If you upgraded your Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 computer to Windows 10, you might want to downgrade to your previous version, here’s how to do it.
If you upgraded your computer running Windows 7 or 8.1 to Windows 10 and are finding things not working correctly, or if you’re not a fan of how it works, you can go back to your previous version. Here’s a look at how to do it.
Update: You should stay on the latest version of Windows 10 for security’s sake. Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. And it’s ending long-term support for Windows 8.1. Plus, Windows 11 is being released in the last quarter of 2021.
Here is what Microsoft says about Windows 8.1:
Windows 8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and will reach end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 had until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 to remain supported.
I have made sure that all of my important files, photos, and other important data are backed up. So, finally, I am ready to go back to my previous version of Windows.
Revert from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or 8.1
To start, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery (you can get there faster by using Windows Key+I), and in the list on the right, you should see Go back to Windows 7 or 8.1 – depending on which version you upgrade. Next, click the Get started button. In this example, I’m going back to Windows 8.1, but the process is the same for Windows 7.
Microsoft will ask you why you’re going back – provide a reason and click Next.
Now you’ll need to navigate through a series of messages, starting with the one shown below. It reminds you to leave your PC plugged in and that after going back, you have to reinstall some apps. You’ll also be reminded, as we did at the top of this article, to make sure your data is backed up.
Make sure you know your password for the previous version of Windows so you aren’t locked out. This is more important if you’re downloading to Windows 7 or didn’t use the same Microsoft Account to log in with Windows 8.1.
Now you’re on your way back to your previous version. You’ll see a message: Restoring your PC will restore your previous version of Windows, and your system will restart several times during the process.
When it’s done, you can do some housekeeping and reinstall certain apps. It’s also important to note that you can upgrade to Windows 10 later if you decide to, and it will still be free.
In fact, once I downgraded to Windows 8.1 and logged in, the message to upgrade to Windows 10 popped up right away.
For more on the upgrade process or doing a clean install, read one of our guides listed below:
- How to Perform a Clean Install of Windows 10
- How to Download the Windows 10 ISO for a Clean Install
- How to Upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10
- How to Upgrade Windows 8.1 to Windows 10
And, for more on the new operating system from Microsoft, check out our full collection of Windows 10 articles — we add new content daily!
Or, for specific questions or to talk shop with other Microsoft geeks, join the free Windows 10 Forums.