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Article ID: 971762 - Last Review: October 24, 2011 - Revision: 7.0

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INTRODUCTION

In certain scenarios you may need to revert from your Windows 7 installation back to your previous operating system. This article discusses how to do that for several installation scenarios. 

MORE INFORMATION

To revert back to your previous Operating system, select the option below that represents the way you installed Windows 7, and then follow the steps for that scenario to revert back to your previous operating system.

Note: If you currently have Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 installed, the uninstall steps are the same as with Windows 7 without any service packs installed.


Scenario 1: You installed Windows 7 as a new installation over an earlier version of Windows

You used the Windows 7 installation media to install Windows 7 to the same hard disk drive on which you had Windows XP, Windows Vista, or another version of Windows 7 installed.

Note This Scenario applies when upgrading to Windows 7 using both the Upgrade media and the Full product media.

In this scenario, the Windows 7 installation will have created a Windows.old folder that contains your previous operating system and personal files. This Windows.old folder is in the root of the Windows partition. To revert to this previous operating system, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
971760  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971760/ ) How to restore a Windows 7-based computer to a previous Windows installation by using the Windows.old folder
Important Reverting to a previous operating system by using the Windows.old folder does not keep any files or settings from the current installation of Windows 7. Reverting to the previous operating system will restore the computer back to the previous installation at the time that Windows 7 was installed. For more information about how to back up your data, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
971759  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971759/ ) How to back up your data on a Windows-based computer

Scenario 2: You installed Windows 7 on a computer that did not have an operating system installed

In this scenario, you used the installation media to install Windows 7 to an empty hard disk drive.

In this scenario, there is no previous operating system to which you can revert. If you want to back up your computer and transfer the data from this Windows 7 installation to your next operating system, follow these steps:
  1. Back up your data to a network location or removable media. For more information about how to back up your data, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    971759  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971759/ ) How to back up your data on a Windows-based computer
  2. Insert the Windows XP or Windows Vista installation media, and then install the Windows operating system.

    For more information about how to perform a clean install of Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    316941  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/316941/ ) How to install or upgrade to Windows XP
    For more information about how to perform a clean install of Windows Vista, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    918884  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918884/ ) How to install Windows Vista
  3. Complete the installation.
  4. Restore, transfer, or copy your data to the new operating system after the installation has completed

Scenario 3: You upgraded from Windows Vista to Windows 7

On a Windows Vista-based computer, you inserted the Windows 7 installation media and selected the Upgrade option. Then, you upgraded from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Note This Scenario applies when upgrading to Windows 7 using both the Upgrade media and the Full product media.

In this scenario, there is no previous operating system to which you can revert. If you want to back up your computer and transfer the data from this Windows 7 installation to your next operating system, follow the steps that are listed in Scenario 2.

Note The only Microsoft-supported upgrade scenario is from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Scenario 4: You have a multi-boot system that has Windows 7 installed

You installed Windows 7 on a separate partition, and kept the earlier version of Windows on your computer. To uninstall Windows 7 from this multi-boot system, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Uninstall-Windows-7-on-a-multi-boot-system (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Uninstall-Windows-7-on-a-multiboot-system)
For more information about multi-boot system, please visit the following Microsoft Web sites:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Install-more-than-one-operating-system-multi-boot (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Install-more-than-one-operating-system-multiboot)

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Can-I-have-more-than-one-operating-system-on-my-computer-multi-boot (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/Can-I-have-more-than-one-operating-system-on-my-computer-multiboot)

MORE INFORMATION

If you need help about how to install, reinstall, or uninstall Windows, visit the following Microsoft Web site:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/install-reinstall-uninstall (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/help/install-reinstall-uninstall)

APPLIES TO
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows 7 Home Basic
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
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kbexpertisebeginner kbinfo kbsurveynew kbhowto KB971762
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