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How to remove Windows 10 and restore Windows 7 or Windows 8

If you installed Windows 10 but are not happy with this OS for whatever reason, then you might be interested in getting rid of this operating system and restore Windows 7 or Windows 8.1/Windows 8. In this article, we will see how it can be done easily.

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To uninstall Windows 10 and revert to your previous operating system, you need to decide within 30 days if you want to stay with Windows 10 or go back. Also, your PC should meet the following requirements:
  • You must have done an in-place upgrade to Windows 10. This means you let the Windows 10 upgrade wizard keep your files and programs. If you did a clean install then you cannot use this method.
  • It must not have been more than 30 days since you upgraded.
  • You haven't deleted the Windows.old folder using Disk Cleanup or any other method. That folder is created during the upgrade and some people delete it to save space on their disk drives, but it's needed for the rollback operation.

If any of above mentioned conditions are not satisfied, you have no way to return to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 with all previously installed apps and drivers intact. In that case, you need to do a clean re-install of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1/Windows 8 instead.

To remove Windows 10 and restore Windows 7 or Windows 8 using the built-in method Microsoft allows, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Update & security -> Recovery.
  3. Click the button "Get started" under Go back to Windows 8 (or Windows 7) as shown below:Uninstall Windows 10 step 1
  4. On the next page, you need to specify the reason for rolling back and click "Next".Uninstall Windows 10 step 2
  5. Click "No, thanks" when prompted to check for updates.Uninstall Windows 10 step 3 no thanks
  6. Click "Next" on all warning screens which show after the canceled check for updates.Uninstall Windows 10 step 4 warnings
  7. Finally, click "Go back to Windows 8" or "Go back to Windows 7" to restore the previously installed operating system.Uninstall Windows 10 restore Windows 7 Windows 8

That's it! Windows 10 will restart and restore your previous version of Windows. Depending on your hardware, it can take approximately 10 to 30 minutes.

There is another option you can try if it has been more than 30 days or if you deleted Windows.old folder. Most computers ship with an option to restore factory defaults. When your PC starts/boots, look for an option to press some key on the keyboard to start the factory reset process. This key will be different depending on the OEM/manufacturer but there is likely to be a way to restore your PC to the original factory OS and apps as it was when it was shipped. This will restore your Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 OEM copy as it was when you got the PC. Once it is restored, you can apply all the updates from Windows Update and update your apps and drivers.

If nothing works, don't worry, you don't have to be stuck with Windows 10. You can boot from the original Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 setup media (DVD or USB), and do a clean install. For this, you will mostly need a retail edition of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 with a product key, since OEM editions can generally only be restored by factory reset method.

Your satisfaction is important and Windows 10 is not mandatory. If you wish, you can go back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and continue using it as long as you want, regardless of what Microsoft says to make you upgrade to Windows 10.

Credits for the first method go to: laptopmag.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

6 thoughts on “How to remove Windows 10 and restore Windows 7 or Windows 8”

  1. Yes, that’s the right message – Windows 10 is an affront to any serious PC user. MS just counts on the fact that most users don’t understand what’s going on and will be tricked into using it.
    Bad updates with no description, special efforts to prevent users from disabling their spying (hosts file is ignored), removing programs without user consent, installing on users PCs without asking, showing aggressive pop-up adds to those who don’t install it. This Windows doesn’t really improve anything for desktop users – unstable and unreliable compared to Win7/8.1, ridiculous and sloppy interface, worse than any previous version in terms of consistency and usability, slow – because it uses non-native code even for its taskbar and start menu… I can go on like this for a while.

      1. I’ve been using W10 for a while now. Elrond is 100% right. “Windows as a service” is a serious disservice to any serious PC user. “Updates” are buggy and poorly coded, with the mentality that “if it breaks, we’ll fix it later”, yet fixes never come. Further, updates are mandatory, with no option to opt out of updates that add new features that you may not want, not that there are patch or update notes to explain exactly what MS changed. There are also two settings menus, multiple context menu differences (not just in options, but in style, font, color, everything), multiple application menu locations, and very, very little customization. I purchased my laptop brand new, $4,000 for a workstation quality laptop from Lenovo, and was greeted with Windows downloading garbage. Minecraft was auto-installed. I had to use force scripts to remove that malware known as Cortana, as well as a bevy of other un-uninstallable shit. Fortunately, I only had the choice of W10 Pro, so I could use group policy editor to disable the ~30 telemetry (or data collection) services that were actively collecting personal data. This is too long so I’ll end it now, but advertising on the lock screen and start menu by default? Utter bullshit. I despise Windows 10 with every fiber of my being and pray that Windows and Mac only softwares or a suitable equivalent will be offered for Linux so I can ditch MS for the majority of my computing.

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