So you jumped in right at the beginning – we admire your bravery. The chance of upgrading to Windows 11 from Day 1 was too much to resist but you have now actually decided you prefer Windows 10. That’s fine, Windows 10 will be supported until 2025 so you have plenty of time to come to terms with it. Fortunately, Microsoft has made it relatively easy to rid yourself of your centralized taskbar and head back from whence you came.
If you’re less than ten days in, don’t fret! If you’re not, you have a little bit of work to do. It’s fine though, we’re here to see you through it.
There are multiple ways to do this, but if you have any data on the Windows 11 machine that you’d like to save before rolling back to Windows 10, please, please, back it up. I don’t mean onto another internal drive, get an external one and throw as much onto it as you can. Store it in the cloud. I don’t care, just back up.
Roll back to Windows 10
The easiest method is to simply roll back, the only issue is that you’ll need to be within 10 days of installing Windows 11.
Within Windows, whenever you update, there’s a Windows.old file that sits within your files. This contains the previous version of Windows, which your PC will unpack and reinstall based on these files if you ever have to remove an update from your system.
However, Windows actually tends to delete this around every 10 days its on the system to purge a large amount of storage it takes up. This is why to roll back to the prior version of Windows, you’re going to need to do it within this timeframe.
In Windows 11, head down to your taskbar and search for Settings or System, this will bring up the first page of the Settings app that we’re going to need to use.
You can even hit right click on the Start button to find a quick shortcut if you’re lazy – like me!
Scroll down until you see Recovery. Click in to be greeted by various options to do with fixing the PC via software.
We want to choose ‘Previous version of Windows’, hit go back.
Reinstall Windows 10
Okay, you messed up and missed the 10 day period. That’s fine, don’t worry. All Windows requires you to do now is delete everything. See why I told you to back up first?
First, we need to head to Microsoft’s website that contains the Windows 10 Installation Media Tool.
Download Windows 10 ISO
Choose which path you want to go down (we’re going ISO). Follow the instructions, it’ll download and place a .iso file wherever you instructed it to.
Right-click the ISO to mount it, this will put it on a virtual disk drive. After this in This PC, double click the ISO.
Inside the ISO
Double click to see the contents and hit set up, wait for it to do its thing.
Windows 10 Fresh Install
Because of how Windows operates between versions, the latest is backwards compatible with everything, but going back doesn’t work the same. So let’s get fresh, you don’t get any other options.
Windows will then do its thing and install, leaving you back in a newly installed version of Windows 10 to suffer through the Cortana guide. Remember to mute!
USB Method - No BIOS
There’s two methods to this, one requires you to enter the BIOS and the other you can do directly within Windows 11, just like the with ISO – the benefit is that you now have neat little USB drive for whenever you need to reinstall Windows 10!
USB Drive Set Up
Get your USB flash drive – don’t take the 8GB thing lightly. You’ll want at least 16GB, just to cover you properly.
Launch Media Tool
Once again, we’re using the Windows 10 Installation Media Tool.
Turn the USB into a boot device
Let it install and download everything to the USB drive, this will format it.
Ding, your flash drive is done!
Once it’s done, hit the finish button and let’s get into it.
Head to the USB
In This PC, click through to your USB drive’s directory.
Running Windows 10 Installer off of USB
The same setup mentioned above with the ISO will be there, click and follow the Wizard.
Fresh Install for USB
Again, you’ll only be able to install fresh.
Windows 10 will begin to install once again and you’re off to the races!
This next set of steps does require you to have already made a Boot USB using the steps above.
Installing via the BIOS
If you’re in need of installing via the BIOS, basically bypassing Windows 11 and installing Windows 10 straight onto the machine, you’ll want to hit F2 or DEL (sometimes Shift+F2 or Shift+DEL) as soon as the PC boots up. Basically, as soon as you hit the power button, just press either one a bunch of times until you see the BIOS.
Change the boot order
Each brand has their own unique layouts for their BIOS, but you should navigate to the Boot Priority list (we’re using ASUS) and move the USB Stick up the ranks to the top spot, following the Windows 10 installation process as usual.