How to Downgrade from Windows 10
While most of the response to Windows 10 has been positive, it might not be for everyone. The good news is that downgrading from Windows 10 to your previous operating system is a relatively simple task.
Exactly how you can go about it depends on which of three categories you fall into: whether you upgraded using the "Get Windows 10" app (via Windows Update); whether you used a DVD or USB drive with Windows 10 media; or, whether you bought a computer with Windows 10 pre-installed.
"Easy Downgrade" Method: Within 30 Days
If you used Windows Update to upgrade to Windows 10 (which runs via the 'Get Windows 10' app), you have 30 days from the point of installation to use an easy downgrade method. That's because during the upgrade to Windows 10, your computer creates a backup of all relevant data from your previous Windows installation. This previous operating system backup is deleted after 30 days to save disk space.
To downgrade from Windows 10, simply open the Start Menu, select "Settings" then "Update & Security" then "Recovery" and then "Go back to Windows 8.1" or "Go back to Windows 7." (Whichever version you used to have will be listed.)
This is designed as an in-place downgrade, meaning that all your programs and files should still be available. As always, it's worth backing up key files at the very least before you change your Windows edition - whether you are downgrading or upgrading.
Using the DVD or USB
If you waited more than 30 days to downgrade or if you did a clean install of Windows 10 using a DVD or USB, then you won't be able to use the easy downgrade method mentioned above.
Instead, the previous operating system will need to be reloaded using DVD or USB from its original install media. It also means that you will have to reinstall all your programs and user data; so it is advisable to backup your operating system using a disk image before reinstalling the old one.
If you don't have the install media, you can download it from Microsoft's website; you will also need a valid product key in order to obtain the download.
Windows 10 Pre-installed
If you bought a machine with Windows 10 already installed, your options will vary depending on your manufacturer.
Some manufacturers, such as HP, are offering its business partners machines with Windows 7 or 8 automatically pre-installed and Windows 10 as the primary operating system. It means that business partners can downgrade to either Windows 7 or 8 from Windows 10 immediately without any delay.
Dell, on the other hand, will ship computers with preinstalled with Windows 7 or 8 (Pro) and Windows 10 Pro (as the primary operating system) for its customers when requested. (Source: crn.com)
What's Your Opinion?
Are you thinking about downgrading back to Windows 7 or 8.1? Does knowing that a downgrade is often simple make you more likely to try out Windows 10? Would a downgrade option affect your choice of new computer?
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