Roll back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 from Windows 10

How to roll back to previous version after upgrading to Windows 10

If you've upgraded to Windows 10, you can roll back to your previous version, but Microsoft will only allow you to do this within the first month after the upgrade.

Windows 10 is out the door and millions of users are upgrading every day, as Microsoft is offering the new operating system as a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8 computers. While Microsoft hopes that you’ll stay the new operating system, the company also includes the option to roll back to your previous version of Windows, in case you don’t like the upgrade, or if you’re having issues.

However, there is one caveat, Microsoft has recently updated the Windows 10 FAQ page, under the question: “Can I go back to my previous version of Windows if I don’t like Windows 10?” The company warns that you can roll back, but you only have 30 days from the day of the upgrade to revert.

“Yes, while we think you will love all the features of Windows 10, you will have one month after upgrading to revert back to the previous version of Windows on your device.”

No surprising the company does not mention the reason of the limited time to roll back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 after upgrading to Windows 10. In part is because the company is betting big in its operating system and wants users to stay on Windows 10.

The other reason is that a copy of the previous version takes up a lot of valuable space in your PC’s hard drive, as such after that one month Windows 10 assumes you’ll stay in the new version and it deletes the Windows.old and Windows.~BT folders to reclaim space.

The following are the steps you must follow to rollback (uninstall) Windows 10 from your computer and go back to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

How to uninstall Windows 10 from your PC

  1. Use the Windows key + E keyboard shortcut to open File Explorer.

  2. Double-click the C:\ drive and make sure you have the Windows.old and Windows.~BT folders, which contains the necessary files to roll back. (You may need to click View on File Explorer, and click the Hidden items option to view the Windows.~BT folder.) If you don’t have these folders, you won’t be able to uninstall the Windows 10.

  3. Use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app.

  4. Click Update & security.

  5. Click Recovery.

  6. Depending on your previous version you’ll see a new section called “Go back to Windows 8.1” or “Go back to Windows 7”, click the Get started button.

    Recovery - Rollback to previous version of Windows 10

  7. Answer the question and click Next to continue.

    Step - Why are you going back?

  8. You can now either check for updates, which may fix your current issue. If you’re ready to roll back, click No, thanks to continue.

    Step - Check for update before uninstalling Windows 10 Anniversary Update

  9. Read carefully what’s going to happen when you uninstall the Windows 10 Anniversary Update from your computer. For example, you’ll have to reinstall some apps, and you’ll lose the settings configured after installing the latest build. Click Next to continue.

    Step - What you need to know before modifying your WIndows 10 installation

  10. Remember that you’ll need the password you used to sign in to your previous version of Windows 10. Click Next to continue.

    Step - Don't get locked out get your password to sign back in after removing the Anniversary Update

  11. Click Go back to Windows 8.1 or Go back to Windows 7 to begin the rollback.

    Go back to earlier build

If you’re still within the first month of the upgrade to Windows 10, you can also use this video tutorial for more details on how to roll back to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7.

If you don’t want to use the built-in tool to roll back, or you don’t see the Go back to Windows 8.1 or Go back to Windows 7 option on the Settings app, you can alternatively restore by using a previous full backup of your system. In the case, you don’t have a backup, you can reinstall the your previous version doing a clean install of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.

Update, August 5, 2016: Starting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft is shortening the time you can roll back from 30 to 10 days. The new change makes possible for users to be able automatically reclaim wasted space after the upgrade.

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 14 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 20 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].