There was plenty of excitement surrounding the Windows 11 announcement in late June, but it was tinged with disappointment. Microsoft’s new OS isn’t expected to be officially released for months, and you’ll be waiting even longer for a free upgrade from Windows 10.
Therefore, it should come as little surprise that many people have gone ahead and downloaded the Windows 11 beta, which became available just a few days after the launch event.
Anyone with a compatible device can sign up to the ‘Dev’ channel of the Windows Insider Program and download it – it's been impressively stable so far. However, as a very early build, bugs and other issues are still likely.
If you’re unhappy with your Windows 11 experience so far, there are ways to roll your device back to Windows 10. It’s much easier if you do this soon after installing the beta, but it’s still possible after that.
How to downgrade Windows 11 to Windows 10 within first 10 days
If you’ve tried out the Windows 11 beta for a few days but want to go back to Windows 10, you’re in luck. Microsoft allowed you to roll back Windows 10 to previous versions within 10 days of installing it, and an FAQ article from laptop manufacturer MSI suggests that’ll be the case again.
Here’s the simple method for downgrading from the Windows 11 beta to Windows 10:
- Open Settings and make sure the ‘System’ tab is selected
- Scroll down and select the ‘Recovery’ option
- Under ‘Recovery options’, you should see a ‘Previous version of Windows’ section. Click ‘Go back’ to get started
- From the window that appears, choose any of the options and click ‘Next’
- When prompted to check for updates, click ‘No, thanks’
- Click next from the following two screens and then ‘Go back to earlier build’ to get the process started
All your existing settings and files should be unaffected, but it’s worth backing up your PC first to make sure.
Microsoft has updated the hardware requirements for Windows 11, but these don’t apply during this testing phase. You might find you’ll be unable to install the final version when it arrives, although there is a workaround.
How to downgrade Windows 11 to Windows 10 after 10 days
However, while the 10-day period is expected in the final version of Windows 11, it’s more erratic in these early builds. If you find yourself unable to roll back to Windows 10 using the method above, there is another way.
It involves a full reinstallation of Windows 10, although this is more complicated than it sounds. However, you’ll need to do a backup first – this process will only work with a clean installation.
- Head to the Windows 10 download page on the Microsoft website
- Under ‘Create Windows 10 installation media’, click ‘Download tool now’
- Once complete, click the downloaded file to open it
- From the ‘Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device?’ pop-up, select ‘Yes’
- The Windows 10 Setup window will now appear. After a few seconds, click ‘Accept’ to agree to the terms and conditions
- The ‘Getting a few things ready’ screen will show for a few seconds. From the next screen, select ‘Upgrade this PC now’ and click ‘Next’
- The latest version of Windows 10 will now be downloaded. You can still use your PC in the meantime
- Once the download is complete, click ‘Next’ and then ‘Accept’ from the following screen
- From the ‘Choose what to keep’ screen, make sure you select ‘Nothing’, then 'Next’ once again
- You’ll now be on the ‘Ready to install’ page. Click ‘Install’ to begin the process, but be warned: there’s no going back from here
Once this process is complete, you’ll need to follow the steps as if you’re using the device for the first time. This won’t take too long, and you should be up and running with the latest version of Windows 10 within a few minutes.
Of course, the other option is to install Windows from a USB. This is preferable if you want to reinstall Windows 10 on multiple devices, as it’ll only need to be downloaded once.