Suppose for some reason that you do not want to use the Windows 10 operating system anymore, such as because in the process of using Windows 10 you often encounter some errors, etc. You can completely downgrade to Windows 10. Windows 10 down to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1.
If you want to downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, please refer to the steps in the following article by the administrator.
Before performing the downgrade process, you should perform a system backup in case something bad happens.
1. Install Windows 7, Windows 8.1 on your computer
If you do not have a Windows key, there is no need to perform the complicated steps listed below. You just need to download the Windows 7 ISO or Windows 8.1 ISO, create a bootable USB with Hiren’s Boot CD or Rufus, and then proceed to install Win 7 or Win 8.1 on your computer.
2. Use the Recovery option to uninstall Windows 10
Note: This method only works if you have just upgraded from Windows 7/Windows 8.1 to Windows 10..
During the upgrade to Windows 10, everything you need to revert to the previous version is in the Windows.old folder and the $WINDOWS.~BT folder. These folders are located in the main installation drive (usually the C: drive).
Before proceeding with the steps to uninstall the operating system, you need to check if these two folders exist or not. On File Explorer, open the C: drive, where you will find the Windows.old folder.
However, in File Explorer, first select the View tab, then check the Hidden Items box to see the $WINDOWS.BT folder.
Follow the steps below to uninstall Windows 10:
1. Press the Windows + I to open the Settings application.
2. On the Settings window, click Update & security.
3. Next, click Recovery.
4. If you just upgraded to Windows 10, you’ll see a Go back to Windows 7 or Go back to Windows 8.1 section.
If you want to go back to using Windows 7 or 8.1, click the Get Started button.
5. Answer the question of why you want to downgrade to use Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 and then click Next.
6. Before reverting to Windows 7 or 8.1, you will receive a selection message to install an update version (if available) to fix any errors. However, if you want to return to using Windows 7 or 8.1, click No, thanks.
7. Carefully read all warnings about what will happen to applications and settings during the downgrade, then click Next.
8. If you used a different password to sign in to your account on previous versions, you must use that password to sign in after you downgrade back to Windows 7/8.1. Next, click Next.
9. Next, click the Go back to Windows 7 or Go back to Windows 8.1 button to complete the process.
Keep in mind that the uninstalling of Windows 10 will erase all settings and applications from your machine. You can reinstall these programs and utilize them if you want to use the settings or applications.
3. Uninstall Windows 10 with the Full Backup option
All you need is a Repair Disc to boot your computer into the Windows Recovery Environment to restore to a previous version. Follow the steps below:
1. Right-click the Start button in the bottom left corner of the screen and click Control Panel.
2. Next, on the Control Panel window, click System and Security.
3. Click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7).
4. In the left pane, click Create a system repair disc.
5. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a Repair disc.
After creating the Repair disc, follow the steps below to downgrade to Windows 7/8.1:
- Connect the drive that contains the backup installation of previous versions on your computer.
- Restart your computer with Repair disc.
- On the Setup screen, click Next.
- Click on the Repair your computer link to continue.
- Click Troubleshoot.
- Click Advanced options.
- Click System Image Recovery.
- Log in to your User account.
- Select the backup you want to restore, and then click Next.
- If compatible, follow the on-screen instructions and then click Finish to complete the process.
After the restore is finished, you will revert to the previous version of Windows.
4. Use the Clean Uninstall option to remove Windows 10
If the option to roll back to a previous version of Windows is not available in the Settings app and you are unable to fully backup everything you need to restore, the third option is available.
The third option to uninstall Windows 10 is to cleanly install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. This process will require you to provide the Product key to clone your operating system. The process will erase everything on your computer, including settings, applications, and data. However, you can reinstall all applications and restore personal files from backup.
This option requires a lot of time and requires many steps. However, this caused the least problems after downgrading back to the previous version.
4.1. Windows installation file
If you want to reinstall Windows 7, visit the Microsoft support homepage to download the Windows 7 ISO file. You can then use the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool to create a Bootable Media.
4.2. Configure the boot order on your computer
You need to make sure your computer can boot from a USB Flash Drive or DVD drive. This process requires you to enter one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC key, or the Delete key.
After accessing the BIOS, find the Boot Options option and change it to Windows installation media.
On Windows 8.1 and later versions, you can use the UEFI BIOS. However, accessing the UEFI BIOS is not as simple as accessing the traditional BIOS.
In this case, go to PC Settings => Update and recovery => Recovery => Advanced Startup and then click Restart now.
The operating system will load the boot menu; your task is to click Troubleshoot => Advanced options => UEFI Firmware Settings => Restart. Windows 8.1 will boot into the BIOS, giving you options to access and change the boot order on the system.
4.3. Find your Product key
Unlike Windows 10, which allows you to reinstall the operating system without a Product key by using a digital license. You need to reinstall Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 using the original Product key.
If you own a Windows 7 computer, you’ll find the Product key under the Proof of License Certificate of Authenticity label. Usually, this label is attached to the back of the computer.
On laptops, you can find this label on the bottom of the device, inside the replacement battery connector, etc.
If it’s an old computer, usually the Product key is in the drive recovery package or in the actual drive.
On newer Windows 8.1 devices, you cannot find the Product key, the reason is that the Product key is embedded in the BIOS chip on the device.
Also, you can use search software to find the Product key.
4.4. Perform a clean install of Windows
Once you have the installation files, follow the steps below to perform a clean install:
1. Restart your computer, using Windows 7 installation media or Windows 8.1 installation media.
2. On the Setup screen, click Next.
3. Click Install now.
4. Accept the terms and click Next.
5. Click the Custom option: Install Windows only (Advanced).
6. Select and delete system partitions. Normally you find and delete Drive 0 Partition 1 and Drive 0 Partition 2.
7. Click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
After the installation is complete, go to Control Panel => System and Security => Windows Update to download the latest patch for the operating system.
You can then proceed to reinstall the applications and restore the files from the backup.
Check out some more articles below:
- Speed up Windows 10 from startup to shutdown
- Summary of some ways to fix USB Device Not Recognized errors on Windows 7, 8 and 10
- Some tips to free up hard drive space on Windows 10 computers