Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10  

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    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10

    How to Go Back to Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10
    Published by Category: Installation & Upgrade
    17 Feb 2020
    Designer Media Ltd


    How to Go Back to Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10


    When you upgrade to Windows 10 or update to a new version of Windows 10 (ex: Windows Update), a copy of the previous installation is saved to the Windows.old folder in the root directory of the Windows 10 drive as a backup. This backup will allow you to be able to go back to the previous build of Windows for up to a 10 days after upgrading to Windows 10 if you should want to.

    To go back, you'll need to:
    • You will need to have enough free space on the Windows C: drive. Usually the free space needed is at least twice the size of the C:\Windows.old folder.
    • Keep everything in the Windows.old and $windows.~bt folders after the upgrade. This means to not delete these folders, and not check the Previous Windows Installation(s) box when using Disk Cleanup.
    • Remove any user accounts you added after the upgrade.
    • Know the password you used to sign in to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 (if you used one).
    • Have the USB drive you used to upgrade to Windows 10 (if you used one).

    What you need to know before you go back:

    It will keep your documents, photos, and other personal files, but it can't save:
    • Any apps installed after the most recent upgrade
    • Any changes to personal settings made after the upgrade
    • If you're using a local account, you'll need to sign in to this PC with your old password after going back. This doesn't apply to a Microsoft account.
    • If you go back to Windows 8.1, some apps that came with Windows, like Mail and People, might not work anymore. To fix them, reinstall them from the Store.
    • If you’re a Windows 10 Insider with a Windows 10 preview build installed, going back to an earlier build won’t remove you from the Insider Program. When the next preview build is ready, it'll be installed on your PC.

    If you PC has been flighting longer than 31 days, you'll need to create recovery media and clean install the old OS directly to the machine. Don't forget to back up your data and content first!

    See also:

    This tutorial will show you how to go back to the previous Windows from Windows 10 without losing your documents, photos, and other personal files.

    You must be signed in as an administrator to be able to go back to a previous build of Windows.



    Contents

    • Option One: Go back to Previous Windows from Windows 10 in Advanced Startup options
    • Option Two: Go back to Previous Windows from Windows 10 in Settings






    OPTION ONE

    Go back to Previous Windows from Windows 10 in Advanced Startup options


    1 If you upgraded to Windows 10, you will need to first delete any user accounts you created after upgraded to Windows 10.

    2 Boot to advanced startup options.

    3 Click/tap on Troubleshoot. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-1.jpg

    4 Click/tap on Advanced options. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-2.png

    5 If you don't see Go back to the previous build, then click/tap on the See more recovery options link if displayed. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-3.png

    6 Click/tap on Go back to the previous build. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-4.png

    7 Click/tap on an administrator account you want to provide credentials for. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-5.png

    8 Enter the password for this administrator account, and click/tap on Continue. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-6.png

    9 Click/tap on Go back to previous build to begin. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-windows_10_go_back_to_previous_build-7.png

    10 The previous build of Windows will now start restoring. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-restore_previous_build.png






    OPTION TWO

    Go back to Previous Windows from Windows 10 in Settings


    1 If you upgraded to Windows 10, you will need to first delete any user accounts you created after upgraded to Windows 10.

    2 Open Settings, and click/tap on the Update & security icon.

    3 Click/tap on Recovery on the left side, and click/tap on the Get Started button under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10 on the right side. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-go_back_to_previous_windows-1.jpg

    4 Check why you are going back to provide feedback to Microsoft, and click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-go_back_to_previous_windows-2.png

    5 Click/tap on No, thanks. (see screenshot below)

    You can click/tap on Check for updates if you wanted to check for new updates instead.

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-go_back_to_previous_windows-.png

    6 Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-go_back_to_previous_windows-3.png

    7 Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-go_back_to_previous_windows-4.png

    8 Click/tap on Go back to earlier build or Go back to Windows # to begin. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-go_back_to_previous_windows-5.png

    9 The earlier build of Windows will now start restoring. (see screenshot below)

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-restore_previous_build.png


    That's it,
    Shawn



  1. caperjack's Avatar
    Posts : 4,550
    insider build 10586.3 win10 pro 64
       #1

    I did this once ,with good results, but not on my main computer ,just one I have here that had fresh install of win7 on it ,
      My Computer

  2. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,608
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19631
    Thread Starter
       #2

    This tutorial has been updated for Windows 10 Insider Preview build 10122. :)
      My Computers

  3. Frank1's Avatar
    Posts : 316
    Windows 10
       #3

    I am in the process of going back to previous build right now. So far it's been running for about 90 minutes but seems to be doing what it should. Does this generally take a while?
      My Computer

  4. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,608
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19631
    Thread Starter
       #4

    Hello Frank,

    Yeah, it could sometimes take a while to finish. Especially if you had any issues in the current installation.

    As long as you have hard drive activity, you should be good once you wake up from boredom.
      My Computers

  5. Frank1's Avatar
    Posts : 316
    Windows 10
       #5

    Brink said:
    Hello Frank,

    Yeah, it could sometimes take a while to finish. Especially if you had any issues in the current installation.

    As long as you have hard drive activity, you should be good once you wake up from boredom.
    I finally did get it back to the previous build and now I'll do a clean install. As far as the boredom was concerned I solved that problem the old fashioned way--I just took a nap. That worked wonders.
      My Computer

  6. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,608
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19631
    Thread Starter
       #6

    That's a perfect solution.
      My Computers



  7. Posts : 1,519
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15
       #7

    Hi Shawn,

    I had a Windows 8.1 laptop and used the official 10162 ISO to run Setup.exe within Windows itself. However it won't let me go back. I get an error saying files are missing.

    I don't think I should have done anything to damage windows.old or other files it needs. It's the laptop I was having activation problems with, so I did try entering different product keys, and I also tried to boot the machine's recovery options (but they couldn't find files to restore from), but I'm surprised if I did anything to break the functionality to go back.

    I'd already taken a Macrium Reflect backup so hopefully that will work and it won't be an issue for me, but it does suggest that this function might not something to rely on as a way back.

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-cantgobacktowindows8_1_step1.png

    Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10-cantgobacktowindows8_1_step2.png
      My Computer

  8. Brink's Avatar
    Posts : 48,608
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro for Workstations build 19631
    Thread Starter
       #8

    Hey David,

    Yeah, I wouldn't rely on it as an only source to go back with.

    Did you use Disk Cleanup, or any similar 3rd party program, that would have removed previous Windows installation files?
      My Computers


  9. Posts : 1,519
    Windows 10 Pro (32-bit) 16299.15
       #9

    Brink said:
    Hey David,

    Yeah, I wouldn't rely on it as an only source to go back with.

    Did you use Disk Cleanup, or any similar 3rd party program, that would have removed previous Windows installation files?
    Hi Shawn,

    I'm pretty sure the only things I installed were software I use day-to-day, such as Firefox and Adobe Reader - in fact they may have been the only ones.

    I did try the Manufacturer's Recovery feature (press F9 at power-on and it take you to recovery options), from which I tried restoring a System Image (but it said there was no Image saved) and a Reset from there - but it said it needed installation files to do it. So I don't think either of them should have changed anything.

    It's not a problem for me (assuming my Macrium restore works out) but I'm happy to explore/ test things out tomorrow, if it would help contribute to Forum knowledge, especially as I think quite a few folks may want to roll back to their original OS in order to activate the GA release. :)

    David
      My Computer


 
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