Windows 11 is the latest in a long line of operating systems from Microsoft. Released in 2021, it has brought some major changes and improvements, with some notable ones being its ability to natively run Android apps and its Mac-like aesthetic.
But with every new major release of Windows, there are some people who just aren’t happy with some changes. Fortunately, if you’ve upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11, Microsoft allows you to roll back to the previous version of Windows with relative ease.
In this article, we’ll cover how to downgrade your system from Windows 11 to Windows 10.
Before We Get Started
Before we get into how to roll back from Windows 11 to Windows 10, there are a few things you should know.
You can only “roll back” to Windows 10 within 10 days of installing Windows 11. That’s because Windows 11 keeps the old operating system files on your computer, but only for 10 days after you upgrade.
You can also only roll back to Windows 10 if you upgraded to Windows 11 with the Windows Update or Installation Assistant. Otherwise, in order to go back to Windows 10, you’ll need to perform a fresh installation.
When you roll back to Windows 10 from Windows 11, you’ll need to reinstall some of your software, and you’ll also need to reconfigure Windows.
And finally, you should also back up your files, no matter whether you’re rolling back or going with a fresh installation of Windows 10. While a rollback should keep your files intact, it doesn’t hurt to back your data up in case tragedy strikes.
Roll Back to Windows 10
As we mentioned earlier, you can easily roll back to Windows 10 from 11 without much hassle or worry about losing your files (though you should back up your files, just in case).
To get started, you’ll need to first open up the Settings app. Right-click the Start button and choose Settings.
Once Settings is open, on the System tab, find and click on the Recovery button.
Under Recovery options, find the Go back option. Click on the Go back button at the right, and Windows will walk you through the process to roll back from Windows 10 to Windows 11.
Note: the Go back option is only present if you’ve upgraded from Windows 10. If your computer came with Windows 11, or you did a fresh installation of Windows 11, then it won’t appear, and you’ll need to do a fresh installation of Windows 10.
Do a Fresh Installation of Windows 10
No matter what your situation is, you can also always go back to Windows 10 by doing a fresh installation. This could be the only way to go if you just bought a Windows 11 machine, you did a fresh installation of Windows 11 instead of directly upgrading, or you’re just past your 10-day window from when you upgraded to Windows 11.
We mentioned this earlier, but the first and most important step is to back up your files. This is especially crucial since a fresh installation of Windows will erase all the data on your drive.
Also, if you don’t already have a Windows 10 installation disc, you’ll need to get one now. If you’re looking for the easiest way to do this, you can use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool. This will download the Windows 10 installation media for you automatically and walk you through the process.
Start by downloading the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and open it when it finishes downloading.
Once open, agree to the software license agreement by clicking Agree. Now choose Upgrade this PC now. Despite the fact that you’re actually downgrading your computer, this will prompt the tool to download Windows 10 to your PC for you to install.
Proceed through the installation wizard until you end up on the Choose what to keep window. If the Media Creation Tool skips past this screen, then just proceed as normal. If not, then select the Nothing option. Before proceeding, be sure that you’ve backed up any files you want to keep, as the next step will erase your files and start the Windows 10 installation process.
From here, your computer should download the necessary files and restart your computer to proceed through the Windows 10 installation process.
If you want to create an installation disc on a flash drive instead, you can select the Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC on the Media Creation Tool, and proceed through the wizard.
For more advanced users that want more control over the process, there’s also a free and open-source tool called Rufus. To use this, you’ll need a Windows 10 installation ISO, which you can also use the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to create.