How to uninstall Windows 10: Are you trying Windows 10 but don’t you think so much? Maybe it’s just a matter of habit: I bet that in a while you will get carried away and it won’t seem so uncomfortable anymore. Do not you think? Well, apparently we think differently. In any case, know that if you have installed the operating system for less than 30 days, you can take advantage of the downgrade function offered by Microsoft and uninstall Windows 10 without formatting the PC. All you have to do is go to the computer settings, click on a button and wait a few minutes. That’s all. The PC will restart and within a few minutes you will return to your Windows 7 or Windows 8.x without any problems whatsoever.
If you have installed Windows 10 for more than 30 days or purchased a computer with Windows 10 pre-installed, you cannot take advantage of the direct downgrade option, but you can always go back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x by formatting the PC, in the “old way” . In this way you will lose all the data and you will have to reinstall all the programs but – how do you say? – desperate times call for desperate measures. Quite right? Well, then I would say not to waste any more time and immediately take action.
If you are 100% convinced to remove Windows 10 and return to a previous version of the Microsoft operating system, carefully follow the instructions I am about to give you, make sure you properly prepare your PC and you should be able to do this in a fairly simple way. Good luck!
Preparing the PC
Before uninstalling Windows 10 , make a backup of all your data and find out if your PC is able to support the downgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x. Below you will find a quick summary of all the operations to be performed.
- Hardware and driver requirements – if your computer is capable of running Windows 10, it will also be able to run Windows 7 or Windows 8.x. The minimum requirements for the three operating systems are practically the same. However, if your PC came out of the store with Windows 10 preinstalled, you may encounter some difficulties in finding the drivers necessary for the operation of some hardware components. Before downgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x, therefore, make sure that all the drivers are available for the latter.
- Product key and activation – once downgraded, you will need to activate your copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.x using a legitimate product key. Make sure you have it handy. Furthermore, if you have switched to Windows 10 taking advantage of the free update provided for users of Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1, go to the menu
Impostazioni PC > Aggiornamento e sicurezza > AttivazioneWindows 10 and make sure the operating system is activated. Otherwise, if you reinstall Windows 10 after the promotion expires, you won’t be able to activate it for free. This is because the activation of Windows 10 – if you upgrade for free from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 – works through a generic product key and an identification code that is associated with the computer hardware at the time of installation. If your computer hardware has not been associated with the Windows 10 license, after the promo expires you will no longer be able to switch to Windows 10 for free.
- BIOS configuration– if you use a fairly recent computer, which was sold to you with Windows 10 or Windows 8 pre-installed, the Secure Boot is almost certainly active on your PC. Secure Boot is a security feature included in UEFI (the system that has supplanted the old BIOS) that allows you to run only digitally signed operating systems. In a nutshell it is a security measure by which malware is prevented from altering the startup of the PC. It is very useful, but unfortunately it also prevents some legitimate operating systems from starting, such as the old Windows 7 and various Linux distros. This means that if you intend to downgrade to Windows 7 you must first go to your computer’s BIOS – or rather UEFI – and disable Secure Boot. I explained how to do it in my tutorial on how to enter the BIOS . Mind you that only the 64-bit versions of Windows 7 are compatible with UEFI-based PCs, the 32-bit versions can only be used by activating the UEFI Legacy BIOS mode (in my tutorial on how to access the BIOS you will also find this explained ). Windows 8.x does not require any special intervention on the BIOS as it fully supports UEFI and Secure Boot.
- Data backup – there should be no need to emphasize it, but before downgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x you absolutely need to create a backup of all your data. In fact, the uninstallation function of Windows 10 within the first 30 days (the one I told you about at the beginning of the post) does not delete the files, only the removal of some programs may occur, but you are never too cautious … then take an external hard drive and run to make a backup of all your data!
Uninstall Windows 10 within the first 30 days
If you have installed Windows 10 for less than 30 days, you can take advantage of the direct downgrade function and return to your previous operating system in a matter of clicks. All you have to do is search for the term Settings in the Windows search bar and click on the PC Settings icon that appears in the search results.
In the window that opens, click on the Update and security icon ; select the item Restore from the left sidebar and presses the button To start which is located under the words Back to Windows 7 (or Back to Windows 8 ). At this point, specify a reason why you are uninstalling Windows 10 (ex. My apps or devices do not work in Windows 10 or Windows 7 was easier to use ) and click first on Next three consecutive times and then on Go back to Windows 7 / Go back to Windows 8 to start removing Windows 10 from your PC.
The computer will restart and within a few minutes it should be downgraded to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x. If during the recovery procedure a window appears that says Could not start your computer , don’t worry, this is how Windows restores the boot files of the old operating system.
By clicking on the button Back to Windows 7 / Windows 8 of Windows 10 nothing happens or an error message appears? So sorry, most likely you used Microsoft’s disk cleanup utility or Media Creation Tool (the program to create DVDs and USB sticks for Windows installation) and the files to downgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. x have been deleted from the PC.
In this regard, I want to reveal a little trick that maybe could come in handy: changing the name of the folders
C:$Windows.~BTWindows will not be able to delete the files to downgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.x and then you can go back to your old system operational even after 30 days. The folders are all hidden, so in order to view and rename them you must first follow the instructions in my guide on how to view hidden folders and files . Even after renaming folders, avoid using Disk Cleanup and Media Creation Tool, files to downgrade Windows may still be compromised.
Uninstall Windows 10 by formatting the computer
If you were unable to uninstall Windows 10 using the direct downgrade feature of the operating system, you must roll up your sleeves and reinstall Windows 7 or Windows 8.x by formatting your PC. This means getting a DVD or USB flash drive for Windows 7 / 8.x installation and deleting all the files on the disc. But let’s see in more detail all the steps you need to take.
- Get the installation files for Windows 7 or Windows 8.x. Windows 7 can be downloaded from the Microsoft website by entering the operating system product key. Windows 8.1, on the other hand, can be downloaded via the Media Creation Tool released by the Redmond giant. To find out how to create a USB stick with the installation files of the two operating systems, see my tutorials on how to create USB bootable Windows 7 and how to install Windows 8 from USB .
- If you want to return to Windows 7 and use a PC based on the UEFI system, enter the UEFI and disable the Secure Boot . As mentioned above, you will find out how to do it in my tutorial on how to access the BIOS . If you intend to use a 32-bit version of Windows 7, also activate the Legacy BIOS mode (if it is supported by your computer).
- Boot the computer from the DVD or USB stick with the Windows 7 / 8.x installation files and format the computer following the instructions in my tutorials on how to format Windows 7 PC and how to format Windows 8.1 .
- Perform the initial configuration procedure of Windows 7 / Windows 8.x, activate the operating system by entering a valid product key and copy all the backup files that you previously saved on an external disk to the PC .
Note: if you use a notebook that was originally equipped with Windows 7 or Windows 8.x, you could also restore it to the factory state via the recovery partition . I told you about it in my tutorial on how to format a laptop , but if you want some advice go to Google and look for recovery partition [model of your PC] to find out in more detail how the recovery partition of your laptop works.