So you’ve taken up Microsoft on its offer to upgrade to Windows 10 for free. How’s that working out for you?

For the most part Windows 10 should be able to run on just about any hardware that could run Windows 7 or later. But if you’re running into problems, Microsoft included an escape chute: You can easily roll back to an earlier version of Windows within 30 days of installing Windows 10.

go back

If you upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, Microsoft will save all of your files in a folder called Windows.old. It’ll stick around for about a month before Windows 10 deletes the folder to free up gigabytes of disk space.

In order to go back to your previous version of Windows, all you have to do is open the Windows 10 Settings app, choose the “Update & Security” option, and then select the “Recovery” tab.

You should see an option that says “Go back to Windows 8.1” or “Go Back to Windows 7.”

Since this option will disappear in 30 days, it’s not a bad idea to create a backup of your previous operating system before upgrading. If you’re using Windows 8.1, you can create a USB recovery drive. Windows 7 users can use the backup and restore utility to create a backup and a system repair disc.

On the other hand, if you stick with Windows 10 for more than 30 days, you can still use the built-in recovery tool. But instead of letting you roll back to an earlier version of Windows, it’ll let you restore Windows 10 to an earlier state.

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12 replies on “Don’t like Windows 10? You can roll back (within 30 days)”

  1. My Asus t200 shut off during windows 10 update and now I can’t boot into it.
    It saids: Your pc needs to be repaired error code 0xc0000225
    The operating system couldn’t be loaded because the HAL is missing or contains errors.
    I made a windows 10 usb but I don’t know what my product key is.
    I didn’t back up anything, this isn’t my primary computer so I am really not worried about losing anything I just want it working again.
    It has a recovery partition but I can’t get recovery options up.
    Update: I ended up wiping my partition and installing windows 10 without product key.
    Now my touchscreen and wifi doesn’t work and the drivers I downloaded from Asus won’t install

    1. Go to a windows store, they can help. There are teachable words in your post. Is your product key not on your device? It usually is unless you built it yourself! Good luck!

  2. Or just pass on the “update” for 3 to 6 months and let others shake out the more eggregious issues. By then Microsoft may even have retooled it with a proper Start Menu instead of the sham one there now. Wait until almost a year from now and you might find WinRT/Metro/UAP ripped out and gone forever anyway – well we can hope!

    1. I’ve upgraded day one (or at least the first week) of release for every Windows upgrade since 3.0, except ME, and not had any serious issues which were dealt with through updates. I have had some device driver availability issues (e.g. HP printers) or programs which weren’t compatible, but that’s another matter. With Win10 though I did uninstall because it is too slow to boot/shut down compared to 8.1, and because it was having issues with Bitdefender.

      But seriously, you want to bring back the proper start menu? Why not just move all the way back to a command prompt?

      1. But seriously, is that supposed to be a serious remark? You act as if a dumbed down feature like Metro is progress. It isn’t. A desktop computer doesn’t need mobile-style applications, much less have them pushed in your face this way. With Microsoft having failed in the mobile market there is no reason for WinRT to exist at all anymore. Just stick a fork in it.

        1. I’d agree Microsoft was stupid not allowing a choice of booting to the desktop or Metro, but that has nothing to do with the start menu missing once you get to the desktop, and that’s the topic.

          But if you want to go there, why not have mobile apps on a desktop? There are a number of ways to run Android apps on a desktop computer, so obviously there’s some demand for that. If you have a mobile app you like, say maybe a weather app, why not have the option of running that on a desktop?

          And in any case, metro was not just about mobile. Netflix has a nice Metro app for Win8.1. From one report I’ve read that’s now screwed up in Win10 because the task bar stays present. I can’t verify that, but in any case the Netflix Metro app for 8.1 is a nice option–in part because it allows digital sound formats not available through your browser.

  3. Or make your own image of your Windows7 system before you update. The best option (in my opinion) for people who are still running Windows 7 on a desktop system is to pull the hard drive (it still is a spinning disk isin’t it?) and store it in a secure place and install a SSD, then do a clean install of Windows 10. Better yet, wait 6 months to let others help Microsoft work out the bugs before doing the above.

    1. I know you’re not kidding about physically removing the drive. When I installed Windows 7 on my home desktop, I had a hard drive for the os and apps and a second hard drive for data and media. Even though Windows was being installed on the os drive, and wasn’t supposed to touch the secondary drive, it wiped it anyway. Since that time, I haven’t trusted Microsoft, and I doubt I ever will.

      1. Not trying to insult you in any way, but are you sure it wasn’t just user error due to brain fart or something? I’ve installed windows 7 more than 15 times on different computers, and it has never happened to me

        1. Yes, I’m very sure that the os was only set to install on the one drive, and there was to be no activity performed on the secondary drive. I’ve been installing and using Windows since DOS and Windows 3.1, so I know installation procedure well enough. I had previously had Ubuntu, Mint, and Elementary installed without issue, but the Windows 7 install was an unpleasant surprise.

    2. I always have other backup options, but when I uninstalled yesterday the method described above not only worked, but it was rather fast! Doing a restore via some other means would not be as fast.

      The only thing change though (oddly) was my desktop shortcut for Windows Update was missing after the restore, so it’s not a 100% the same restore like some other method would be. (The shortcut was missing because 10 doesn’t have a Windows Update component to Control Panel.)

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