Windows 10: How to return to Windows 7 or 8

Windows 10 gives you 31 days to go back to your prior Windows version. Whether you've changed your mind or you were forced into the upgrade, here's how to get your old life back.

You have to hand it to Windows 10: It may have tricked you into upgrading, but it does let you downgrade back to Windows 7 or 8. But you have to hurry!

The first thing to know, especially if you’re a procrastinator, is that you have 31 days after a Windows 10 upgrade to go back to your prior version of Windows. This may be confusing because Windows itself says you have “a month,” but I checked with Microsoft, so it’s official: You have exactly 31 days. So don’t mess around. Downgrade now if that’s your plan. Here’s how it works.

Go to the Start menu and select Settings. Scroll down a little and select Update & Security.

Select Recovery, and there you’ll see an option for “Go back to Windows 8.1.” Note that it says right underneath, “This option is only available for a month after you upgrade to Windows 10.”

Click the “Get started” button, and Windows will start the downgrade process. The time it takes to return will vary depending on your system.

Isn’t it nice when you can undo your mistakes? If you have another Windows mistake you’d like to roll back, tell us about it at