How to recover a previous build(s) or your original version of Windows using the Recovery or Rollback feature - Revised July 22nd, 2018

Technical Level : Basic

Summary

Builds 9926, 10041, 10049, 10061, 10074, 10122, 10130 and later builds (17713) including the Spring 2018 Edition of Windows 10 support a Recover / Rollback feature that allows you to go back to the version of Windows installed on your PC prior to installing the latest build or version of Windows 10. This is a onetime only rollback to the previous build or version, but I've added a set of instruction on how to "Trick" Windows 10 into rolling back to your original installation of Windows XP, Vista, & or 8 / 8.1

Users who have a dual boot configuration or started with a clean install of an earlier build of the Windows 10 Preview: The rollback feature will restore the previous build you installed.

Note: If you have not installed a later build after your initial upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, I'll show you a trick on how to roll back to Windows 7 or Windows 8 / 8.1

The Trick:

Warning: For this trick to work you must rename the C:\Windows.old file (before 10 days elapses) to for example: Win8.old or Win7.old You must rename the Windows.old immediately before you install the next build for this to work.

 
Details

If you were running an earlier version of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1) before installing a Windows Insider Build then you can use this option to uninstall Windows 10 and restore your previous version of Windows without losing your earlier version’s applications, documents, photos and other personal files.

Note: Applications installed and personal settings changes made in Windows 10 will not be saved, however newly created Windows 10 documents, photos and other personal files will be migrated back to your earlier version of Windows.

If you were running an earlier version of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1) you can use this option to either; uninstall Windows 10 or rollback to the previous build of Windows 10 and restore your previous version of Windows without losing your earlier version’s applications, documents, photos and other personal files.

Note: Applications installed and personal settings changes made in Windows 10 will not be saved, however newly created Windows 10 documents, photos and other personal files will be migrated back to your earlier version of Windows.

Let’s get started:

Notes:

1)If you have renamed the Windows.old folder prior to upgrading from one build to the next released build and want to recover and want to recover Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8.0 / 8.1 perform the steps A B and C below before proceeding to Recover / Rollback using either method 1, 2 or 3. After the recovery has completed proceed to the Cleanup section at the end of this Wiki article.

2)If you just want to roll back from the current build to the previous build then skip over steps A, B and C and proceed to methods 1, 2, or 3. Remember that once you rollback to an earlier build you will not be able to recover your original installation of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1).

Note:The rollback feature works only one time, subsequent attempts will fail.

How to recover XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1

A)Assuming you have upgraded from XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1 to build 10041 or a later build and then renamed the Windows.old folder to Win81.old for example, Windows 10 File Explorer after upgrading to build 10130 should look show the following folders that you “renamed” after each new build was installed.

B)Rename the new Windows.old folder which was created when you upgrade to build 10130 to Windows.XXX

Note: If your Windows 8.1 or earlier version of Windows consumed a large amount of disk space (Example: 100GB) then the Windows.old folder will be approximately the same size. Therefor you may be limited in the number of Wxxx.old folders you can store on your drive.

C)Now rename the Win7.old or Win81.old (or whatever name you gave it) to Windows.old

Now you can use any of the 3 methods listed below to restore your original version of Windows.

You have three easy methods to access the ‘Recovery’ option:

Method #1: Click on Settings > Update & security.

Method #2: In the ‘Search’ box enter:   recovery options 

Then click on ‘Recovery Options’ displayed at the top of the list.

If you used methods 1 or 2 the next step is click on the ‘Get started’ button in the ‘Go back to an earlier build’ option to start the recovery process. Skip over the instructions for method #3 to continue.

Method #3: You also have a third method to rollback which is to click on the ‘Windows Rollback’ option displayed on the ‘Choose an operating System’ screen when you power on your PC or ‘Restart’ your PC.

If you upgraded from a previous version of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8.0/8.1) you should see the following options. Click on the Windows Rollback option to start the process.  Note: This option may not be available / displayed on all computers.

Note: If you have Dual Boot system and installed the latest build from an earlier build of Windows 10 you should see the following options as shown below. Click on the Windows Rollback option to start the process. This will restore the earlier build of Windows 10. Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1 will remain unchanged.

Note: If you rollback to a build earlier than 9926, the Windows Rollback option will no longer be displayed.

Whichever method you choose, after you click on the ‘Get Started’ button, the rollback process will start.

(The message shown below: May not be displayed in later builds, but allow anywhere from 30 minutes or more, your laptop should be plugged into an AC outlet and not running off of battery power)

Now click on the “Go back to earlier build” button to start the actual roll back.

You have now completed the rollback to the original version of Windows or the previous build that was installed on your PC.

Cleanup steps:

Note: These steps are only necessary if you performed steps A B and C (the trick) before preceding to the Recover / Rollback option as you may still see the remnants of the Windows 10 GUI boot menu, simply click on the Windows 10 option to load your earlier / original version of Windows.

Once XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1 has loaded there are two final steps to perform:

1) Rename the Windows.XXX folder back to Windows.old. Run Disc Cleanup to remove the no longer needed Windows.old folder as this folder can consume more than 21GB of disk space.

After Disk Cleanup finishes calculating how much disk space you will be able to free up, scroll down the list of ‘Files to delete’ and place a check mark in the ‘Previous Windows installation(s)’ category. You may want to remove some of the check marks from other categories if you wish to keep certain files. Now click the ‘OK’ button and when prompted click ‘Delete Files’. The cleanup may take a few minutes to complete.

2) Remove the incorrectly labeled GUI boot menu only if you do not have a Dual Boot configuration.

If you find that you still see the GUI boot menu displayed when you turn on your PC with Windows 10 still in the menu options, don’t let this mislead you as when you click on ‘Windows 10’, whichever version of Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.0 / 8.1) you rolled back to will load.

a) Run msconfig and in the ‘Boot’ tab delete the 2nd entry (Labeled: Windows Rollback).

b) Place a check mark in the ‘No GUI boot’ box.

c) Click the ‘Apply’ button.

d) Click ‘OK’.

The next time you turn on your PC you will load Windows without the GUI menu.

That’s it, you’re finished!

 

Forum Article Info


Last updated July 22, 2019 Views 281,828 Applies to:

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Hi, I am actually trying to do this myself. The problem is, in the new build I tried this. I didn't see my Windows 7 option though, but at first I assumed that it knew that I wanted to get rid of Windows 10 completely. Apparently it didn't, and now I'm stuck with windows 10 build 9841. I have had it updated several times and tried to do the same thing again and again. I also never see this Windows 7 option. That was my operating system. I don't know what it should be doing, but when I get my computer updated I'm hoping that it will show this option again. Also, I cannot do this through settings because apparently some media is missing, which shouldn't matter, but it is still causing a problem. It also would only take me back to my other build of Windows 10 when I did it through the settings. it never took me back to Windows 7. Please help me to fix this issue!

The Rollback feature requires that there is a folder named C:\Windows.old on your disk drive.

Are you Dual Booting or you just choose to upgrade Windows 7 to the Windows 10 Preview?

J W Stuart: http://www.pagestart.com

Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

The Rollback feature requires that there is a folder named C:\Windows.old on your disk drive.

Are you Dual Booting or you just choose to upgrade Windows 7 to the Windows 10 Preview?

J W Stuart: http://www.pagestart.com

Excuse me, but if we do a clean install how will that Windows.old folder be on the disk drive?

Thank you for your attention to my question.

Above certain altitudes you never get to that distant horizon. What's your altitude?

Clarification please:

1) By "Clean Install" do you mean on a disk drive that had no previous Windows OS installed?

2) Or during the installation process you choose the "Custom" / Clean install option and there was a previous version on Windows on the drive?

J W Stuart: http://www.pagestart.com

Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

Thank you for responding.

I am considering your #1, a clean install on either a completely erased hard drive or buying a new hard drive for the unit I'll use.

I'm actually leaning toward buying a new hard drive, because the various erasing tools I'm studying seem like a real pain to use.

If you have the time to offer advice on the various factors involved in option #1, I'd appreciate your input.

Above certain altitudes you never get to that distant horizon. What's your altitude?

With option #1 since there is no previous version of Windows on the drive then the "Rollback" option is of no value since there is nothing to rollback to.

As for drive erase Tools or Utilities their are two basic drive categories.

1) Hard Disk Drives (HDD):

Some manufacture like Western Digital for example provide a utility that will "write zeros" to the drive. This will reset the drive back to its "Raw" state (The same state as when you first removed it from the box and attached it to your PC) and the drive will need to be initialized and formatted. This is not a secure erase in that data can be recovered using specialty data recovery utilities.

2) Solid State Drives (SSD):

Some but not all SSD drive manufacture include a set of utilities, one of which is a "Secure Erase" function. Using secure erase effectively erases all the content (can not be recovered) and resets the drive back to its "Raw" state.

As long as you are looking at a new hard drive there is a third party utility called CCleaner that will erase selected files using a more secure algorithm (35 passes on a single or multiple files) but it takes an extremely long time to complete.

I suggest you post a "Question" on either the Windows 7 or Windows 10 community for additional point of view and detail.

J W Stuart: http://www.pagestart.com

Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

iam not getting that windows rollback page

Try the following:

2) In the ‘Search’ box enter:   recovery options 

Then click on ‘Recovery Options’ displayed at the top of the list.

Do you see the "Go back to a previous version of Windows' option listed.

J W Stuart: http://www.pagestart.com

Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

Hi,

Is there a way of doing this without a mouse as I am unable to use mine since it beeps whenever I move it and is unresponsive.

Regards,

Matthew

Start a new thread about your mouse being unresponsive.  Then post back if you still need help on the rollback.
Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

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