs to verify it during activation. Here is how you can find it. Please note, this is for OEM preinstalled Windows 10 Pro licenses only.

Press Windows key + X then click Command Prompt (Admin), at the command prompt, type the following command, then hit Enter on your keyboard.

wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey

Other Options you should Consider Before Downgrading

For computers upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, a limited option is available within 30 days to rollback to your previous version. If your upgrade to Windows 10 is more than a month old, then a manual downgrade will have to be done. If your computer came with recovery media, consult the documentation for instructions on how to reinstall Windows 7 or Windows 8 on your computer.

If you recently purchased a new computer, preinstalled with Windows 10, only to find out it does not work with your hardware or software, or you just don’t like it, then you might want to consider returning the computer. The hassle associated with actually downgrading is not as convenient and smooth sailing as you might believe.

Also, there remains a demand for systems with older versions of Windows, which is what you might prefer. Most OEM vendors such as Dell, HP, and Lenovo offer new model systems with a choice of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If your computer is still within its warranty period, then I suggest you take advantage of it and purchase an appropriate system preinstalled with Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Microsoft made available, a list of vendors who are providing a selection of Windows 7/8.1 systems with support for Intel’s latest CPU architecture, Skylake. Microsoft recently announced plans to limit Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 support for future revisions of Skylake. This would make now an opportune time to upgrade to a new PC while they are available. Within a year’s time, Microsoft will only focus on supporting Windows 10 on future processor technology.

Downgrade to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7

If you recently bought a system with Windows 10, but your purchase is outside the warranty window, then your next best option is to manually downgrade, if your system supports it. Here is what you need to do, to determine if you can successfully downgrade:

  • Check if the manufacturer has native Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 hardware drivers available; depending on the model system, it is not a guarantee they do. You will need important drivers such as Chipset, Video, Network, Audio, and Storage to have a working system.
  • A Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 license. If you don’t have a license for Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, you will need to purchase one. If your system came preinstalled with Windows 10 Pro, then you are automatically entitled to downgrade rights to Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 7 Professional.

Go to the manufacturer’s website, and then look in the downloads and drivers section of the website. Enter the model number then click OK or Go.

Once your drivers have been found, the website will usually have an option to filter the operating system. Click in the list box, select Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 depending on which version you decide to downgrade. Proceed to download all the critical drivers such as Chipset, Video, Network, Audio, and Storage. After downloading, save them to a thumb drive until you are ready to install them.

Backup your Windows 10 System

You might not like Windows 10 today, or your trip back to Windows 7 might be temporary. In the future, if and when you decide to return to Windows 10, you can make it a convenient process for restoring a system image. This will, of course, be like performing a clean install, with minimal inconvenience. Check out our article for instructions on how to create a system image in Windows 10.

Choose the right edition and architecture of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1

You need to determine, the version and architecture of Windows 7 or 8.1, you will be installing. If your computer has more than 4 GB of RAM installed, use a 64-bit version. If your objective is compatibility with legacy hardware or software, then 32 bit will be your best choice, this will limit the amount of memory your system will be able to address.

If you are exercising downgrade rights from Windows 10 Pro OEM, you can download a copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 from the software recovery page. For Windows 7 media, you will need to have a valid product key. If you don’t, then the software recovery page will not work. Your next best option is to borrow a corresponding Windows 7 Professional disc from a trusted friend or family member.

Disable Secure Boot and EFI Boot then Prepare to install Windows 7 or 8.1

Installing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is a relatively easy process. Check out our articles for instructions on how to do so. The procedure involves performing a clean install. You can’t perform an in-place upgrade to an older version of Windows, from within Windows 10. Before starting the installation, you will need to disable Secure Boot and native EFI boot. This process is required if you are installing Windows 7. Also, disabling Secure Boot is necessary before enabling legacy boot.

Secure Boot was first introduced as part of the Windows 8 wave of systems featuring a new security mechanism for protecting systems from malware. Disabling Secure Boot might vary across system brands and models; the process will require booting into the system’s firmware interface. Check out the following TechNet article for instructions on how to disable Secure Boot.

After booting from your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install media. Click the option Custom (Advanced), then select each partition, then click delete until there is only a single, unallocated disk. Click New; this will create a system recovery partition. Choose the larger system partition then click Next to install your version of Windows.

Install Hardware Drivers and Update Windows

After installing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, proceed to install the appropriate drivers you had downloaded in advance. Start off with the most critical which include; Chipset, Video, and Network. Your Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 installations will likely be out of date, so immediately check Windows Update for the latest updates then install them. Also, ensure your Antivirus utility is updated. Windows 8.1 includes a built-in Antivirus called Windows Defender. Windows 7 users can download Windows Defender or another free third-party Antivirus utility.

Activating your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 License

Once you have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 up and running, you will need to activate your license. Depending on the options chosen or available, this process should be smooth. If you had to purchase a retail or OEM system builder license, then standard Internet activation will be all you need to do.

For systems utilizing downgrade rights through Windows 10 Pro, your options are tricky. According to Microsoft, you should contact the OEM about obtaining a license.

Some OEMs pre-inject the product key for Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business into the BIOS for just such an occasion. If your OEM did this on your PC, you have to take only one of the following actions:

  • Install Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business by using the recovery media for that version of Windows that was provided by the same OEM. Your system will activate automatically by using the product key that was injected into the BIOS. source

If your OEM has not injected your product key into the BIOS on your PC, follow these steps:

  • Obtain genuine Windows 7 Professional or Windows Vista Business installation media and the corresponding product key. You may have to buy a full-package product copy of the Windows downgrade from a retailer. source

These statements defeat the purpose of downgrade rights. The workaround in this situation is to use an existing Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 Product Key to initiate the activation. The tricky part of this is, it can be a product key that is already in use but corresponds with the edition. The burden is on you the user to find such a product key.

Options include borrowing a Windows 7 Professional/Windows 8/8.1 Pro key from a trusted friend or family member. The intention is not to use the key to activate the license but to exercise downgrade rights itself. You can also use a product key from a computer preinstalled with an OEM Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8/8.1 Pro license. See instructions at the beginning of this article how to extract a Windows 8.1 Pro product key through the command line.

Press Windows key + R then type, slui.exe 4 then hit Enter on your keyboard. Select your country from the list box, choose the Phone Activation option. Stay on the phone, then wait for a Microsoft Answer Tech to help you with activation. The most important thing you need to remember to say is “I am exercising downgrade rights.”

Disable Get Windows 10

Since you are now back on a qualifying version of Windows, you will get the notification to upgrade to Windows 10. Check out our articles here and here, for how you can disable the Get Windows 10 app from automatically upgrading your computer to Windows 10.

When you do decide to upgrade to Windows 10 again in the future, you can choose the in-place upgrade route, or restore the system image you had created in advance. If you have accumulated data on the system, back that up first, then restore the system image.

Phew, now that was a lot to articulate. Microsoft wants every PC to upgrade to Windows 10; the reality is that can only happen in a perfect world. We all have our various reasons why we still prefer Windows 7 or Windows 8.1; it is our right. Windows 10 is indeed the future, but I am sure many of us would prefer to embrace the future on our terms.

How to reverse a Windows 10 upgrade

The easiest time to say “No” is during the initial setup process. If you decline Windows 10’s end user license agreement, it’ll bring you back to your older operating system.

But what if it’s too late for that?

You’re allowed to roll back to your previous Windows version for 31 days after upgrading to Windows 10. (Note: Microsoft defines the rollback period as «a month» in much of its documentation, and some support sites say 30 days, but we confirmed with Microsoft that it’s 31.) Simply open the Start menu and head to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. If you’re eligible to downgrade, you’ll see an option that says “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1,” depending on which operating system you upgraded from. Simply click the Get started button and go along for the ride.

Once you’ve returned to your previous version of Windows, you need to tinker with it to perfect your setup once again. In particular, you may need to reinstall some programs, and don’t forget to use your Windows 7 password rather than your Windows 10 password if you created a Microsoft Account for the new operating system during the set-up process.

How to Downgrade from Windows 10: 5 Ways

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.

If you’re within 30 Days from the upgrade.

1. The Easy Recovery Method.

If you’re still within those 30 Days after you’ve upgraded to Windows 10, you can follow the steps below to downgrade from Windows 10.

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 here.

Step 4: Click Get Started and this will get rid of your Windows 10 install and restore your previous install.

Step 5: Next select a reason why you’re downgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. 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 it is recommended that you back up.

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.


2. A Third-Party Backup.

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 be using other software.

These are some of the software that you can use

These tools allow you to make a complete copy of your hard drive.

This helps especially if something were to happen to your hard drive such as a hard drive failure. 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 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.

I will probably have tutorials written for these soon so that you can follow through step-by-step and downgrade from Windows 10 back to Windows 7 or 8.1 easily.

If you’re after 30 Days from the upgrade.

Here’s how you can downgrade from Windows 10 if you do not 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 are 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 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. The 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? Alright, you can move on with the clean installation. Here’s how:

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.

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 to 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 the same as how you normally install a brand new Windows version.

All you have got to do is install it from scratch and then follow up by entering the product key you purchased during the installation process.

2. Downgrade by using previous backup.

Keeping a backup of a computer before upgrading to a new operating system is recommended.

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.

Now all you have got to do is now 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, take note of 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.

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.

So once 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.

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

Getting ready to downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7

If you want to downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7, you need to provide your own installation media and product key. The media licensed to exercise downgrade rights are limited to:

  1. A previous version of a bundle (backup) media or downgrade media that was shipped from a PC vendor and attached to a PC that you own
  2. The previous version of the package media was sold in general stores
  3. Volume Licensing media provided by Microsoft

The product key must be activated by phone to the activation window, since it is not possible to authenticate online if you use a previously licensed, pre-installed version of the media. In addition, if a user with a volume licensing agreement performs a downgrade, the ISO image and product key of the Windows 7 installation disk can be downloaded from the Volume Licensing Service center.

How do I reset Windows 10?

Windows 10 can be reset by going to:

Start -> Settings -> Update & Security -> Recovery

The top-most option is ‘Reset this PC’ and offers a complete factory reset or an alternative where Windows files are reset but all your files are kept intact.

Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Author: Jim Martin, Editor

Jim has been testing and reviewing products for over 20 years. His main beats include VPN services, antivirus and web hosting. He also covers electric bikes, dash cams and smart home tech.

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