How to Restore Previous Windows Version After Upgrading to Windows 10?

After launch of Windows 10 for public, we have covered a few topics such as upgrading to Windows 10, clean installation of Windows 10, etc:

Now lets talk about a different case! Suppose you upgraded your existing Windows 7 or 8.1 OS to Windows 10 but after upgrading, you don't like the new OS or you face some issues with hardware drivers, new features or some of your favorite programs are not working in Windows 10 and you decide to revert back to previous Windows version, then how will you do it?

How will you rollback or downgrade to previous Windows version from Windows 10? Here is the solution!

Windows 10 comes with a new feature which allows you to rollback to the previously installed Windows version but there are some conditions:

NOTE: When you upgrade to Windows 10, the previous Windows files and folders are automatically stored in C:\Windows.old folder. This folder is kept by Windows only for one month. After one month Windows 10 will automatically delete the folder. So you can restore previous Windows version only within one month after Windows 10 upgrade. Also if you run Disk Cleanup in Windows 10, make sure to uncheck "Previous Windows installation(s)" option. If you don't uncheck it, Windows will delete all files and folders present in C:\Windows.old folder and you'll be unable to rollback to previous version of Windows.

Now without wasting time lets start the tutorial:

1. Open Settings app from Start Menu and click on Update & Security icon.

2. Now click on Recovery section and there you'll see "Go back to Windows 7 or 8.1" option.


3. Click on the option and it'll ask you for the reason behind restoring previous Windows version such as previous Windows version was easier to use, was faster, etc. Just select any given option you want and click on Next button.

4. It'll ask a few more things and you just need to click on Next button.

That's it. Your computer will restart and will show "Restoring your previous version of Windows..." screen. After a few minutes, your previous Windows version will be restored successfully.

NOTE: If you can't access Windows 10 Desktop, you can use following alternate method:

1. Click on Power button on Login Screen, hold down SHIFT key and then click on Restart option. It'll open "Advanced Startup Screen" as mentioned here.

2. Now go to "Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options" and click on "Go back to the previous build" option.

It'll restore previous version of Windows within a few minutes.

Also Check:

[Tip] Dual Boot Between Windows 10 and Your Existing Windows 7/8.1 OS

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Posted in: Windows 10

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  • i got the message: "sorry but you cant go back. the files needed to take you back to a previous version of windows were removed from this pc."
    i did not remove anything. all i did was upgrade my windows7. tried win10 for a bit then i did your "dualboot 7 and 10 tutorial."

  • VG

    ^^ It seems you ran Disk Cleanup. Did you?

  • no i did not run disk cleanup or any tool whatsoever. i just played around with win10 checking it out. but anyway you mentioned that the old files will be in a windows.old folder. I see that folder, it was not deleted or missing but the "recovery" option keeps giving me that error saying it has been removed.
    the WINDOWS.OLD folder contains a program files fldr, program files (x86) fldr, recovery fldr, and the WINDOWS folder, and 4 hidden files (inetpub, programdata, perflogs and users). Any thoughts on why it is not being detected?

  • VG

    ^^ It seems you changed some options which are causing this issue. Try to restore previous Windows version using Advanced Startup options screen:

  • Mike, I have the same exact issue. Hope there is a fix.

  • i've gone through the advanced options as well VG. what really hurts is that i made a backup using 7's windows backup and windows 10 cant do anything about it saying its from a different version of windows, even though it says that it supports backups from previous windows OS's. its confusing. that transition from 7 to 10 was fine, its the rolling back that's killing me that i decided to just reinstall a clean windows 7 and i will see if my backup could still be restored using it. thank you though VG for trying to help.

    *im just curious but has anyone done it or have you heard of any successful rollbacks yet?

    @Don, ya man its a pain in the ass. its frustrating, confusing, but oh well its done. yet another learning experience haha.

  • VG do you have any idea what you are doing.

  • Thank u VG. I upgraded from 8.1 to 10 but didn't like Windows 10. I was able to successfully move back to Windows 8.1 with the help of your guide. You are a lifesaver. :)

  • I had exactly the same problem, upgraded from 7 to 10, I had the Windows.old folder with program files, user accounts etc, after 3 days the program files were gone, only leaving user accounts, thought it was meant to be 28 days ?

  • Same problem, I can't go back from 10 to 7.

  • 7August2015
    It won't let me restore previous to the upgrade.

    I am not pleased with Microsoft!

    I was able to use ctl-alt-delete to access the power button, and go to Troubleshooting, but in advanced options, there was no option to go back to previous build.

    The install basically came back just as before.

  • Microsoft seemed to have deleted all the files from the windows.old folder during the upgrade to Windows 10. All that are left were empty folders.

  • i've been thinking of what may have caused the problem. i customized my windows 7 so most of my system files were edited/taken ownership of. maybe the upgrade needs the original windows 7 system files for the rollback to work.
    run an "SFC /scannow" before doing the upgrade

  • i also tried to go back to windows 7 home from windows 10, nothing happened and my files r still on my pc, windows old. when i tried to go back it did nothing brought me back to windows 10. microsoft really got over on us! they really need to give us more time and let us go back to our former operating system. thank goodness i have my original install disc, i always make sure i get a copy when i buy a pc.

  • Okay, I'll be honest with you. I don't know the difference between a Super Computer and a car crash.

    But I have managed to restore ALL of my computers back to their Win 7 or 8.1 despite the fact that I was OVER the month restore period.

    How I did that. Well I frustrated the heck out f Window 10 so it had no choice but to go back to the old OS despite the Windows.old folder NOT being present in the C drive.

    Also I did NOT NEED my original discs.

    What does "frustrating the heck out of Windows 10" mean? Well, each time Windows 10 tries to boot, kill it in that process. I used the power button (4 second lag) each time and it finally says "Restoring to previous version of Windows" You could "??" use the reset button I suppose instead of the power button. On one of my laptops, it did give me the option to restore to previous build, but that didn't work somehow.


    Hope this helps.
    Dr Bean, apparently

  • Windows 10 is the most revolting site I have ever seen. I want my old reliable Windows 7 & 8 back but I am not computer savey enought to do it. Please help. I shall tell all my friends not to click on Windows 10, it is a nightmare and now I have no connections with my face book friends. It's Christmas time, show a little mercy and give me back my old files, PLEASE.

  • VG

    ^^ As mentioned in the tutorial, if you upgraded to Windows 10 recently, you can restore Windows 7 or 8/8.1 within few clicks.

  • When I go to settings > update and settings > recovery, there is no verbiage saying to go back to previous Windows. Only says go back to previous build. And taking forever....

  • Just tried to revert back to Windows 7 from Windows 10 and it did not revert to Windows 7. Instead I still have Windows 10. Credentials for the WI-FI connection were removed.

    I also noticed that the folder Windows.old which was renamed when I upgraded from WIndows 7 to Windows 10 has been removed.

    I am not happy at all with this. And I absolutely want to get rid of this Windows 10 as I do not like it at all...

  • I detest Windows 10. It worked for a while but then hijacked my computer for a couple hours for an update. When it finally completed, there was a large banner across the screen assuring me that everything was right where I had left it. Wrong!!!! My task bar is grayed out. I can click on three of the grayed out squares and get Firefox, Chrome and Word, but all the others give no response and non of them are recognizable. I just have to guess which grayed-out square is which Also, the clock and date, etc. are missing. I tried "stretching" the line at the side but nothing. Even the much-touted "cutsie windows" in the new version are unavilable. My desktop, other than that, is unchanged, and my favorites are still there. This all happened too late to change back, of course.

  • I think windows ten is rubbish. I cannot use my scanner-printer smong other failures

  • Will it delete my whole data or will just change to windows 8.1 and my PC will still remain as I used it before after Going back to windows 8.1?

  • VG

    ^^ It'll restore to the earlier state of your Windows 8.1.

  • Found out, after failed installation from Wondows 7 to 10 that my 5 year old Dell XPS is not upgradeable! Now Dell conceirge Service helped me find the Go To the Previous Build. The Restarting words are on the display for 90 minutes now and I dont see the processor light active at all! Dell tells me it could take 90 minutes but reading this blog it seems lots of other problems may be hiding! Should I power down laptop and see what happens?

  • After 4 hiurs of restarting icon spinning, i took the risk and powered down the laptop and rebooted. Windows 10 began to start and then said recovering rebuild! Yippee! All worked fine! Now we have to have Dell find a way to stop the Windows 10 upgrade prompts!

  • After the restart and subsequent display with "Restoring your previous version of Windows..." screen my previous version (Windows 7) failed to start with a message that a"A recent hardware or software change might be the cause." I am stuck on this black screen.

  • After following this guide, I went to roll back my upgrade. To be presented with.
    'We're sorry, but you can't go back'
    The files we need to take you back to a previous version of Windows were removed from this PC

    Great one!

  • My computer has run automatic disk cleanup. how to get back to windows 7

  • There is no option for reset to previous OS What to do . Is their any other method for doing it pls share.

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