Steps to Roll Back Windows 10

Not a week go by without a customer expresses desire to roll back or uninstall Windows 10 to go back to the previous version of Windows for a myriad of reasons.

Many customers did not want to upgrade but after relentless messages from Microsoft, they either relent or answer the upgrade question incorrectly, resulting Windows 10 being installed.  Still more customers do not know that they can revert back to their previous operating system within 30 days of upgrade.

Now that 30-day window has long passed and there is no simple push button way to roll back.  For non-technical users that want to restore to their computer’s previous operating system, these are general and necessary steps:

  1. Back up all your data.
    1. pictures, documents, emails, favorites, contacts, music and any application specific data.
  2. Locate installation disks and product codes of the applications installed in your computer.  Eg. Microsoft Office, Quicken, Quick Books, etc.  Sometimes, that could be username and password for the application you purchased. Because you need to re-install them after the previous operating system is re-installed.
  3.  Locate your computer’s original installation disk, including component drivers; or the restore disks you made.
  4. If you do not have 3. Go to your computer manufacturer’s web site. Use your service tag or serial number in the Support pages to see if restore disks are available for sale.  Buy that if they are available. Sometimes, the re-installation disks/USB drive come with instructions. Manufacturer re-installation media will automatically activate original Microsoft product key.
  5. Assuming you have the restore/re-installation disks and verified that you saved all your data, set aside at least 3 to 4 hours to do the re-installation.

To restore/re-install:

  1. Insert your restore/re-installation disks into the CD/DVD drive or in the case of a flash drive, insert into USB port.
  2. Turn on your computer and press either Esc, F2, F10, F11, F12 or Delete key to get to the boot selection screen.  This is different for different computer model and you may have to Google to find out the right key sequence.
  3. Once you have the boot selection screen, select the CD/DVD drive or USB (if flash drive).
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to install the operating system.

Assuming you are successful in re-installing the operating system.

  1. Check to make sure internet works. If not, go to the computer manufacturer’s website to find, download and install the correct internet driver. (That means you may need a second computer.)
  2. Reinstall all your application software.
  3. Restore your data.
  4. Check to make sure all devices are working.
  5. Run Windows update and that may take a while. It may run overnight.

This is meant to be a general guideline and gives you a rough idea on the scope. You should verify the steps and modify as needed for your computer model.