How to uninstall Windows 8 and restore Windows 7 (step-by-step)

How to uninstall Windows 8 Developer Preview and restore Windows 7

To uninstall Windows 8 and restore Windows 7 is not a straightforward process, but it is not impossible either. Follow the step-by-step from this Pureinfotech article to rollback Windows 7.

As many of you know Windows 8 Developer Preview uninstall is not supported by Microsoft at this time, however if you are not afraid, you can manually restore Windows 7 after you install Windows 8. But I have to warn you that there must be a good reason to why uninstalling Windows 8 is not yet supported. This step-by-step process, which I am about to describe, worked for me and I hope it works for anyone that needs the help, just proceed with caution at your own risk.

In my opinion, Microsoft should have alerted the end user about not being able to go back to the previous version of Windows once they start the setup for the upgrade by simply putting a dialog box. Although, if you were following all the Windows 8 Developer Preview presentations, Microsoft many, many times said that you cannot go back to a previous version of Windows, and if you are planning to test the new operating system, you should try it in a spare machine to experience the full capabilities of the operating system or you should use a virtual machine. Also in the download page, at the bottom, the company noted that you cannot uninstall the Windows Developer Preview.

However if you upgraded from Windows 7 to Windows 8 Developers preview instead of doing a custom install, and you want to go back, you should know that not everything is lost just yet, this tutorial is going to guide you through step-by-step to restore Windows 7.

Important: Before you start, make sure you backup all of your important data and have in hand the installation media for any program that you may want to reinstall later — this is just in case something doesn’t go as expected, because there is a reason for Microsoft not to support this process at this time.

Uninstall Windows 8 and restore Windows 7

1 First, while in Windows 8 Developer Preview, go to Computer, in the Hard Disk Drives area, double-click Local Disk C:, and determine whether the Windows.OLD folder exists.

Important: If the Windows.OLD folder does not exist, you cannot continue with this process to restore the previous Windows installation to this computer.

2 Right-click the Windows.OLD folder, and click Properties to determine whether the Windows.OLD folder is smaller that the free space available in the Local Disk C:.

Note: If the Windows.OLD folder is twice the large of the free available space in the Local Disk C:, you may not be able to restore Windows 7.

3 Next, insert the Windows 7 DVD or USB bootable drive in your computer, restart and then, when you are prompted, press any key to start the installation process.

4 In the Install Windows box, select your settings for language, time, etc., and then click Next.  

5 In the next step click Repair your computer in the bottom-left corner of the window.

Windows 7 - Repair your computer

6 Now, in the System Recovery Options window, click Windows 8 Developer Preview operating system, and then click Next.

System Recovery Options - Searching for Windows installations

7 In the System Recovery Options window, click Command Prompt — The command prompt is the tool you are going to use to restore Windows 7.

You may start in X:\Sources>, here you need to enter the drive letter of the Windows 8 installation drive — this should be C: but this wasn’t my case. I actually had to test letter-by-letter, until I landed in the correct drive letter, which for me was D:. — How did I know that it was D:? Because each time I tried different letters I got the message: The system cannot find the drive specified. Then when I successfully landed on D:, I typed the command dir and all the Windows 8 installation files, plus the Windows.OLD were there. 

Uninstall Windows 8 - Windows 7 Command Prompt

8 Type the following commands at the command prompt:

Type the following and press Enter:

ren Windows Windows.8

Type the following and press Enter:

ren “Program Files” “Program Files.8”

Type the following and press Enter:

ren “Users” “Users.8”

Uninstall Windows 8 - Windows 7 Command Prompt - REN Command

9 Copy the contents or move the contents of the Windows.OLD folder:

Type the following and press Enter:

move /y D:\windows.old\windows D:\

Type the following and press Enter:

move /y “D:\windows.old\program files” D:\

Type the following and press Enter:

move /y D:\windows.old\users D:\
Important: Change D:\ in the command described above with the drive letter that applies to your Windows 8 installation drive.

Uninstall Windows 8 - Windows 7 Command Prompt - Move

10 Go to the Windows 7 installation media drive. This step is a bit tricky, at the beginning I thought that X:\ was the drive letter for the Windows 7 installation media, but it turned out that it wasn’t. You’ll need to scan once again, like in step 8, for the drive letter of the CD/DVD-ROM drive; in my case was E:\. You’ll know if it is the CD/DVD-ROM drive, because when you type the command dir you’ll see these files and folders: boot, bootmgr, setup.ext, sources, upgrade, etc.

12 Now you need to restore the boot sector for the previous Windows installation.

Type the following command and press Enter:

boot\bootsect /nt60 D:
Important: Replace D: with drive letter of the Windows 8 Developer Preview installation.

Uninstall Windows 8 - Windows 7 Command Prompt - Fix boot

13 Last, type Exit to close the command prompt and click Restart. Don’t forget to remove the Windows 7 DVD or USB bootable drive from your computer. And you are now done! You just uninstall Windows 8 and restore Windows 7.

Windows 7 restored

If everything went well, but you forgot to backup some of the files, you may find them in the renamed folders, open the Run command and type: C:\Users.8 to find documents and files, and C:\Windows.8 to find the previous installation files of Windows 8. Also note that applications installed while you had Windows 8 may stop working after the process.

Now that you are back to Windows 7 you can just be done, but if you want to tweak the system a bit more, you can remove the Windows Developer Preview entry from the boot menu. To do this, go to Start , type and open the Run command, type msconfig, navigate to the Boot tab, select Windows Developer Preview (recovered) (C:\Windows.8), click Delete, Apply and then OK. 

Windows 7 msconfig

To reclaim the space used by the Windows 8 installation, you’ll need to repeat steps 3 to 6. If you get the message that there are some problems found, just click Cancel — in the next step we’ll make that go away –, then click Command Prompt and type the following:

rd windows.old /s /q
rd windows.8 /s /q
rd “program files.8” /s /q
rd users.8 /s /q
rd /$windows.~bt /s /q

Now click Restart to finish

I noticed that after you do this, Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, and Windows Media Player pinned links might break, but don’t worry these applications still in your system, just remove the blank pinned links, open the applications and pinned them back to the taskbar, if you need to.

Remove Windows 8 installation

Last, if you didn’t like to see the label Windows Developer Preview (C:\Windows): Current OS; Default OS, as the label for Windows 7 in the msconfig, you can easy change this back to the label Windows 7 by downloading and installing an application called EasyBCD. Launch the application, click Edit Boot Menu, select Windows Developer Preview, click Rename and type Windows 7, and finally click Save Settings.

EasyBCD - Edit Boot Menu in Windows 7

I hope this helps to anyone that found themselves in this situation where uninstall Windows 8 Developer Preview and restore Windows 7 is necessary. Just remember to never install or upgrade to an operating system that has not been officially released and doesn’t have any official support.

Be the first to leave a comment or leave questions about how to uninstall Windows 8.

Update: This guide should also work to uninstall Windows 8.1 and rollback to Windows 7.

Mauro is a technology writer at and He’s been recognized as a Microsoft MVP, he’s also a technology enthusiast and enjoys writing content about Microsoft, Google, Apple, and other interesting technologies. Got a hat tip? Send him an email with your rants, rumors, tips and tattles.

Email @Pureinfotech
  • Amit

    That works thanks a lot buddy i really apreciate ur effort

    • mhweb

      Awesome! Thank you for the kind words, I am glad it worked for you.

    • Wd786

       Great, Thanks

  • Naveen K R

    Some real stuff left to do uh? I am just not confident enough to do this, but what the hell! I will try this now! :D And I hope this works for me too.

    Between, this is an amazing explanation, step by step. Thanks mate!

    • mhweb

      Thank you so much!

  • Alchael

    I will try this method that you posted. Thank you so much for taking the trouble to post this. What a helpful person you are. Blessed art thou mate. :)

    • mhweb

      I appreciate you comment,

  • Deadmau5_15

    Ok i folowed all the steps and got blue screen Of death

  • Deadmau5_15

    so ya im basicaly stuck. i did all the steps and restarted… everything boots normaly the i get the BOD and the only option is to repair which takes me to the develeper preview trying to repair. my laptop is unusable right now.HELP

    • mhweb

      Hi Deadmau5, If you can, see if you can get any more information from the Blue Screen of Death. Here are some pointers read the second line which is going to give you some indication to what has failed, also towards the bottom you’ll find Technical information: see what is there what what file is having the problem.
      After you have an idea what caused the problem, you can restart your computer in safe mode (press F8 when booting up) and reinstall any drivers that may be causing the problem or try to file any other problem.

      I hope this helps you at least start looking for a solution to your problem.

      • Deadmau5_15

        well it says “A process or thread crucial to system operation has unexpectedly exited or been termanated”
        and when i press F8 on boot it doesnt do anything.

        • mhweb

          What does it say under Technical Information: *** Stop:…

          • Deadmau5_15


          • mhweb

            See if you can get to System Recovery options with the Windows 7 media, go the Command Prompt, and the switch from X:Sources to the drive where you have installed Windows 7 e.g. D: Once there type chkdsk /r, then bootrec /fixboot and restart. I hope this helps you out a little bit.

          • Deadmau5_15

            That did nothing really i still got a blue screen but with different words


  • Bg-san

    I have done it to day. It worked fine till the end. I ran in a minor problem at step 12 were to restore the boot sector. The command wasn’t recognized at the roots of my drive. I had to go to map Boot and run there the         bootsect /nt60 D:

    • mhweb

      Bg-san thank you for your comment, I am glad it worked, and thank you for the feedback, this may also help someone else.


  • Mohammad von Cher

    hi this seems realy helpfull man but i have a problem ya see after i saved all my personal files i formatted the drive C: whichs the main drive for me. then i tried installing win7 and the system wount let me i keep getting the same error when i pick any off the partitions (setup is unable to create a new system partiton or locate an existing system partition. see the log files for more information.). and i also tried doing the same with windows vista and the same problem aswel.
    i would realy appriciate it if you could help me thanks mate

    • mhweb

      I don’t know if this is a laptop or a full desktop either way, try disconnecting any peripheral that is not needed and only leave connected keyboard, mouse and monitor, unplug the power and remove battery if this is a laptop. If you can and carefully disconnect the hard drive and reconnect properly once again. Plug the power back on. Now try to boot again with the Windows 7 DVD and see what happens.

  • Daniel Vieira

    I followed all the steps but when I asked the I type cmd and Windows ren”windows.8 “he saidspecified file not found …

    please help- me.

    • mhweb

      Hi Daniel,
      While in step 7 type the dir command and the Windows directory doesn’t come up, you need to manually search for the drive where Windows installed (see the step 7 for more details). Look at the image in step 7 for reference.

  • Danl’graph


    Step 9 = when I put:.”move /y D:windows.oldwindows D:” he told me access denied why?

    • mhweb

      Hi there, just to make sure, did you boot the computer with the Windows 7 installation media (example: DVD or usd flash drive)?

      Let me know the circumstances you are getting this message, that way I can try to help more and I know that we are in the same page.

      • Danl’graph

        yes absolutely I start with the dvd w7 Then I followed step by step until the 9 and when I put “move / y D:  Windows.old  windows D: ” it said access denied! and move / y “D:  Windows.old  Program Files” D:  access denied

  • Christopher Giordano

    Everytime I type in move /y D:windows.oldwindows D: it says Access denied. Any solutions? Please help!! Im freaking out!!! When I try to login back in it wont let me!!

    • mhweb

      Hello Christopher,
      Please let me know the circumstances in which this happened, are you trying this in the command prompt within Windows? Because you should be doing this from the Windows Recover Environment when you boot from the Windows 7 DVD.
      Let me know what you’ve done, so I can try to help you better.

      • Anonymous

        I dont think my previous reply worked so I am going to reply again, Yes I am using the windows recovery disc command prompt, not the command prompt within windows. And by the way, is there is any way to reverse the effects of step 8, and go back to windows developer preview, making my computer semi usable? Because if this doesnt work I would like to do that.

        • mhweb

          Hello Christopher! If you didn’t delete anything and you didn’t go beyond step 8, you could just type:
          ren Windows.8 Windows
          ren “Program Files.8” “Program Files″
          ren “Users.8” “Users″

          I hope this help. Also just a general tip, always create a full backup of your computer before modifying anything in your computer —

          For the access denied problem you could be having to issues in the drive, you can try checking the hard drive for errors with the command chkdsk /r and try once again step 9.

  • Ashkan


    Just one addition to this.. You also need to move in the same way the folder “ProgramData”, if you are using the 64 bit of the windows . Before you can do that, you have to set the attribute of the both folder:

    attrib -H -R d:ProgramData /S /D 
    attrib -H -R d:windows.oldProgramData /S /D


    • mhweb

      Ashkan thanks for the additional information!

  • Amr Koptan

    Dear Poster
    thanks for the information, it worked for me but i lost all the programs inside the “Program Files x86” Floder as i’m running on a 64-bit version, is there something missing ?? coz i realized that i deleted extra 20GB from my hard drive

    • mhweb

      Amr thank you for your comment. Some unpredictable things will always happens and more for a process that still not supported by Microsoft. There shouldn’t be a reason for you to lose the Program Files x86 folder unless during the process you accidentally deleted it or renamed it.
      You could try restoring the folder if you had a backup in place before you started the process or you could restore the full backup and try again to see if this time the same thing happens again.


  • Phil Huang

    Thank you so much for your great help. It works great.  I just have one minor comment while following all the step.
    In step 12, type below instead as shown on the screenshot.  Put only the drive letter (ex. D: insted of D:)

    bootbootsect /nt60 D:

    • mhweb

      Phil thank you for your comment and for your input, I just fixed it that way everyone can type the command right the first time.
      I am glad it helped you.
      Thanks again,

  • NewComer

    Works Gr8, but i can’t find any files under Desktop->Libraries folder. How i can recover that files ? many files missing on desktop too. I found interesting too as files which was on desktop of Windows 8 is not in windows 7 and some files/shortcuts which was not there in windows8  is back in windows 7. and when outlook starts, it says usersuserappDataLocalMicrosoftOutlookOutlook.pst file not found while i’m sure that i has copied Users folder and my user name too came fine in windows.

    Any ways to recover those files ?

    • mhweb

      Hello NewComer thank you for your comment! Unfortunately if you have files in the Windows 8 libraries they are not going to show up under the Windows 7 libraries, because in the process you have rename the Users folder from Windows 8 to Users.8 and then you brought back the Windows 7 Users folder, and inside this folder is where all the users documents are located.
      You could open the Run command and (if you didn’t delete the folder yet) type C:Users.8 and press Enter, there you may be able to find all files that you created while in Windows 8 (e.g. Outlook, Docs, etc) and move them over to the Windows 7 libraries.
      As I mentioned in the article some shortcuts are expected to not work, but you should be able to re-recreate them manually, as I have found some broken shortcuts myself.
      Ultimately you could restore missing files from the backup that you may have created before starting this process.


  • Dušan Stojsavljević

    Since I restored windows 7 from windows 8 developer preview there been made ​​a new folder (windows.old) which includes all of the programs (the whole program files) that I used earlier, and windows does not recognize them any more … (most of them the works, but windows can’t delete them using the Control Panel and things like that..). So when I enter into any game that requires Games for Windows LIVE – it does not appear. Now I don’t know how to retrieve GFWL.
    I have Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit. To restore Windows 7 I used instructions from this link….This is a question I have asked on yahoo answers and I thought that it will be the best if I ask you to help me.

  • mhweb


    Since restoring Windows 7 from Windows 8 it is not yet an option officially supported by Microsoft. It is unpredictable the results when you are doing this process, backing up the whole system, using an spare computer, or a virtual machine will be best to test Windows 8. Said that, you can give a try going to Turn Windows features on or off in Windows 7 and see if the feature Games is checked, if it is, uncheck it and click OK to turn it off/disable, reboot if necessary. Then go back to Turn Windows features on or off and check Games and click OK to re-enable once again Games. See if that solve the problem.
    Always remember to backup before making changes to your system!


  • Haley Li

    I installed Windows 8 but I don’t have the old Windows 7 DVD anymore, is there any other way?

    • mhweb

      See if you can access and view the Windows.old folder from the command prompt.
      If for sure the Windows.old isn’t there, I wouldn’t recommend you doing this.
      The only thing I would recommend you is to wait for Windows 8 Beta that is due before the end of February and hoping that you can upgrade Windows 8 Developer Preview. Windows 8 Beta is more than likely that is going to come with the utility to uninstall.

  • Princeps Hendricus


    Well my problem is, that I need microsoft Office for my school and it didn’t came with win 8. I had it in win 7. I could get used to win 8 but I need office to use it in my school. Otherwise I need to rollback to win 7 or something. Also It seems that the resolution is messed up with win 8, I have 2 resolution to choose from, but It still seems like its too wide or something. About rollin back to win 7, I have a laptop with no CD drive and I’m not sure if I could get offical win 7 from usb but I still have windows.old folder with the size of 30gb. 

    • Mauro

      Depending which version of Office you have, if you are using it in the same computer you may be able to re-install it without a problem.
      You are having that resolution problem because you didn’t install the video drivers and Windows 8 generic video drivers do not work correctly with your hardware.
      I would recommend you to do a full backup of your system and then follow the steps in this guide. But you can have better result if you do a clean install of Windows.
      Also see if you can get a friend’s computer and follow this steps to create a bootable Win 7 USB install
      One last thing is to make sure that your laptop can be set from the BIOS to boot from a USB device.


  • Eric Rauch

    Thank You Sooooooo Much.

  • Eric Rauch

    Thank You Sooooooo Much

  • Tlock111

    Brilliant. just used your steps and PERFECT..back to windows 7

    • mhweb

      Quick question did you use it with Developer Preview or Consumer Preview?

  • Warriorinarmor

    I was able to restore the system, thanks to your instructions. But am not able to login to windows7 using my password. It gives me a error message which says “HRESULT 0x8007ffff”. This is the only user account associated with the system.

    • mhweb

      Hello Warriorinarmor, thank you for your comment!
      Try this: Restart the computer on safe mode (using F8 when the computer starts), then try to log in and if you do, change the password to anything else but the one you’ve been using until now.

      Remember uninstalling Windows 8 still not a supported feature, so issues are expected!

      Thanks, I hope this works : )

      • Warriorinarmor

        Thanks for your reply. :) i am unable to login to safe mode, the only option i can see is “normal startup” and “system repair”. When i type in bootrec /scanos it says 0 operating system installed.

  • Lost

    Hi! Thanks for the great guide! I did everything you described, however:

    I get no mouse/keyboard input at Win7 logon. No USB/PS2 mouse/keyboard works, can’t do anything.
    Same for safe mode. I’m pretty sure the system is not hanging, just that input doesn’t work.
    Also the user profile pic is the one from Win8

    Any ideas?

  • Lost

    Update: Shutting down via power button works, and Win7 shuts down cleanly so it’s definately an input issue. Like the ports aren’t working – the lights on USB devices don’t flash when I plug them in

  • Mateus Paes C. Coelho

    I dont see the option Repair Your Computer… 
    What’s going on? Someone let me out of this Windows 8 nightmare!

  • David Vallejo

    Darn you Windows 8!

  • mhweb

    Hello Lost,
    Because this feature still not supported by Microsoft issues are expected. Said that, get into your computer BIOS and there might be a setting to turn the PS/2 ports on / off.
    Also you can start you PC and plug a different keyboard and or mouse, and see if Windows 7 install the new peripherals.

    Try this first and let me know if it worked.

  • Vivio

    Very good info, thanx, worked perfectly….

  • mhweb

    I am glad it did!
    Thanks Vivio for your comment.

  • Justick

    I have the Consumer Preview Version Eval Copy Build 8250 and had Win 7 64 bit running on the machine are there any major difference in the restore process?  I understand just about all of what you printed just wanted to make sure I had ALL the steps for the 64bit reinstall

    • mhweb

      Hello Justick,
      Short answer, Microsoft is not yet supporting to restore from Windows 8 to a previous version of Windows. However I have published a workaround that it could help you to do this process, but it can be a little tricky if you don’t follow the steps correctly.

      Best way to restore to a previous version of Windows is a clean install of the operating system, after backing up your important data, of course.


      PS: Until Microsoft adds support to restore previous versions of Windows, I cannot be certain on how different the restore process can be. For sure it should be equal or easier.

  • John

    Thank You. Win 8 is great for the right machine but my tc1100 tablet lost it power setting and would not set the same as win7. Machine kept freezing up and lost pen functions.
    Thaks for the help

    • mhweb

      I am glad it helped!

  • Pecile

    I can’t seem to delete the windows 8 folder (ie. Windows.8, Users.8)
    Anyone else have this problem?

  • Aexpert

    This all worked as described with 2 caveats: 1) I did not immediately see the menu with the command prompt option. I had to fail out of some other screen before that menu appeared; 2) After rebooting, I keep getting an error when I try to launch a program:  “The program can’t start because api-ms-win-core-synch-l1-1-1.dll is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.”  Any ideas?

  • Kommodant

    Removal went clean, but all my usb ports no longer work. Windows is unable to install drivers. It will work with my PS/2 keyboard so I’m trying to fix this issue. Any ideas?

  • mhweb

    Go to the Device Manager in Windows and see if you have any alerts on your devices. You can try uninstalling and deleting the USB adapter drivers and reinstall them once again, using the drivers’ cd or drivers from the USB manufacture website.

    I hope this helps, thanks,

  • Dagz Prieto

    I don’t have win 7 cd installation but I have the windows.old. This is a netbook and it really got slows when I installed the windows 8.

    • mhweb

      You’ll need the Windows 7 DVD to boot your computer into the recovery mode. See if you can download and create an installation media with this version of Windows 7 and see if you can continue with the require steps.


  • Scrumpage

    You are my hero.  I had this installed for a very short time and was not pleased.  Thank you for making it possible for me to revert back.

    • mhweb

      Scrumpage, thank you so much for your comment!
      And I am glad it worked.

    • Stefan Darmanin

      Did you get windows 7 and all your files back? Please tell me because windows 8 is killing me :(

  • Milagros

    what could i do if i don’t have the Windows 7 DVD? my little brother intall windows 8 on his computer and now hi doesnt know how to uninstall!. i saw his computer and it has the forder Windows.old with a size of 4.38 GB … you know if there is another option to uninstalla W8 , without the W7 DVD ??? please help me!

  • Sdnr_1

    Help me…
    When in the System Recovery Options window, i click Windows Developer Preview operating system, and then click Next, i get a message that ‘This version of system recovery options is not compatible with…’ and i am not able to reach the window where we can run command prompt.

    • mhweb

      Can you click Cancel or what other links or buttons are available? Click any of them until you are able to reach the menu and run the command prompt.


  • Laitanyadinkins

    ok thank you, yet the problem is my computer came with windows 7, already on it. I tried to go to configure systems timeline were, you can take your computer back to were, it was before the installation. this does not exist. help please.

  • mhweb

    Hello Laitanyadinkins, when you say “configure systems timeline” are you referring to Windows Restore Point? If this is what you mean. This is not going to get Windows 7 back.

    You’ll need to follow the steps in this guide to accomplish that.


  • Scott

    I’m thinking of trying this out on my netbook.  I don’t have the win7 dvd, but windows.old is on the same drive.  Would any of it still work??  I also have Windows 8 consumer preview instead of developers preview.  Would it still work for that too?? 

  • mhweb

    Hello Scott, this will work in Windows 8 Consumer Preview as well. You could try downloading Windows 7 Trial version ISO from Microsoft, burning it to a DVD and use it to boot your system and access recovery tools


    • Scott

       I just realized that I’ll be getting back my laptop with Win 7 on it soon.  Could I use that computer to create a usb win 7 drive and then boot from that flash drive to my netbook?  How much space should I have on that said flash drive?

  • Tbonanno16

    THANK YOU!  This article saved my life last night. One thing I had to do- rename the windows esd folder as well- then reboot with install DVD. Instead of going to the command window just select the first option (I was VERY tired so I am not sure what that one is named)  but basically it does the repair so the OS can boot.  That puts the bootloader screen back to the old one and allowed me to select win 7 again- I have XP on another partition and the windows 8 bootloader only recognized that as a previous operating system for some reason. 

    Great jo and thank you again!

  • Traceboi

    This mostly worked for me but now my computer doesn’t see the DVD Rom or the Memory Card reader :( Any ideas why? It sees and installs drivers for the DVD rom but doesn’t work.

  • mhweb

    Hello Traceboi!
    What I would do first is to troubleshoot why Windows is not seeing the DVD drive and card reader. Look into the Device Manager and see there is any problems showing up. Visit your computer’s manufacture website and download the latest driver you can find for drives.
    Alternatively, if you have another computer, try to switch the DVD drive and install it in the computer you are having the problem.

    Last, if Windows not seeing the drives or the computer’s bios is not seeing the drives? If the problem is Windows, you’ll be better off doing a clean install of Windows 7 by just booting up from the DVD drive.

    See if all this helps!

  • Killer B

    For 64-bit, you also have to ren “Program Files (x86)” “Program Files (x86).8”

    • mhweb

      Killer B thank you for the tip!

  • Jess H

    There is no “repair your computer” option in my startup menu once I load from my bootable disc, please help!

    • mhweb

      If Repair your computer is not listed as an option, then your computer does not include Startup Repair as a preinstalled recovery option.
      You can try downloading a trial copy of Windows 7 and use the repair tools from this disc.
      Let me know if this helps you.

      PS: Note that the trial copy of Windows 7 cannot be activated with any product key. It is just a trial.

  • Zack Lee

    Can i know what is the meaning of twice larger?? my window.old file got 323gb and my c drive got 217gb.. is it ok?

    • mhweb

      It means that the Windows.old folder size has to be smaller that the free space available in your hard drive. If the size of the Windows.old is 2 time larger than the amount of “free space” in your hard drive, you won’t be able to uninstall Windows 8.

      PS: In your case it probably won’t work.

  • Zack Lee

    my c drive is  and my window.old file is 323 gb.. is it enough to restore to win 7?

  • mhweb

    It isn’t enough, you could try but it is like it won’t work.

    • Zack Lee

      Thanks for your reply. I deleted most file on my window.old and it is 241gb and my hard disc drive is 299gb can i uninstall now? 

      • mhweb

        To be safe make sure your total free available space is greater than 241GB.

  • Vics Yeow i found this and i dont know is it working or not. because it is more easy than this.   it say like this:

    Boot from the Windows 7 DVD
    Click Install Now
    Accept License Agreement
    When the option is displayed to select an installation type, click (Custom Advanced)select the disk partition where you would like to install Windows 7 Click Next.You will receive the following warning:The partition you selected might contain files from a previous Windows Installation. If it does, these files and folders will be moved to a folder named Windows.old. You will be able to access the information in Windows.old, but you will be able to use your previous version of Windows.(At all cost, do NOT click anything named Format or Delete or Partition. So even doing a custom install, your personal files are still preserved. Click OKSetup will now start the installation. During the installation, your machine will be restarted several times.When the installation is complete, you can complete the Out of Box experience such as selecting your laptop, create a username, password, your time zone. You can then proceed to download the latest updates for Windows and reinstall your applications and drivers.You can then recover your personal files from the Windows.old folder and reinstall all your applications and drivers.

  • mhweb

    Basically this is to install Windows 7 backup, this article tries to help people to restore the previous installation of Windows as well as preserving their installed applications.
    If you are OK, reinstalling all your applications later, just go inside of the Users.old folder grad any important documents and proceed to do a clean install:


  • Tman

    Hi, i followed the steps and ended up successful in returning to windows 7, however, as a result of going back a few things stop working in the progress, like my dvd/cd-rom player wont work anymore meaning it doesn’t read anything, also i checked to see what was up, apparently the driver is missing some stuff. Any help there? Also it seems like a bunch of other stuff stop working but i think they are from windows 8. Should i just get windows 7 again and do a clean install?

    • mhweb

      I would always recommend a Windows 7 clean install (

      I would recommend to uninstall Windows 8 in the case you didn’t do any sort of data backup, you have any special configuration in Windows 7, and/or you have installed programs which you don’t have the installation medias to reinstall them again.

      Issues are expected because Microsoft still doesn’t officially support to revert from Windows 8. If your DVD drive stop working, you can go to Device Manger and try to uninstall the device — also if it is available, check the option that offers to delete driver files as well. Then visit the device manufacture website, download and install the driver again.


      • Tman

         I already uninstalled windows 8, i did not really have any special settings so i am not worried about losing anything cause i have some CD’s for some of the programs i installed. Would the clean install fix somethings? I didn’t have the CD for windows 7 since i got a laptop so i had  to use the trial version and do the bootable usb drive thing. Would that work for the clean installation?
        For the driver thing i am having a hard time finding the exact version to download/install.

        • mhweb

          It should fix everything, but remember to visit the laptop’s manufactures website and download the network adapter, video drivers just in case, before proceeding with the install of Windows 7.

          If you are using the Windows 7 trial make sure that you install the correct version (Home Premium or Ultimate) for the product key that your laptop came with. If you install any other version you won’t be able to active Windows and you will have to do all over again.


  • Pejman Poh

    Hi mhweb, I use an Acer and I did not receive a Windows 7 recovery DVD. I did make a Recovery disk that will restore my computer to its original state (as if first time use). It will erase my C: drive so I am copying most of the C: drive to another partition.

    I would like to know exactly what you are essentially doing. You are reinstalling Windows 7 which essentially does what the eRecovery Acer thing does. If this is so, why do you bother moving Windows 8 out? Would it not just be reinstalled over by the Windows recovery CD anyway?

    I plan on running Acer eRecovery which will restore my computer to its default. Then I will move all my files from Windows.old and essentially restore my C: drive.

  • Stephen

    What you are essentially doing is Re-installing Windows 7, and then slotting windows.8 back in place?

    • mhweb

      Not necessarily, you technically are undoing what the Windows 8 setup did while installing the OS. Re-installing would imply to recopy all the installation files from the installation media again.

  • mhweb

    Hello Pejman, if you have the Windows 7 recovery DVDs, I would recommend you to use them. You see, many people don’t have the recovery media for Windows 7 or other programs that are important for them with their license key, or Windows was set up in certain way that it would be too difficult to reconfigure, or they didn’t do a data backup before installing Windows 8. In this cases I would recommend you to try to uninstall Windows 8.

    By doing this you are essentially restoring your old installation of Windows 7 with all your old applications and also restoring your files to the previous location prior the Windows 8 installation.


    • Stephen

      Yeah it is unfortunate that Acer doesn’t provide a Windows 7 recovery DVD. I didn’t make a data backup before installing Windows 8 which was an idiotic thing to do but in my defence, I thought I was installing it on a different partition.

      Anyway, i’ve re-installed Windows 7 through the recovery disks. All I have now is a complete copy of my old Windows 7 entire C: drive (User files included). Is there no way of recovering all that lost data?Thank you for the quick reply by the way, you seem like a very helpful person :)

      • Pit

        No problem, I am glad I could help.
        Thank you,

  • Dane E Vonthoma

    NEED MAJOR HELP!!! i click the repair button and it says i have an incorrect repair disk

    • Pit

      Which edition of Windows 8 are you using 32-bit or 64-bit? And which bootable disk are you using 32-bit or 64-bit? They both have to match 32 with 32 and 64 with 64.

      If you can, please give me a little more of information to help you better.


  • Amira2389

    I just bought a new computer and when I got it a connected my external hard drive and made a mirror image is it possible to use that mirror image to reinstall windows 7? I don’t have any files or anything that need saved I just didn’t like windows 8

  • Amira2389

    I am the only account and administrator on my computer but on the command prompt it keeps saying Access denied

    • Pit

      In which step this is happening?


      • Amira2389

        The first step once I try to enter the source drive letter

  • Pit

    Yes, just use the same software to mirror the external hard drive back to the old hard drive.


    • Amira2389

      so when I do this since I don’t have a cd or drive for step 3 do u just skip this and go to command prompt? that is what I did and got the access denied message (see msg above)

      • Pit

        You should recover using the mirror backup. It will be easier that using these steps.
        And step 3 you need the Windows 7 cd to continue and to access the Command Prompt correctly.


  • joewat

    Thanks for the great article, worked perfectly!  Although I liked windows 8 I know the developer preview is ending soon so wanted to get back to Windows 7.

    • Pit

      Thank you for your comment Joewat. I am glad it helped!

  • shani

    Thanks alot! you really helped me!

    • Pit

      Thank you, I am glad it helped!

  • Zra_r90

    ERROR in Step 9:

    After typing (bootbootsect /nt60 D:) in command prompt, I get this error: The subsystem needed to support the image type is not present.

    Windows 8 is installed in Drive D: And all the other steps worked just fine.

    What should I do?

  • Wiktor Gustafsson

    There is a problem: in the Windows.old folder, there is no Program Files folder or Windows folder, just a folder named Users and one named PerfLogs. Why is this?

  • Pit

    Hello Zra_r90, you have to make sure that you are in the Windows DVD drive letter, because the “boot” is a folder inside of it.

    Try it and let me know.

  • Pit

    Hi Wiktor,
    Try this: Open the command prompt, type CD C: and press Enter. Then type DIR and press enter. Do you see the Program Files folder and the Windows folder now? Or try this to see the folders are hidden
    Let know if the tips above help you to view the missing folders and we go from there.


  • Heiny Stipps

    this process sucks big time but it worked……thnx

  • Chawlas

    I can not install Brothers MFC 7860DW printer, it does not recognize Windows 8. What can I do.

    Is it possible to do a restore to go back to Windows 7 instead of this lengthy process

    • Pit

      I would recommend you to do the process of rolling back to Windows 7 if you have something that you really, really need from the previous installation. If not, I would recommend to do simple clean install of Windows 7.

      As for the printer not working, I personally don’t like to install all the software that comes with the equipment, most of the time they are just useless. The only thing I care is the driver. You can try to only install only the printer’s driver and see solves your problem. If that doesn’t work, sometimes I am lucky installing the printer’s driver for a different model, like for example the one before or the one after the model you currently are trying to install.

      I hope this helps, thanks for the comment.

  • Abdulmajeed Muaini

    If I don’t have Windows 7 installation media drive !!
    what should I do ?

    & Should I had a Recovery for windows 7 or widows.old is enough ?

  • Msanch_56

    Is there a similar procedure for Windows XP? I installed mine in XP.

    • Pit

      This is an excellent question Msanch. I will have to look in to it for this one. But I can already see that it would be an even more intense process that it will almost be worthless to spend time on it. I would recommend you to make full back of your system and do a clean install of Windows XP, it will be quicker and save you a lot of headaches.
      Just remember to export all of your data first you can look in to this article as reference


  • Samarth Jain

    Ummm first of all thanks a ton for the help. I almost totally screwed up my laptop. But a couple of problems.
    1. Since i run a 64 bit Windows 7 Professional, should I copy the Program Files(x86) folder too?
    2. And as in the msconfig step, I am not getting two options as you did. I got only one option and hence there is no option to delete it.

    Please help on the above queries.

    Otherwise thanks a lot for the procedure :)

    • Pit

      Hello Samarth, that’s a good question.
      If you had a Program Files (x86) before, which you probably did. Yes, make a copy as well.

      Thanks, I hope it helps.

      PS: Always remember to make a full backup before proceeding.

  • alina

    If I only installed the windows 8 on another hard drive. Do I just do step 13 ?

    • Pit

      If you only installed Windows 8 on another hard drive, just simply remove the disk or wipe it out. If the computer doesn’t boot correctly, restart the PC with the Windows 7 DVD media and use the repair tools to fix the master boot record.

      Let me know if that works.


  • Adam Jankovic

    worked great.

    • Pit

      I glad it did!

    • Denis

      I would really like to know which version you had on your device. destroyed my bootloader and now want to go back to win 7. I installed the win 8 pro update on my machine. cheers!

      • Pit

        If you didn’t go through all the steps, you could try booting with the Windows 8 installation media and use the repair tools to fix the bootloader.


        • Denis

          Hi Pit,
          thanks for your answer. my problem is rather that I need to reset my computer back to factory conditions. which means deleting windows 8. since during the install the recovery partition was over-written and apparently while repartitioning the hard drive the bootloader got shot, I wanted to try your method. Just wanted to know if your method is possible with the official win 8 pro as well.

          • Pit


            This method will work with any version of Windows 8, but I do have to say that I offer this guide as-is, try it to your own risk. Said that, a deleted partition is a whole other story, this guide will work as long you meet the requirements explained throughout.

            PS: If you need additional help, you can always ask at the (forums) and I may be able to give a hand.

  • Jeffrey

    I clicked “Custom” install during Win8 installation (because being a techie, I “always” do the custom install) – didn’t realize that Microsoft meant “Clean” install instead. Your guide saved me a lot of heartache – THANKS!

    • Pit

      I am glad it worked. Thank you for the comment.

  • iansal

    Hello, admin, is this work on W8 release preview? Thanks! ((:

    • Pit

      Yes, It should work fine.

      • iansal

        Another question: the file in Windows.old is 2.3 GB. Is it possible? I guess I moved some of my previous files to the W8 files and install as “Upgrade”. If it is impossible, is there any ways to restore W7?

        • Pit

          If the Windows.old file is about 2 times larger than the available free space in your hard drive, you may not be able to recover.
          You can however refer to the following guide to export the files to an external hard drive and see if you can make more space in the HD.


          • iansal

            Free space on the C: HDD: 33 GB. Okay.

            But when I try Step 9, which is this:

            move /y E:windows.oldwindows E:

            It said that: The system cannot find the drive specified.
            When I opened the Windows.old folder, What I see on it is only “User” and “PerfLogs”.
            It seems that the W7 OS file/folder is missing. Is there any other ways to solve the problems?

          • Pit

            As I stated in the article, Microsoft doesn’t support rolling back to previous version of the OS. This also means that there is a change that even though this guide works for most people, it may not work for everybody.
            If you’re only seeing the User and PerfLogs folders, try connecting the hard drive in another computer as secondary drive and check if indeed the rest of the folders aren’t in there.
            For the other question: Make sure that you test all drive letters until you land to the correct drive.

            Also consider that in your case it may just not be possible to recover.


  • Juan

    At step 12, when I type “”bootbootsect /nt60 x:” it returns with “The subsystem needed to support the image type is not present” Can anybody help with this?

    • Mauro

      Hello Juan, sorry to hear that you are having problems. This could be the cause of corrupted files try running these command: sfc /scannow and chkdsk /r /f.

      Also are you sure that bootbootsect path (X:) is the correct one for your case?

      I hope this helps,

      • Juan

        Yes, I was just using “X” as a variable but it IS the drive with my Windows installations. I actually don’t know if this article is for me at all. I don’t know HOW but, I installed windows 8 side by side with Windows 7. I wanted to try windows 8 and thought I’d done I’d totally replaced windows 7 but one, I’m glad I didn’t because I hate windows 8, and two, it somehow installed itself on the same drive so, in essence, the machine boots into Win8 but all I have to do is choose an app from any of the squares & it “swipes” over to Windows 7. Also, the file explorer is the windows 8 explorer. So, when I open up any of the libraries or MY Computer, it’s the windows 8 explorer(??) Would your guide apply to my situation? Do you even understand what I’m trying to explain? It’s kinda hard to explain how I f***ed this up.

        • Mauro

          Hello Juan,

          If I’m understanding correctly, this guide should help you through the process, just make sure of step #1 and #2 notes.

          What I don’t understand is ” in essence, the machine boots into Win8 but all I have to do is choose an app from any of the squares & it “swipes” over to Windows 7″. There is no way to switch from Windows 8 to Windows 7 by just clicking a tile. Though you can switch from the Windows 8 user-interface to the Windows 8 desktop.

          So my best guess is that you installed Windows 8 on top Windows 7, in which case if you meet the requirements from step #1 and #2 (notes), this guide should help.

          Also make sure to use the right version of Windows architecture (32-bit or 64-bit), depending how to install Windows before.


  • Sabrina Whitt

    how does this process change when I bought a computer that started with Windows 8, I have purchased Windows 7 online ready to download, and now want to downgrade, but this doesn’t qualify as “restoring an old system”?

    • Mauro

      Hello Sabrina,

      If I’m understanding correctly, you bought a computer that came pre-installed with Windows 8, right? If this is the case I recommend you to skip this guide and check this other How-to guide that will take you to the process and all you need to know downgrading to Windows 7 from Windows 8.


      • Sabrina Whitt

        Thanks for your quick response. I was reading through the material. The guide looks great, but my concern before I get started is the part where I would insert my Windows 7 disc and reboot. I “purchased” (was able to get a free download from my university because I’m a student) the Windows 7 off of the website and it is offered as a download, so it is sitting there on the web waiting to download, but when I get to that point to “insert the CD and reboot” that won’t be applicable to me. What do I do at that point? Thank you so much for your help. Your guides you’ve created are amazing!!

        • Mauro

          Hi there, thank you for the kind words.

          If I’m putting the pieces together what you need is a way to create a bootable DVD or USB drive with your Windows 7 installation files. To do this, you can use this other guide (Oh! Don’t worry that it says “Windows 8”, the tool and the steps were actually designed for Windows 7.)


          I hope that helps!

          • Sabrina Whitt

            You are helping and I definitely appreciate it. Thanks for holding my hand through the process. So, I’m burning my DVD with my new Windows 7 program on it and reading up on all of the steps that I’m getting ready to do. I think I have a handle on it, but I’m caught on something. In the “How to install Windows 7 – Clean installation tutorial” it talks about installing Windows 7 as if you have wiped out the previous operating system, however, none of the guides you have shown me talk about how or explain why to wipe out Windows 8. Once I use my new Windows 7 DVD and begin its installation process will it take over the preexisting Windows 8 that is on my machine? I wouldn’t think it would being a downgrade…..

          • Mauro

            Hello, Sabrina,
            The tutorial “How to install Windows 7 – Clean installation tutorial” is the guide you need. Just make sure you copy your personal data to a flash drive, the insert the DVD in your computer, reboot, follow the instructions on the screen and when you get to the “What type of installation you want?” simply choose “Custom”. Select the drive that contains your current Windows installation and then click Next, Windows will take care of the rest.

            I hope this helps,
            Let me know your progress. Thanks,

          • Sabrina Whitt

            Hi Mauro,
            It’s been a while and I was failing to update you because I decided instead of going from Windows 8 to Windows 7 (I was getting overwhelmed with everything), I downloaded classic shell. My family has been much happier not having to use the “boxy” home screen anymore and love being able to stay on the desktop and use the new start menu button. The only thing everyone is still hating is when wanting to look through pictures. We miss Windows media viewer and hate the new library that it pops up to, but that is not a feature of classic shell so I guess we will just deal with that part. I am thinking that perhaps we will just go this route. My question is do you foresee anything else that is going to make me unhappy down the road that I did not fully go back to Windows 7?? We’re hoping to just use classic shell until “the next OS” comes out. Thanks for your help and advice!

          • Mauro

            Hello Sabrina, it’s good to hear from you back.

            I’m sorry to hear you’re not getting along with Windows 8. Let me tell you that the future of Windows is what you see today in the Start screen and the new full screen applications (Metro style). There is not going back.

            The reason for this is because Windows is moving toward on being a mobile first operating system optimized for touch. You’ll now start seeing more and more touch-enabled devices with Windows 8.

            But this shouldn’t scare you, Windows 8.1 is coming pretty soon and has a tons of new improvements. Also if you wait for Windows 9, well… you’ll be waiting for about 9 more years. Windows 8 is the first OS to have multiple releases 8.1, 8.2, you get the idea.

            With your picture problem, let me tell you that has an easy fix, just right-click the pictures and choose Open With and select Windows Photo Viewer, you can also set this tool as the default program to open all your photos.

            In Windows 8 there is more than just static changes, the OS is a lot faster than previous versions, it has a tons of new features, and a lot, lot more.

            I would recommend you to read this previous articles I wrote that maybe can help to change your mind.




            I hope this help, always remember to check back for more guides and updates.

  • chris bridges

    hi there i let mt cusin on my pc which had window 7 onit but he put windows 8 on it and i can seem to activted it as i never bought it and i would like to go back to windows 7 but i have no disc so could u help us out please ??

    and is there a good programe out there that could speed up my pc please

    • Mauro

      Hello chris,
      1. You should try contact the PC manufacturer to get a need disc
      2. You could ask a friend for the Windows 7 DVD
      3. Try to go to and do a search for Windows 7 trial, download and create a bootable media (not sure is going to work but you could try).

      Finally the best way to optimize your PC is reinstalling Windows from scratch, do not install unnecessary programs, and changing the primary hard drive for a solid-state drive will tremendously improve your PC performance.


  • Tiptoes Dance

    Question. I may have misread something, but when this method is used are any of the previously installed files over written or do they still exist. Eg, i can still see and access all my MSoftOffice docs, mail, browser links, desktop icons etc and applications that were previously installed?

    So, it goes back to EXACTLY as it was before Win8 was installed.

    • Mauro

      Everything goes back to normal, nothing gets overwritten. Because this method isn’t supported by Microsoft, unexpected things could happen. If you want to do this, I recommend you to backup your files, right down your passwords, and have ready the files to install any application that may not work after the process.

      FYI: This is a solid guide and it should help going back to Windows 7 from Windows 8. Just make sure you follow the instructions step by step and read the notes and warning!