While the majority of Windows updates work perfectly well and are designed to enhance your experience, there are times when an update can cause more harm than good.
Windows 7 was more lenient with updates and gave you more control over which ones you could install or ignore. However, this also meant critical updates for security could be ignored, so now for better or worse these updates are installed automatically.
If the worst should happen and a recent update is causing you trouble, this is how to uninstall that update to get your system back to the last stable version.
If you want to make sure your Windows installation runs as quickly as possible then take a look at our guide here.
How to go back to a previous version of Windows 10
Updates for Windows 10 are divided into two different types, patches and builds. Patches tend to be smaller and apply quick fixes whereas builds are much larger and more like entirely new installations of Windows. Recently Microsoft changed the way the twice-yearly Updates are delivered, so from now on they will be more like the smaller, regular updates which won't require a huge download and disruption when they're installed.
Currently, when you install a major Update Windows will keep the files required to revert your system back to your previous build. The catch here is that these files will only remain on your computer for 10 days, after that period of time they are automatically deleted.
If you’re within this 10-day period then you can follow these instructions to roll back your installation which should fix your problem:
- Open the Settings app (shortcut: Win+I)
- Click on Update & Security and then on Recovery
- Click on the ‘Get started’ button under the ‘Go back to the previous version of Windows 10’ heading
- Follow the instructions
If the Get started button is greyed out, then you are outside of the 10-day period and the required files to roll back to the previous version have already been deleted. You’ll need to reinstall Windows 10 from a full system backup that you should have saved (if you don’t have one of these we highly recommend that you get one).
How to uninstall a specific Windows update
If you want to uninstall one of the smaller updates then that is quite a bit easier to do:
- Open Settings and click on “Update & security”
- Click on “Windows Update” on the left and then on “View update history”.
- On the next screen, click on “Uninstall updates”
The Uninstall updates link is easy to miss at the top of the window:
You will then be presented with a screen showing a list of recent updates sorted by the installation date. You’ll be able to search through all of the updates using the search box at the top right, so if you have the KB number of the update that is giving you the issue you can search for that to find it quickly.
You can then select the update you want to uninstall and simply click the “Uninstall” button.
Do note that this method will only display updates that have been installed since the last build, as a new build is essentially a fresh install of Windows.
If you really don't want the latest Windows 10 feature update, here's how to block the May 2020 update.