Windows 10 has been installing itself on PCs with Windows 7 or 8.1. If you want to stick with a previous version of Windows, you can in a few easy steps.
On July 29, 2016, Microsoft will stop offering free upgrades to Windows 10. The company’s attempts to get Windows 7 and 8.1 users onboard have become increasingly, shall we say, enthusiastic. When you are confronted with the pop-up window telling you that Microsoft has taken the liberty of scheduling an upgrade, it’s disappointingly difficult to figure out how to block the process. Can you spot it in the image below?
(Credit: Tom’s Hardware)
Give up? It’s the word “here,” a hard-to-spot link in “Click here to change upgrade schedule or cancel scheduled upgrade.” Furthermore, if you click the X in the upper right-hand corner to close the window, this does not cancel the upgrade; it just tells Windows to try again later.
To stop Windows 10 updates, our original article below has the tips you need. You can also find out how to reschedule or cancel the Windows 10 update on Microsoft’s squint-inducing support page.
Microsoft is committed to the rapid spread of Windows 10, which most home users of Windows 7 or 8.1 can get for free until July 29, 2016. If you’re resisting the switch, a recent change to Windows Update can overrule you. This built-in patching tool has reclassified the free Windows 10 update from “optional” to “recommended,” and by default, Windows 7 and 8.1 automatically install “recommended” updates. Users are now booting up their PCs to find Windows 10 on it, which they have not explicitly asked for or had the option to say no to.
Luckily, you can roll back to Windows 7 without hacker wizard tricks. But even if you’ve kept the upgrade at bay, Microsoft may still throw up pop-up windows about Windows 10. You can block those, too.
As long as the update to Windows 10 has happened within the last 30 days, you can revert surprisingly easily. We recommend making a backup copy of Windows 10 before you get started, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong. Also, be aware that any apps you’ve installed since the Windows 10 update will need to be reinstalled after you revert to Windows 7 or 8.1.
Tap your Windows key and type “settings” (without the quotes) to get a link to the Settings tool. Click that and double-click Update & Security, which should be listed at the end. Select Recovery in the left-hand pane. You’ll see a list of recovery options, including Go Back to Windows 7 (or Go Back to Windows 8.1, if that was your most recent version). Click the Get Started button. The process duration depends on the speed of your PC — it could take a half hour or more.
If you’re open to the idea of using Windows 10 but don’t want to take the leap yet, you’ll need to change a setting in Windows Update to prevent the upgrade from happening automatically. In Windows 7 or 8.1, press the Windows key and type “Windows update” (without the quotes). Click that option in the search results. If it’s not in your results, type “control panel” to open the Control Panel, which contains the Windows Update tool.
Open the tool and click the Change Settings link in the left-hand pane. Then uncheck the box next to “Give me recommended updates the same way I receive important updates.” Click the OK button at lower right to save your changes and close the window.