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Using System Images to Rollback from Windows 10

Now that Microsoft has all but shoved the Windows 10 upgrade down our collective throats, some users are finding that they are just not satisfied with the new format. Software incompatibility, missing functionality and system lag are just some of the problems that have been reported by users of the new operating system. Thankfully for those who are already fed up with their Windows 10 experience, Microsoft does support the ability to rollback to your previous Windows environment.

Planning Ahead

In order to make this process as smooth and efficient as possible, you really needed to make an image of your primary drive before making the upgrade to Windows 10. For those who are not familiar with a system or drive image, this is simply a complete snapshot of your drive's current state, including necessary operating system data and all of your personal files. Creating this before going forward with Microsoft's upgrade makes short work of the rollback process.

Believe it or not, the process of creating a drive image is pretty straightforward in both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Microsoft has made it easy through their built-in System Image tool, although the exact location of the service varies depending on your exact operating system. To find it, simply perform a Windows search, launch the software and follow the on-screen prompts.

Restoring the Image

Now it's time to restore your drive image and the previous operating system it contains. From Windows 10, press the Windows Key + I and immediately click on "Update & security." Next, select "Recovery" and then "Restart now," which can be found underneath the "Advanced start-up" section. From there, simply follow the on-screen instructions to restore your drive to its previous state.

It is important to note, however, that this process will erase any data that has been added to the drive since your Windows 10 installation, including any new personal files. Since the process of rolling back via a system image effectively returns you drive to a previous time and date, anything that has been added after that date will not be recovered. This can be circumvented by backing up any new files that have been added to your drive since Windows 10 was installed.

Microsoft's Built-In Rollback Options

Users who are new to Windows 10 have another option when it comes to restoring their previous operating system, but it's only available for 30 days after you've made the upgrade. This is useful for those who did not make a system image beforehand.

All Hope Is Not Lost

As you can see by now, the process of rolling back to your previous Windows OS from a fresh install of Windows 10 isn't as scary as it seems. For those of you who planned for this contingency ahead of time, it simply requires a little bit of forethought, a few clicks of your mouse and some time. Those of you who did not take the time to make a full system image beforehand aren't completely out of luck, but you'll definitely have to jump through a few more hoops in order to restore your preferred version of Windows.


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