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How to manually revert to Windows 7 from Windows 10?

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#1 jfoust


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Posted 11 November 2015 - 02:14 PM

I'd like to perform a manual revert to Windows 7.

An elderly client accidentally upgraded what I believe was Windows 7 Home to Windows 10. This was within the last week, and Windows.OLD is still there, but “Go back to Windows 7” is not an option.

(Yes, he was the only user, and he was an admin. For some reason, Windows 10 says it's the Pro edition now. I don't know why. I don't understand why “Go back to Windows 7” isn't present. Client doesn't know what he did, nor what options he selected along the way. Yes, a clean reinstall could be done, but returning to the old setup saves about four hours of other reinstalls and setups.)

Microsoft has a KB971760 "How to restore a Windows 7-based computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder".

I'd like to confirm that this same process would work from Windows 10 to Windows 7.

If anyone has a pointer to a similar Windows 10 to Windows 7 guide, I'd appreciate it.

Another answer might be a way to install the “Go back to Windows 7” functionality. What's under that hood?

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#2 RolandJS


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Posted 11 November 2015 - 02:50 PM

I take it there are no restorable backups?  I saw the word pro, I'm wondering if he previously had Windows 7 Pro version.  You might have to go onto Microsoft's Windows 7 and Windows 10 web sites and hunt for a roll-back program, utility or instructions that will help you.

"Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee."  -- Ben Franklin revisited.


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Clone or Image often! Backup... -- RockE (WSL)

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#3 cmptrgy


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Posted 11 November 2015 - 03:38 PM

It doesn’t appear to me that “Microsoft has a KB971760 "How to restore a Windows 7-based computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder".” applies to reverting Windows 10 back to Windows 7.


According to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/upgrade-to-windows-10-faq

Win7 Starter, Win7 Home Basic and Win7 HP users will receive Win10 Home.


Refer to Windows 10 - Go Back to Previous Windows


If that doesn’t help


This has worked very well for me each time I’ve used it

Advanced Startup Options - Boot to in Windows 10


To get things started, press and hold the off button to force the computer to shut down at least twice.

A couple if times it took me 4 forced shutdowns.

The idea is it will help you get into the advanced startup options

#4 usasma


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Posted 11 November 2015 - 07:16 PM

The times that I've seen the revert function missing has been in older, well-used systems.
I'd suggest trying to boot from W10 Startup Repair media to see if the revert option is there.

I'd suggest that you then try looking here: http://winsupersite.com/windows-10/how-revert-back-your-previous-os-after-windows-10-upgrade


I'm not aware of any specific changes that would make the procedure in KB971760 not work - but haven't researched it.

If you do attempt this, it may work - or you may hose the startups (and if you move/delete you may hose things also).

Do not delete or move anything - only copy.  That way you'll have a backup to revert to if things go badly.

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#5 jfoust

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Posted 14 November 2015 - 08:32 PM

I booted on a Windows 10 CD, and "Advanced Options / Go back to previous build" only showed Windows 10 as a choice, and then it failed with an unstated error. 


I tried the KB971760 technique and it didn't work. The Windows.old folder didn't include a ProgramData. The Windows 10 "Recovery" screen still appeared, with an error about winload.exe is 0xc000000f. I tried booting on a Windows 7 CD at that point, auto repair didn't work (it showed two Windows 10 installations, one was "Pro", I selected regular), and bootrec /fixMBR, bootrec /fixboot, bootrec /rebuildbcd didn't cure it either.  


I was able to reverse it and Windows 10 started.

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