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Going back to Windows 7 from a Windows 8 upgrade requires a full system reinstall - unless you have an image backup prior to the upgrade.

I downloaded Windows 8 and I don't like it. How can I get back to Windows 7?

In this excerpt from Answercast #93 I look at the only way to go back from an operating system upgrade - and that is to use a full image backup taken before the upgrade.

Go back to Windows 7?

Well, unfortunately, you are not going to like the answer. The answer is:

  • Reformat your machine;

  • Reinstall Windows 7 and all of your applications from scratch.

There is no uninstall of an operating system. There is no going back.

That's true for the XP to Vista; Vista to 7; 7 to 8. They were all the same way. There's no way to roll back an operating system installation.

Backup image

Now, there is one way that could have worked - if you had done it prior to installing Windows 8.

That is - if you have a system image backup taken immediately prior to installing Windows 8, you could restore to that backup and get your machine back to the state it was in before you did the Windows 8 upgrade. Without that kind of a backup the only solution, that I'm aware of, is to grab your Windows 7 installation media and to install Windows 7 from scratch.

And for the record, you should absolutely back up your Windows 8 installation first - because you don't know what you might want later that might be erased by the Windows 7 reformat and reinstall.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6302 - February 9, 2013 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

February 12, 2013 11:40 AM

Win 8 is alot like Win 7 if you ditch the start screen, and remember to use alt+F4 to close the stupid full screen apps like IE10, Music, etc. I use ClassicShell to bypass the Start screen so I don't even see it, and ClassicShell also adds the StartMenu pearl to the taskbar in Desktop, making Win8 even easier to navigate.

Hansi Schoenauer
February 19, 2013 7:02 PM

Windows 8 itself is as solid as widows 7 the only
thing they missfired is the start menue thanks to
an ingeneering burb. They should have given us a choice so we could switch either or.
Since I have installed ClasicShell I love it.

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