How to downgrade from Windows 10 to a previous version

So, you downloaded Windows 10, but don't like what it has to offer. You want to revert to your old operating system - Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, but don't know how. Well, here's a guide that will show you how.

If you've downloaded the latest Windows 10 on your system it is possible to switch back to an older version of Windows. Technically, you'll be downgrading to an older version, considering Windows 10 is newer and more advanced. There are a number of ways of switching to an older version of Windows, but the process will depend on the method you employed when upgrading to Windows 10.

This source covers all possible methods that could have been employed for upgrading to Windows 10 and provides an apposite method to switch back to the older Windows. But, before you get started save the files on your computer on a hard drive or flash drive or transfer them to an online storage facility. You can begin once all your data is saved securely.

Upgraded using Windows update

This hack is for those of you who updated to Windows 10 from either Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, using the Windows Update. Microsoft is offering an opportunity to anyone who updated to Windows 10 within the last 30 days a chance to roll back to the original version.

This method lets you carry out an 'in place' downgrade, which keeps the data on your system unharmed. Nonetheless, play it safe and create a backup for all your files and folders on an external drive, before you initiate the switch.

This is how it's done:
  • Go to Start Menu > Search > Settings
  • Open settings>Update and security
  • Check Recovery
  • Check Go back to Windows (whichever version you had earlier)
  • Check Get started

That's it. The system will automatically switch back to an older Windows, depending on which you picked.
However, during the changeover Microsoft will ask for a feedback on your reasons for reverting to the older version. You can pick a response from the set of options given or supply a reason in the box provided.

Do that and select the Next tab, that's it.

Upgraded via Windows Update more than 30 days back

Anyone, who upgraded to Windows 10 and has had the OS for over 30 days, will not be able to switch to an older version, using the option described above. Microsoft transfers critical data on the OS into a folder marked 'Windows.old' and saves it on the hard drive. This folder is deleted after 30 days.

In such cases Windows 10 will need to be manually removed from the hard disk and the older version of Windows reinstalled.

Used a clean install to upgrade Windows 10

A clean install is when a thumb drive or a DVD is used for updating software. Those who have used this method for installing Windows 10, or if the time elapsed between the installation and now exceed 30 days can uninstall Windows 10 and reinstall Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Also See: How to upgrade from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 on a PC

Create a backup of all your files and folders before uninstalling the software. This is crucial, since installing fresh software entails deleting and formatting, which could destroy important data on the drive.

Here is what you do:
  • Insert a bootable disk or DVD of the Windows version you want to install into the USB/DVD drive
  • Next, select 'restart' on your computer
  • Doing so ensures that the system reboots using the external drives instead of booting via the default booting setting using the hard-drive.
  • You'll need to manually amend the boot menu using one of the following keys – F2, F8 or F9. The key to be used depends on motherboard installed on your system
  • Alternatively, default booting option can be tweaked by modifying the BIOS settings.
  • To initiate booting via USB or DVD, press any key when the prompt pops on the screen.
  • This will open the 'Install Windows' screen; you can choose your favored language, time zone and time and input method.
  • Select the 'Next' button
  • The next screen will have two options – 'Upgrade' and 'Custom'. Pick the 'Custom' tab.
  • You'll be prompted through the rest of the steps, which are self explanatory.
  • Remember, not to select 'format a partition' and/or 'delete' option at any step. Doing so will lead to you losing critical data saved on the system.

You'll be done in a bit and have a new Windows installed on your computing device. That done, Windows will have to be activated afresh – to ensure all goes well, reinstall drivers and transfer the backup data (remember what I said at the onset about creating backup) and you're as good as done.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer publishing with Constant Content and sister sites of Techulator. She writes on a variety of subjects that interest her. She is a voracious reader and that helps her keep abreast with the latest in technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Eng. Lit, is a mom, a wife, a homemaker and a qualified teacher.

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