How to Get Your Previous System Back After You Have Upgraded to Windows 10

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In the last few days millions of people have upgraded Windows 7 and 8.1 systems to Windows 10. But suppose you have tried Windows 10 and now you want your old system back? As long as it has not been more than 30 days since you installed Windows 10, there is an easy way to downgrade.

Here is the procedure. (You will need to be in an administrative account.) Since something can always go wrong, first back up any personal files and data. Also, if a laptop or tablet is involved it will need to be plugged in since the rollback can take a while.

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Click or tap “Settings”
  3. Click or tap “Update & security”
  4. In the dialog window that opens, choose “Recovery” in the left column
  5. The image below shows the options that are then displayed. Under the entry “Go back to Windows x” (where x is 7 or 8.1), click or tap “Get started”.

    Downgrading Windows 10

  6. A blue window (example shown below) will open asking why you want to roll back the system. Choose an answer and click “Next”.
  7. Another blue window with some information will open. Click “Next”.
  8. The rollback will start. Depending on your system, the process may take several hours.

    Rolling back Windows 10

The files needed for reverting to a previous system are in a folder Windows.old or in folders $Windows.~BT and $Windows.~WS. If you have deleted these with a clean-up procedure, then no rollback is possible. Once you are sure that you are happy with Windows 10, the Disk Cleanup procedure can be used to remove these files. The process is similar to that given for Windows 8 in this tip.

And there you have it - how to go back to your old familiar system.

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

I upgraded from windows 7 to window 10 but immediately rolled back as I had to some urgent work and becoming familiar with win 10 would have taken some time due to which I rolled back to win 7.The major set back on roll back was that all the start menu folders/subfolders of installed programs changed to short cut or empty though software and programs list showed all the installed programs. The reason was found to be that UAC security/permissions changed for all users including Admin account. Unfortunately, Microsoft support ,as usual,could not be of any help.It is tedious task to restore security/permissions one by one for each folder/subfolder,installed programs and looking for some command prompt or program which can restore all the installed programs security permissions about which MS support obviously pleads ingnorance.

I spent a minute Googling and came up with "icalcs".
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/2009.07.geekofalltrades.aspx

You may also want AccessChk from Sysinternals.
https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb664922

Good information b

As I understand it, the free upgrade offer doesn't expire for a year so I'm content to wait and see how the inevitable bugs are handled. Reverting back to the old system indicates that the computer user didn't do his homework before taking the plunge and ultimately he will have to upgrade again anyway at some point.

Good question zep321..... I would also like to know if iit's possible to use an image of my Wins 7 OS after I have Wins 10........

If you pass the 30 day limit to revert and wish to downgrade back to win 7 can I use my system image of 7 made just before upgrade? If so
do I use the win 7 or 10 recovery usb or can it be done after booting into win 10?

I haven't actually done it but I think you should be able to go back to Windows 7 with your system image. You probably have to do it with a bootable USB key or DVD since I suspect the image won't work directly from Windows 10 but I could be wrong. Be sure your PC will recognize whatever medium you are using. Another thing I don't know is how activation will work when you try to downgrade after the 30-day period. Your Windows 7 license is converted to a Windows 10 license when you upgrade. Microsoft licensing is always murky so it is conceivable that you might have to do a telephone activation.

I did precisely that when Windows 8 was introduced, as I wasn't sure how enthusiastic I was with the update. I used Macrium Reflect for my Windows image, as recommended on these pages, keeping a Windows 7 and 8 image up to date until I finally decided 8 was fine for my use. It only takes a few minutes to install your image using a boot disc, so you can get used to 10 without having to depend upon it. So far, I've had no issue with Macrium Reflect back-ups or reinstallation.

Thanks, Vic. Right now I have no intention of reverting as I am pleased with with the upgrade. I have 3 pc's and am testing win 10 on the oldest. So far so good.