How to downgrade Windows 11 pre-installation to Windows 10 (fast and easy)

Yes, new PCs loaded with Windows 11 can be downgraded to Windows 10 using a clean installation, and here's how.

Windows 11 downgrade to 10
Windows 11 downgrade to 10
  • To downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10, download and open the Media Creation Tool for Windows 10, continue with the on-screen directions, choose “Change what to keep,” select “Nothing,” and complete the OOBE to finish downgrading.

UPDATED 10/5/2023: If you have a new computer pre-installed with Windows 11, you can downgrade it to Windows 10 at any time, and in this guide, you will learn how. Windows 11 is the default version that manufacturers pre-install on new devices. However, while the new operating system has a new interface and packs a slew of new features and improvements (even more on version 22H2), it’s still not a system everyone wants to use.

In case you’re among those who are still not ready to upgrade, you can downgrade to Windows 10. This is possible since Windows 11 is based on Windows 10, which means that the product key works to activate either version. You only need to complete some extra steps. (If you recently upgraded to Windows 11, you can roll back to Windows 10 with these instructions.)

It’s important to create a temporary backup of your computer if something goes wrong and you need to roll back to the previous installation. Creating a file backup to OneDrive or another cloud storage or external drive is also a good idea since this process will delete everything on the device.

This guide will teach you the easy steps to downgrade from Windows 11 to 10 for free.

Downgrade from Windows 11 to Windows 10

To downgrade a new computer pre-installed with Windows 11 to 10, use these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft support website.

  2. Under the “Create Windows 10 installation media” section, click the “Download tool now” button.

  3. Save the installer to the device.

  4. Double-click the MediaCreationToolXXXX.exe file to launch the tool.

  5. Click the Accept button.

  6. Select the “Upgrade this PC now” option to downgrade the computer.

    Media Creation Tool

  7. Click the Accept button again.

  8. Click the “Change what to keep” option.

    Media Creation Tools settings

  9. Select the Nothing option.

    Nothing option

  10. Click the Next button.

  11. Click the Install button.

    Media Creation Tool clean install

  12. Select your region setting on the first page of the out-of-the-box experience (OOBE).

    OOBE select region

  13. Click the Yes button.

  14. Select your keyboard layout setting.

    OOBE select keyboard layout

  15. Click the Yes button.

  16. Click the Skip button if you don’t need to configure a second layout.

  17. The computer will automatically connect to the network if it uses an Ethernet connection. If you have a wireless connection, you must set up the connection manually (a security key may be required).

  18. Select the “Set up for personal use” option on Windows 10 Pro. (The “Home” edition does not have this option.)

    Set up PC for personal use

  19. Click the Next button.

  20. Confirm your Microsoft account credentials to create a local account.

    OOBE create Windows 10 account

  21. Click the Next button.

  22. Confirm your Microsoft account password.

  23. Click the Next button.

  24. Click the “Create a PIN” button.

  25. Create a new PIN password.

    OOBE create PIN for account

  26. Click the OK button.

  27. Confirm the privacy settings that best suit your needs.

  28. Click the Accept button.

    OOBE choose privacy settings

  29. (Optional) On the “Customize your device” page, select one or more ways you plan to use the device to allow the setup to suggest tools and services customization during this experience.

    OOBE customize device usage settings

  30. Click the Accept button to continue. (Or click the Skip button to skip this part of the setup.)

  31. Click the “Skip for now” button to skip linking your phone to your PC. (You can always do this from the Settings app.)

    OOBE skip phone link to PC

  32. Click the Next button to allow OneDrive to automatically back up your Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders to the cloud. (Alternatively, click the “Only save file to this PC” option to skip this step.)

    OOBE OneDrive setup

  33. Click the “No, thanks” button to skip the Microsoft 365 setup.

    OOBE skip Microsoft 365 offer

  34. Click the “Not now” button to disable Cortana.

    OOBE skip Cortana setup

Once you complete the steps, the setup will continue with the downgrade process of your computer to Windows 10.

In addition to using the Media Creation Tool to proceed with the downgrade using the upgrade option, you can also perform a clean installation using a bootable USB flash drive or ISO file.

If the time comes when you are ready for Windows 11 or Windows 10 is nearing October 14, 2025, you can upgrade your computer using Windows Update, Installation Assistant, or ISO file.

Updates October 5, 2023: Instructions revised to make sure they’re still accurate.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 15 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 21 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].