Easily Rollback from Windows 10 to Windows 8.1

You were excited. You jumped onto Windows 10 as soon as it was ready to install.

After the upgrade, you started using it and now you are……disappointed. It doesn’t feel quite as touch friendly as Windows 8.1 and it feels a bit like a desktop OS with touch features just tacked on.

It’s OK that you don’t like it. Windows 10 is a big change from Windows 8.1 and some people feel that Windows 8.1 is a far superior operating system for a touch devices like the Surface tablets. But, what can you do now? You’ve already done the upgrade. Are you stuck with Windows 10?

No, you are not. It turns out that Microsoft built a mechanism into Windows 10 to allow you to easily rollback to Windows 8.1. But, you’d better hurry. You only have about 30 days from the time you performed the upgrade to do it.


IMPORTANT: You will lose the applications you’ve installed since upgrading to Windows 10. Your data should be preserved by the rollback process but you should backup all your data files as a precaution. My motto: “always have backups”.

Rollback to Windows 8.1: How To Do It

There are a few things you can do before you begin the rollback to ensure it goes smoothly and you don’t lose anything important:

  • Make sure your notebook has a full battery before trying the rollback.
  • Make sure you remember what your username and password was in Windows 8.1 (it should be the same as it is now but this could be a concern if you changed accounts since then).
  • Make sure your data is backed up to an external hard drive and/or OneDrive.
  • If you don’t already have one, make sure you make a USB Recovery Drive (we’re not going to do anything with it in this process but it’s good to have, just in case).

Once you’ve addressed the items above, you can perform the actual rollback to Windows 8.1 by following these steps:

  • Plug your Surface into power if it’s not already.
  • Swipe in from the right of the screen to being up the Action Center. Tap the All Settings ButtonRollback1
  • When the Settings window appears, select Update and Security.Rollback2
  • The Update and Security screen will open. Select the Recovery tab.Rollback3
  • From there, all you have to do to start the rollback is tap on the Get Started button under the Go Back To Windows 8.1 section and follow the instructions. They will lead you through the process.Rollback4

Be aware that it will take a bit of time (20 minutes or more) so be patient.

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