Microsoft Windows 11 is here, and the company’s updated operating system promises a range of new features and design tweaks aimed at modernizing the user experience. However, as with almost all major software revisions, there will inevitably be those who prefer the comfortable familiarity of existing software that they have known over the years.
Windows 10 will be retired in October 2025, at which point the operating system will no longer be officially supported. While users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Windows as soon as reasonably possible, they still have a few years before it becomes a security issue, and many will likely stick with their current operating system until that moment.
But what if you’ve already upgraded to Windows 11 and decided it’s not for you? Fortunately, Microsoft lets you change your mind, and going back to Windows 10 is quick and easy, as long as you don’t wait too long.
Microsoft gives you a fairly small window to choose to go back to Windows 10: just ten days. After that, you can still switch from Windows 11 to Windows 10, but you may decide it’s more trouble than it’s worth, and you’ll learn to love the upgrade instead. After all, you can make Windows 11 look a lot more like Windows 10 if you want to.
If time is running out in your decision window, here’s how to switch from Windows 11 to Windows 10.
How to switch from Windows 11 to Windows 10 in the first ten days
If you’ve just upgraded to Windows 11 and decided it’s not for you, the journey back to Windows 10 is pretty easy. Just keep in mind that any changes you’ve made to Windows in the intervening time, from configuration settings to installed software, won’t carry over.
1. Press the Home button , and then select the Settings icon on your pinned apps. If you can’t see it there, just type “Settings” in the search box at the top and click the familiar cogwheel icon when it appears.
2. You will automatically find yourself in the ‘System’ submenu. Scroll down to near the bottom of the list and click “Recovery.”
3. Click “Back”: It is the third option in the list.
4. To your credit, Microsoft won’t try to blame you for staying, but you can give some honest feedback if you’d like. Otherwise, just check a random box and press “Next”.
5. As a last ditch attempt to talk you out of running a rollback, Microsoft warns that installing the latest Windows 11 updates can fix any issues that prompt you to go back to the previous version. If you’re still sure you want to continue, just press “No Thanks”.
6. We’re almost there! Microsoft will warn you that anything you have changed will not carry over. It also advises you to back up your files; these shouldn’t be affected, but you can never be too careful. Hit “Next” when you’re ready.
7. The system will then remind you that you will need to know the password you used to sign in to your previous Windows 10 installation to sign in again after the rollback is complete. I understand? Click “Next” again.
8. On the final confirmation page, press “Go back to Windows 10” and the downgrade process will begin. Make sure you don’t turn off your PC, and if you’re on a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in.
How to switch from Windows 11 to Windows 10 if the rollback period has been missed
If you’ve spent more than ten days with Windows 11, Microsoft assumes you’re happy with your choice and closes this particular door, locking the option instead:
But what if you’re not? Well, there are two more options to switch from Windows 11 to Windows 10, but they are quite dramatic and you might decide to stick with what you have.
If you’re comfortable with command prompts, you can try this command-line tool from Microsoft, which lets you modify the number of days the downgrade window stays open. Once modified, simply follow the same steps as above.
If that sounds too much like black magic, the alternative is a fresh install of Windows 10, which is very much the nuclear option. Make sure to back up all your files, and then download Windows 10 from Microsoft and install it on a USB stick in the usual way.
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