How to downgrade from Windows 10 or 8.1 to Windows 7?

September 20, 2018 |

greater than 6 minutes

Windows 10 might be the latest operating system from Microsoft, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea. A good number of users who upgraded to Windows 10 from older OS versions (like Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 8.1) tried out the features or functionalities available on the latest build of Windows but soon realized that they prefer the older operating system environment.

Can I downgrade to Windows 7?

If you often ask yourself this question, then there is a good chance you are not enjoying things on the latest Windows operating system. Yes, you can downgrade to Windows 7 (or the previous iteration of Windows you upgraded from in the first place). In this guide, you will find all the information you need to revert the OS on your PC to an older Windows build.

Nevertheless, before you move on to choose a method to downgrade to an older iteration of Windows, it is imperative that you understand that all the means of carrying out the required operation might not be accessible to you. The available options or the one you get to use largely depend on factors like how you got the upgrade, how much time has gone by since you upgraded, and so on.

How to revert to Windows 7 from Windows 10 through Windows Update?

If you upgraded to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and 30 days have not gone by since you carried out the operation, then there is a quick method of returning the older build of Windows you can use to your advantage.

From what we have seen, if you opt to use this procedure, your system will perform an in-place downgrade, and as far as we know, your personal files or data should remain untouched. This statement does not guarantee anything though.

We recommend that you create a comprehensive backup of all your valuable data to an external drive before you begin the necessary operations. In a scenario where something goes wrong during the downgrade process, the backup will prove its worth.

Follow these instructions to begin the downgrade process once you are ready:

  • Press the Windows button on your keyboard (or click on the Windows Start icon that is always visible on your desktop screen). From the programs and utilities that appear, click on Settings to launch it
  • Inside the Settings app, you will find some menus from which you must click on Update and Security. From the list of options you see on the left pane, select Recovery to enter its menu
  • Now, you should see the Go back to Windows 7 menu. Click on the Get started button below it. Follow the instructions that appear after the process commences as they will guide you to ensure that the procedure in view turns out successful

Microsoft will probably ask you to state why you are downgrading from their newest release to an older product while you move through the operations.

  • You can choose from any of the already-mentioned reasons, or you could provide some feedback in details. Whatever you do, click on the Next button to continue

At this stage, we expect that you will see a message warning you about the need to reinstall some programs and applications after you complete the upgrade. The notification also expands on the loss of settings, configurations or changes you have made to your current operating system. A reminder about the importance of a backup is very much in order here too.

  • Since you took the decision to downgrade and you are already working towards it, we expect that you will remain unfazed by either of these messages or warnings (even if you are not abiding the recommendations they stated). Click on the Next button to move on
  • You will see another warning, but this time it should be regarding you remembering the password for the system account. After all, according to the message displayed, you will be unable to sign into your computer after the upgrade if you do not know the required password. Once you have verified that you remember the correct password, click on the Next button
  • Currently, you should be at the final screen for the downgrade steps. Windows will inform you that your system will retain the ability to upgrade to Windows 10 if you ever change your mind in the future. Click on the Go back to Windows 7 button, and the actual downgrade process should begin immediately.

How to do a clean installation of Windows 7?

If 30 days have gone by since you updated the operating system running on your computer to Windows 10, then you will not see the quick option for a downgrade to Windows 7 in the Settings app because your system has probably deleted some files or made specific changes that work against it. The procedure (if attempted) would most likely be a failure due to these events, so there is no point in using it at all.

Installation of a fresh copy of Windows 7 is the only option available, and it is probably the best means by which you can revert the OS on your PC to Windows 7. The same thing applies to users who purchased a computer with Windows 10 (preinstalled as its base operating system) but want to downgrade to Windows 7 because they prefer the older iteration of Windows.

The importance of a backup cannot be overemphasized here. The previous method (of downgrading to Windows 7) that we described above provided a means to keep your personal files and related data intact, but this one makes no such promise as regards the retrieval of stored information.

If anything at all, the clean installation process often involves the deleting or formatting of partitions, and this operation usually wipes off the contents of a drive. Well, at least you get fair warning now.

In general, you can follow the provided steps to install any iteration of Windows you desire (as long as you can obtain the necessary files and do the job well).

Once you are ready, here are the instructions you need to go through to downgrade to Windows 7 through a clean installation of the required operating system:

  • First, you must find a suitable Windows 7 installation medium. You can use a bootable DVD (if your computer has a DVD-drive, of course). If you prefer to create a bootable drive, you must download the required ISO file from Microsoft, then place the ISO image on a flash drive, using special You can also create Windows 7 installation media by burning the required data to an empty CD.

Regardless of the means of creating the Windows 7 installation media you go with, you must ensure that the required files have been correctly copied to avoid complications or problems during the downgrading process

  • Insert the bootable CD into your DVD drive (if you have one); Insert the flash drive into your USB ports (if you went with this medium instead). Now, you have to boot your PC from the CD or flash drive you inserted. In most cases, you will have to alter the booting process or sequence of your computer

Generally, you are going to try to stop your PC from booting from your hard disk drive (the default bootup setup or sequence) and attempt to make it boot from the DVD or flash drive you inserted. The way you go about the required operations varies by PC manufacturer or even motherboard type.

A key (or a combination of buttons) is often used to alter the boot menu or access the options for controlling it. F2, F8, or F9 are some of the most common keys in use. You will do well to try them out and see what happens. If they fail to work for you, you will have to do some research to find out what you must do to alter the boot sequence of your PC.

  • After you press the required key (or combination of buttons) to access your boot options, you must enable the booting from the CD or flash drive. After your PC boots from the inserted item, you will end up on the Install Windows screen
  • Choose your preferred language, time zone, keyboard, and other important settings. Click on the Next button. On the next screen, you will get to choose between the Upgrade and Custom options. We recommend that you go with the Custom option (since you are performing a downgrade and not an upgrade).
  • Follow the remaining instructions as they come up to complete the process. You will probably end up formatting a partition to contain the older Windows installation and to provide space for the installation of the new OS while doing other things.

In the end, after you finish installing the fresh copy of Windows 7, you will have to activate it. You will get an activation key after you purchase a license from Microsoft. Besides activation, there are other important things you must do like the restoration of the backup you created (if one is available) and installation of all the required drivers so that your PC can get up to speed.

Auslogics Driver Updater will prove incredibly useful. With the help of this superb program, you can update all the drivers on your computer (especially the ones that are missing or unavailable) to their latest manufacturer-recommended versions in no time.

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