Windows 8: Can I Return to My Previous Version of Windows? Not Exactly

Windows 8: Can I Return to My Previous Version of Windows? Not ExactlyMicrosoft claims that, in the first three days after the release of its new Windows 8 operating system, over four million copies have already been purchased. The number is impressive, especially considering the fact that the normal user has not had an opportunity to see the new Windows 8 operating system, which is touch-enabled, in action. It’s hoped that this will not create an issue for those with older computers. I say this because on Monday evening, October 29, 2012, a friend who had purchased Windows 8 asked me if he could revert back to Windows 7 if he didn’t like Windows 8.

This made me wonder how many of those who bought, or were contemplating buying, Windows 8 might wish to know the answer to this question. To find a definitive answer, I went to Microsoft’s Windows 8 website where the first two words spoke volumes about the odds of you reverting back to a previous version of Windows. Those two words were: “Not exactly.” Microsoft then went on to state:

“The version of Windows that you had on your PC before you upgraded won’t be there anymore. To get it back, you’ll need to reinstall the previous version of Windows from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC. Typically, this is on a DVD.

If you don’t have recovery media, you might be able to create it before you upgrade from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer’s website for more info. Be sure that you have this recovery disk before you upgrade, because after you install Windows 8, you won’t be able to use the recovery partition to create a recovery disk.”

Many of you who are reading this article may be wondering what the problem is — and for the experienced user, it won’t be. However, for newer or less experienced users, there are a few issues that could surface. First, for those users, it is not uncommon for them to miss the fact that anyone buying a new computer system should make recovery disks. Second, these same users may not realize the importance of making and keeping adequate backups of their data. Without both of these recovery systems in place, they could be in trouble.

You may be asking yourself why I even bothered to write this article, since the information sounds like child’s play. Well, my main purpose was so that you, the above-average user, would take the time to advise your family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, or whoever of the potential pitfalls that could happen and then to advise them on how to revert back to a more familiar desktop environment if they need to do so. I don’t know about you, but it always amazes me how people who have been using Windows for many years lack what we consider basic knowledge of how Windows works. These folks may become dependent on your expertise to assist them in making an informed decision on whether or not to upgrade.

To further explain, let me go on to say that, in a recent survey conducted by phone, over 50% of the consumers surveyed had no idea that Windows 8 had even become available or what changes Microsoft has made to the operating system. However, with all of Microsoft’s advertising, I am sure that it won’t be long before the knowledge is widespread. Then, once consumers do become aware that a new operating system is available, it will be all of our responsibilities to assist these people in determining if Windows 8 will be right for them. That responsibility will include not just assisting them with an install, but could also include which flavor of Windows 8 they should choose: Windows 8, Pro, Enterprise, or RT.

This means that you, if you like to be considered a guru in the computer field, will want to have the answers so that you can share your expertise about Windows 8. This expertise translates into power. If you have any tidbits on returning to a previous version of Windows, please add your bits of wisdom as I am sure that many newbies would appreciate it.

Comments are welcome.

Image: Microsoft

Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • ron

    i installed win 8 on a dual boot pc and although i cant get back to xp i can get back to win 7

  • butlerpm247

    Why would anyone choose an older version of Windows? I love Windows 8!

  • Michael Massaro

    That phone survey was a landline phone survey of about 2000 people. The fact that 50% of those people actually knew about Windows 8 is not too bad, 😉.

  • Michael Massaro

    That phone survey was a landline phone survey of about 2000 people. The fact that 50% of those people actually knew about Windows 8 is not too bad, 😉.

  • GraveDigger27

    If you think there’s a chance that you might consider going back to an earlier version of Windows the best method is to make sure that you have a recent disk image of your previous setup – I made a full backup of my laptop (including the recovery, OS and Data partitions) before I considered installing Windows 8.

    My technique was to create a 2nd OS partition on the hard disk and do a clean install of Windows 8 on that partition (creating a dual-boot system). I used a 3rd party tool to resize the original OS and Data partitions and created a separate partition between the two for Windows 8 (keeping Windows 7 as a bootable option). If I decide in the future to replace Windows 7 completely (as I’ve found some programs that are NOT compatible with Windows 8) I will restore the original system from the disk image I have on an external hard disk and then do an upgrade installation of Windows 8…

  • LaurenLCD

    If you do nothing else: backup your programs, files, and version of Windows 7 (if you made an ISO file of your CD – highly recommended) at the very least on a second/third partition. If you don’t like Windows 8, you won’t lose anything and you’ll still have 7 to go back to.

  • durango9

    I bought the online version of windows 8. Unfortunately IE9 did not
    work on my PC so I couldn`t get on line to fix the problem. I called
    windows # and was connected to some A**hole in India who didn`t know
    Shit from Shinola. Since I can`t get a refund, I hope Bill gates or whoever
    has my money is happy, Because Mac here I come. Enough of this Microsoft crap.

  • Larry C

    Why would anyone upgrade to Win 8 if you have a perfectly good working Win7 installation?

    • Derek Thomas Lirio

      Thank you. I, personally, run a business, perfectly fine, from Windows 7. Sure, people buying newer computers might have Windows 8, but I’m perfectly fine, with 7. I will see a huge increase in profits though, when all those, who just HAD to upgrade, call me to fix their self imposed problems. I love the release of a new OS, it’s so profitable.

  • Ron Brunton

    I installed Win8 and discovered a problem with the desktop. The screen would “refresh” approximately every 30 seconds. Not only was this an annoying screen flash/flicker, but the action also closed any Windows Explorer window that might be open, including Control Panel. This was more than annoying. I decided to reinstall Win7.

    I started tying to “upgrade” to Win7 in order to keep settings, but received a message that this couldn’t be done and therefore I’d have to do a clean install. I then booted from my Win& Pro DVD, selected “Custom” install and when it came to selecting the disk/drive for the installation, saw a message that “Windows 7 cannot be installed on this drive.” Additional information indicated that the disk organization had changed to one that was incompatible with Win7. I can’t recall the terms used. In the end, I had to use a Linux boot DVD, delete the “old” partition that held Win8, repartition and reformat that partition and the reinstall Win7. Fortunately, I do have all my data backed up, so I only lost time.

    Given the change in basic disk structure, it would be interesting to know whether a disk image could be restored.