Windows 10 has many features for both productivity and entertainment, but it can’t please everyone. If you don’t prefer Windows 10, you can downgrade your computer and go back to either Windows 8.1 or Windows 7. One of the good things about Windows 10 is that you can go back to it later without paying anything.
Even if it’s been over 30 days of trying out Windows 10, you should still be able to access the features needed to reinstall the version of the operating system that originally came with your computer if you still have the installation media and product key that came along with the purchase.
1 Reverting to Windows 7 or 8.1
Microsoft is pushing the Windows 10 for everyone, and for that reason, the company is letting just about anyone who has a Windows operating system to upgrade to the latest version. When you do upgrade (and not a clean installation) of the most recent operating system, then there should be an easy option available for you to access.
Just click on the Start menu and then head on to Settings. Next, click the “Update & security” option before clicking on “Recovery.”
In this new menu, you should be able to see an option that will either say “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1.” Just click it to get started to getting rid of the Windows 10 OS from your computer. Once you click the “Get Started” button, it will then ask you for a reason as to why you’re going back to Windows 7 or 8.1.
These questions will no longer appear if you’ve tried Windows 10 for over a month, or perhaps you’ve run the Disk Cleanup application while the “Previous Windows installations” options have been checked.
Another way to not see these inquiries is when you’ve manually deleted the C:\Windows.old folder. It would appear that Windows 10 will automatically delete files from the older version of the operating system after one month to free up storage space on your hard drive.
2 Previous Windows Installations Goes to the Windows.old Folder
When you upgraded to Windows 10 from an earlier version of the operating system, it will store the files inside the Windows.old folder located on your Local Disk (C:) (or whatever it is that you’ve named your primary hard drive). You can see this folder when you access File Explorer, but note that you should not attempt to remove the folder from there.
Operating systems take up a lot of storage space on your hard drive. To check just how much space is consumed by these previous installations, you can open the Disk Cleanup tool.
To access this application, just click the Start button (usually located at the lower left corner of the screen which has the Windows logo on it), and just type “Disk Cleanup” to let the system search it for you. Highlight (don’t tick any of the boxes yet) the “Clean up system files” button and search for “Previous Windows installations” in the list.
If you’re confident you no longer want to revert to Windows 7 or 8.1, then you can use the Disk Cleanup application to create a clean deletion to remove those files immediately from your system.
In doing so, it can free up precious storage space but only do this if you’ve 100% sure that you’re going to do this because there’s no easier way of turning back once you do.
3 How to Go Back to Windows 7 or 8.1 if Windows 10 Doesn’t Give You an Easier Option
Let’s assume that you’ve got an old computer that previously had either Windows 7 or 8.1 on it. It means that your PC came with a Windows product key that will allow you to revert to the previous versions of the operating system.
You can go back to either Windows 7 or 8.1 even if Windows 10 already deleted the Windows.old folder after 30 days. However, you’ll need to do a clean installation of your preferred version of the operating system as the option to revert quickly using Windows 10 might not be available anymore.
If you’ve lost the original media that came with the purchase of your PC, then don’t lose hope as Microsoft now offers downloads for Windows 7 and 8.1 ISO files. Just download your preferred version of Windows and burn the ISO file using a proper program to do it. You can also copy the files to a USB drive with the assistance of Microsoft’s Windows USB/DVD download application. Boot your computer while accessing the USB drive to start reinstalling your preferred Windows operating system.
It will warn you that Windows 10 is already on your hard disk. Therefore, you should backup all necessary files before you attempt to do this to prevent loss of data.
To provide the “certificate of authenticity,” you’ll to search for the product key of your previous Windows 7 or 8.1 installation. It can be found underneath your laptop or in the battery component if your laptop has a removable battery. You might even find it on the laptop’s power brick.
Some Windows 8 installations won’t even let you search for the product key at all because it’s already embedded into its firmware. As such, when you try to reinstall Windows 8.1, it will automatically detect the key without you having to input anything manually.
4 Installing Windows 7 or 8.1 From a New Windows 10 Computer
If you’ve bought a PC that originally came with the Windows 10, but you’d want to install Windows 8.1 or 7 instead, then you’ll need to purchase these older versions of the operating system if you’re going to go about this legitimately. Furthermore, installation needs to be done from scratch, and you will need to enter the product key that will come with the purchase.
You might want to downgrade because there’s a critical application you’ve been using before that’s now unusable with Windows 10, or perhaps the latest version of the operating system is proving to be unstable for your computer. Another reason as to why you want to go back to either Windows 7 or 8.1 is because you just prefer the older versions as compared to the new one.