For a limited time after upgrading to Windows 10, you’ll be able to go back to your previous version of Windows by selecting the Start button > Settings > Update & security > Recovery and selecting Get started under Go back to the previous version of Windows 10. This will keep your personal files, but it'll remove apps and drivers installed after the upgrade, as well as any changes you made to settings. In most cases, you'll have 10 days to go back.
To go back, you'll need to:
- Keep everything in the windows.old and $windows.~bt folders after the upgrade.
- 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).
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 Microsoft Store.
If go back isn't available
- Check to see if you can restore your PC to factory settings. This will reinstall the version of Windows that came with your PC and remove personal files, apps and drivers you installed, and any changes you made to settings. Go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get started and look for Restore factory settings.
- If you have a product key for your previous version of Windows, use the media creation tool to create installation media for Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, and use it to do a clean install.
Info for Windows Insiders
If you’re an Insider and the current preview build isn’t working for you, go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Go back to an earlier build. This won’t remove your personal files, but it’ll remove recently installed apps and drivers, and change settings back to their defaults.
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.