So you’ve updated your Windows 8.1 device to Windows 10 and now you want to downgrade to Windows 8.1? Here’s how to get your device to uninstall Windows 10 and reinstall Windows 8.1. If a program or hardware device you use doesn’t work on Windows 10, you might be forced to downgrade. If Windows 10 just seems unstable or not to your liking then you’ll want to go back to your previous version of Windows. Or, if you’d just rather use Windows 7, you can downgrade. You can always re-upgrade to Windows 10 completely free with in the first year.
Microsoft, out of the kindness of their hearts, has provided a simple Software Recovery Tool that can reset/recover the OS of your device by using your Windows PC.
You can use the Software Recovery Tool to recover your device if, for whatever reason, you are having any kind of software related issues such as lag, display issues etc. The tool is also capable of recovering Windows Phone 8 devices that are non-responsive, frozen or failing to start.
Important! Using the Software Recovery Tool will erase all content stored on your phone, including apps and games (along with app data and game progress), text messages, call history, music, photos and more. If possible, you should back up your phone first (Settings > backup). You will be able to restore a backup once the recovery is complete.
Note: The recovery process may take some time depending on your internet connection speed, and you cannot use your phone during the installation. The latest approved version of the software in your phone and model will be installed. Via
We will begin by showing how to downgrade Windows 10 on mobile devices (phones, tablets) back to Windows 8.1 after we will move on to downgrading a Windows 10 PC to Windows 8 or lower. As always we encourage you to use the table of contents to navigate to the section most relevant to you.
Table of Contents
- Rollback to Windows 8
- Downgrade Windows Phone 10 Mobile to Windows Phone 8 Mobile
- Downgrade Windows 10 for computers to Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1
- Video: how to uninstall Windows 10 and downgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1
- How to Downgrade if Windows 10 Doesn’t Give You The Option
- Create a DVD or USB drive to install Windows 7 / 8.1
- Yet Another easy method: Restore factory settings
Rollback to Windows 8
If you have just installed Windows 10, i.e, under a month then you’re in luck. follow these first easy steps to get started:
Unless you’ve removed the backup that Windows 10 makes when it’s installed. You can roll back pretty easily. If you have removed the rollback data, or the Windows.OLD directory. Then you’re looking at a reinstall from scratch to roll back and you should skip ahead.
- First, backup your important data. If something goes wrong you don’t want to lose your media,contacts etc.
- Once you’ve backed up your data. Click the Start Menu, then settings
- There’s a button for “Update and Security” click that (looks like a backward rolling arrow).
- Select the Recovery tab, and then choose “Go back to Windows 8.1 (or 8, or 7 whichever OS you upgraded from).
- A screen will pop up asking why you want to go back, and will give you reminders about passwords, etc.
- Keep clicking next and follow the on-screen prompts.
That’s it. You phone will be reverted and you may have to reinstall a few of your apps and get your device up to speed from scratch. You can also use the Microsoft tool to recover the OS of your device.
Downgrade Windows Phone 10 Mobile to Windows Phone 8 Mobile
Prerequisites for your computer (PC):
- Microsoft Windows 7 or newer.
- USB cable to connect your phone to the computer.
- Minimum 4 GB free storage space.
The Windows Phone Recovery Tool is compatible with the HTC One and every Lumia phone that runs on Windows Phone 8 and above. Any other Nokia device should use the Lumia Software Recovery Tool. If you are unsure which Windows Phone OS is currently being used by your phone then:
Which Version of Windows is Installed on My Phone?
- Go to settings
And from there you will be able to know which operating system is installed on your device.
Windows Phone Recovery Tool (for Lumia phones and HTC One running Windows Phone 8 or newer)
- Download and install Windows Phone Recovery Tool to your computer. It is best that your phone’s battery is fully charged.
- When the installation has finished, start the application and you will see the main screen will appear on your PC:
Windows Phone Recovery Tool
- If your phone is not automatically detected, disconnect all phones from your computer and press My phone was not detected at the bottom of the main screen.
- If prompted, select the phone manufacturer.
- Connect your phone to your computer with a compatible USB cable.
- Wait for your computer to detect the connected phone and follow the screen instructions. If the phone is not connected within one minute you can try to restart your phone: Keep USB connected, press and hold the Power and Volume down keys simultaneously. Release the pressed keys when phone vibrates.
- Press Install software to start installing the software to your phone.
Lumia Software Recovery Tool (for older Lumia and other Nokia phones)
- Download and install Lumia Software Recovery Tool to your computer. If possible, make sure that your phone’s battery is fully charged.
- Start Lumia Software Recovery Tool, and connect your phone to your computer with a compatible USB cable. If prompted, select the correct USB mode on your phone: Nokia Suite or Modem.
- Follow the instructions shown on the tool.
Your device will now be downgraded. Restart and proceed to setting up your phone or tablet.
If you want to downgrade your computer to Windows 7 or Window 8/8.1 then follow the tips outlined below:
Downgrade Windows 10 for computers to Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1
Go Back to Windows 7 or 8.1
The good news here is that if you upgraded your computer to Windows 10, i.e, you didn’t perform a clean install then you’re in luck! You can revert to the previous version of Windows by using the recovery tool preinstalled on the PC when you updated to Windows 10. To use it:
- Open the Start menu and select Settings.
- Click the “Update & security” icon
- Select “Recovery.”
From here you can see an option that reads “Go back to Windows 7” or “Go back to Windows 8.1”. You need to click the button that reads “Get Started” and process of uninstalling Windows 10 will begin. Of course, before you restore your previous version of Windows, Microsoft will prompt you to fill out a short survey that asks why you have chosen to downgrade your device. Follow the prompts and you’ll have your old version of Windows in no time.
Uninstalling Windows 10
The above option is only available if you’ve just upgraded, if a month has passed (Windows 10 is also set to automatically remove the old Windows installation files after a month) since your update or if you already performed a disk cleanup and removed “Previous Windows Installations” or if you have manually deleted the C:Windows.old folder, you will not be able to use the easy method above.
Video: how to uninstall Windows 10 and downgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1
Not a fan of reading? Not everyone is, so, here’s a short video showing you how to delete Windows 10 and install your previous version of Windows on your computer. If you don’t want to watch the video tutorial then you can always continue reading the article.
How to Downgrade if Windows 10 Doesn’t Give You The Option
If you deleted the data or you’re past the month limit then you will need to perform a clean install of the operating system you’re trying to downgrade to. Be Sure that you have your product key (not the Windows 10 product key but the one for your previous Windows installation).
Download the OS you want to install. You can find the official ISO files on the Microsoft website. You will need to burn the files to a DVD or mount the ISO files using a virtual replication software. You can also create a USB drive using the Windows USB/DVD Tool. Using any of the options will allow you to boot and reinstall Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Before you do this you should make a copy(backup) of all the important files on your computer.
In order for the reversion to be complete you will need your PRODUCT KEY. If you can’t find or don’t have a product key you will need to purchase a new one from Microsoft.
Reinstall a clean copy of Windows 7 / 8.1
As always, in Windows devices also you have the option of removing the current system from your hard drive by re-installing another version of Windows. However, it is important to follow these preliminary steps:
Make a backup of your files
With the easy way, making a backup was something recommended but not essential, but to make a clean reinstall the backup becomes mandatory if you do not want to lose our personal files.
On this end, Windows 10 includes 2 sets of backups: a more modern one, called File History, but that is only compatible with Windows 8.1, there is also an older version with less features, but offers compatibility with Windows 7.
- To make a backup using File History should go to Settings> Update and Security> Backup and then select “Add Drive”. Then you need to connect an external drive with sufficient space, and wait for the first backup is complete.
- To make a copy that is Windows 7 compatible also go to Settings> Update and Security> Backup, but then select the option Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7).A Control Panel window, in which you must click Configure backup appears. Finally, just connect an external drive with enough space, and follow the wizard until the backup is complete.
Create a DVD or USB drive to install Windows 7 / 8.1
To place a clean installation you need a physical medium to store the installation files for Windows 7 / 8.1, so you can start your PC directly from this unit (without entering Windows 10) and start the process that will overwrite the file system.
The ideal way would be an installation disk provided by the manufacturer, but if you do not have it, Microsoft allows you to download the installation files directly from the web, completely legal.
Simply go to this page , choose the version you want to download (7 or 8.1), follow the instructions. There are 2 different courses of action depending on if you want to downgrade to Windows 7 or to Windows 8.1.
In the case of Windows 7 you will be required first to enter a valid product key, you can use the same one that came with your PC, or purchase a retail license of Windows 7. Then you need to indicate if you want to download 64-or 32-bit (to see which version you need, you have to go to Settings> System> About> System type within Windows 10), and finally start downloading the ISO file.
Once downloaded, Windows 10 allows you to save the files directly to a DVD without requiring additional software. Simply insert a blank disc, then right-click on the ISO file and select the Save option.
To convert the ISO file to a USB drive you need to download and install this tool , run it and follow the wizard’s instructions.
In the case of Windows 8.1 the process is a bit easier. You do not need to enter an activation key in the website, and what you download is an ISO file, but a tool called Media Tool Creator, which allows you to directly create DVDs and USB drives installations of Windows 8.1.
Simply run the downloaded file, follow the steps in the wizard, and you’re set to go. Of course, we must correctly indicate which edition of Windows 8.1 and architecture you want to install. This is very important because your activation key will only work with the particular edition of Windows 8.1: we had installed before upgrading to Windows 10.
The system architecture you can check in Windows 10, via Settings> System> About> System type. And in the same section “About” it should show which version of Windows 10 you have installed.
And start installation
Once you have already created a backup with the corresponding method, and got the physical installation media, all that is left is to begin the installation itself.
This requires inserting / connecting the DVD or USB drive the computer, restart it, and make sure that the system boots from the installation drive, not from Windows 10. This Windows 7 / 8.1 installation wizard appears.
Once there just follow the instructions displayed, but make sure that when asked for the type of installation you want, select the “Custom Install” option instead of “Update”.
Then, all existing partitions on the PC will be displayed. You must choose the one that is installed with Windows 10, and delete its contents, and choose it as drive to install Windows 7 / 8.1.
The end result will be a clean installation of your previous operating system. You can restore your files using the backup you made in step 1. However, through this method there is no way to recover previously installed programs and applications: you must manually reinstall them all (though many modern applications can be bulk re-installed from the Windows 8.1 Store ).
Yet Another easy method: Restore factory settings
Finally, there is an equally easy method to uninstall Windows 10 from your system, which also delivers all the performance benefits of a clean install. This is the option to restore factory settings, which is also available from the Windows 10 app settings.
This option restores your PC to the state it was in when we bought it at the store and used it for the first time, including to its original operating system. It uses the files from the recovery partition created by the manufacturer.
To restore the PC with this option you have to go to Settings> Update and security> Recovery and press the “Start” button in the “Reset the PC”.
After that a dialog box appears with three options:
- Keep my files
- Remove All
- Restore factory settings
As you might have guessed, the option to be selected is the latter. After that, just follow the instructions displayed on the system.
All very simple, but still with some caveats. First, as you can imagine, this method completely erases your files and applications, so here you also need to back up. Second, there will be some cases where this option is not available, either because the manufacturer had not enabled, or because you deleted the recovery files. And third, this mechanism only serves to return to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, not to Windows 7.
What experience have you had with these methods to uninstall Windows 10? Is there any other way you have given them better?