How to rollback Windows 10 after 10 days limit

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.


  1. Bob Peter

    I can’t find file $Windows.~WS. Can find $Windows~BT and windows.old. Pls help

  2. They are hidden folders. Open Folder Option and set Windows to set show them.

  3. Mick

    Might have to do that on my Acer Aspire S3 Series since Windows 10 is excruciatingly slow and I can’t seem to find any solution 🙁

  4. Ed

    Your problem might be with Acer, I just recovered one for a friend and the bloatware they put on their systems is unreal because Windows 10 is not slow by any means, unless you are running it with the minimum or below the required ram.

  5. Abu Taufan

    Hi, after I roll back to Win 8.1, can I re-install Win 10 again?

  6. Vince Thor

    Same here, couldn’t find $Windows.~WS. Did find the other 2 files, went to c: drive, checked Hidden Items, then, clicked View, Options, clicked Change Folders & Search Options, unchecked all hide options, still couldn’t find $Windows.~WS, found $Recycle.Bin, please help ?

  7. I think if you used Media Creation Tool to upgrade it creates one of these folders (I think $Windows.~WS) and if you upgraded using the Get Windows 10 app, it uses the other folder (I think $Windows~BT). So if only one exists, just rename that one only. You see both on my PC because I had tried both options.

  8. jensenjs

    Easy now 🙂
    I had to remove my earplugs and glasses 😉 as I read the last part of your EXCELLENT writings.

    I guess you are overexcited by the success congratulations, I have known many who was/is very unsatisfied with W8/8.1 mainly because of the missing startmenu and the Metro interface, with which I of-course installed “Classic Shell”.

    I have have installed many W8/8.1 machines this way, and all the way around, it has been a success, only a few driver problems and that is to blame the HW developers who did not in time made their new drivers, but W8/8.1 is far the fastest Windows I have experienced, and I have tried them all except “ME”

    I had W10 developers edition (preview) since the start of the program, and to the 10240 build, then a restore from W10 went wrong and it didn’t create the boot section.

    But my experience with W10 has from the start been that it uses far more resources than W8/8.1 but as you I was also excited over W10, but also W10 has it’s drawbacks, but not much.

    Congratulations with your new W10 🙂

  9. Vince Thor

    I did a Registry change for OS Upgrade to AllowOSUpgrade directly, checked Win Update, a huge update was waiting, it took 3-4 hrs to download & another 1 hr for Upgrade in 3 phases. I had Win 8 pre-installed on my Dell Laptop, last year upgraded to Win 8.1, now, as specified by your Site ( it worked.

    I followed this Process :

    Get the Windows 10 Upgrade immediately

    But if you are in a hurry and want to upgrade right away, you can do the following:

    Run regedit to open Registry Editor and navigate to the following key:


    Create a new 32-bit DWORD with name AllowOSUpgrade and give it a value 0x00000001. If this key does not exist, create it.

    Close Regedit and restart your computer.

    Now open Control Panel > Windows Update and check for updates.

    You should see the Get Started button. Click on it to start your to upgrade to Windows 10 right away.

  10. Mick

    I can see a lot of bloatware there, have removed some in the past but still in doubt as to the rest of it, same stuff was running much more smoothly on Windows 7 though.

  11. Mackenzie

    Before you do that, get your Windows 10 product key by downloading a product key finder called Belarc Advisor. This is to be on the safe side if it requires a product key when reinstalling. If you do a clean install of Win10, that is what you might need. Once you upgrade to Win10 and have the product key, then it probably won’t require you to input a key. Get the key from the program just to be safe. Once you have your key, you are good to go.

  12. Vince Thor

    Thanks @jensenjs:disqus, When I bought a new Dell Laptop some 1 & half years back, I had to buy a Win 8 pre-installed, later updated to Win 8.1, it was very difficult, as I was addicted to Start Menu & Win 8’s new Metro UI with Apps was very difficult to understand, it was good for Tablets, Phablets & Mobiles, NOT FOR DESKTOPS & LAPTOPS.
    To tell you the truth, I had accidently uninstalled a major program, later on had to request for a new license.
    I had started using Windows OS in the year 1998 from Win 95/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/8.1 & now Win 10.
    Till Win 7, I got addicted to Start Menu, but, Win 8 was good on security but with Start Menu gone, I was completely lost, still managed somehow, I put my Laptop in my Cupboard.
    Removed the Dust from my Old HP Desktop, Updated its Hardware, changed its CPU Processor, RAM, Hard Disk, Power Supply Unit & DVD Drive, checked with my Friend, she had a License & CD for Win 7 Professional. She changed her Company, but, Win 7 OS License & CD, were in her name, but, she had to move to another City. I then, got Win 7 Professional, was quite happy, then, last month remembered that I had a Win 8.1 Laptop, read that I could Upgrade to Win 10.
    Well, I have used many OS, on Virtual Machine on Win XP & Win 7, I believe Apple Mac is good for Designers’ with Look & Feel, Linux & its Flavors good for Developers’ & Windows with its MS Office & numerous other softwares’ is good for Business.

  13. jensenjs

    There’s no need to use third part programs to recover the productkey.

    Use Commandprompt (CMD)

    type cmd
    choose run as administrator

    and then type

    wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey

  14. jensenjs

    Yeps, I got it from you, but didn’t recall the link 🙂

  15. Cap'_'n dread

    I find increased fan noise with win 10as well, even though i have solid state drive

  16. Cap'_'n dread

    I upgraded my two drives one from win7 the otehr from win 8.1 pro. Both drives, when win 10 installed acted weird, the metro screen failed apps failed, systems were slow and erratic to boot and it got worse, so i tried to rollback, but then my malwarebytes premium and home office and student 2010 became corrupted and i tried numerous fixes new user profiles etc etc, until i eventually had to do two complete re installations, one from dvd the other from a factory re set within the drive. I know, looking back there was something very wrong, i scanned with every possible software, but as soon as Gmer failed to load on one drive i knew deep down a rootkit must have been the culprit. I have installed win 10 for many other people not a problem in sight barring the odd connection issue and browser mess up, and teamviewer deals with most. but my own computers i am happy to keep the old systems for now as they are easier to work remotely with when repairing other people’s and the cpu is a whole lot less with win 8.1 than either 7 or 10. I cannot fault 10 but it is not for my 10 second boot 5 second shut down win 8.1 pro laptop. I also paid for my keys, they are mine forever and are unique to each operating system, unlike 10, that shares its key with many others as it a motherboard stamp type and not a physical key you own. So simply put, if i upgrade i lose my rights to those unique keys, i would rather download a stand alone iso for 10 buy a cheap hdd and slip that in my laptop instead, if that is possible

  17. itzzkolt

    I can see Windows.old, but not the rest? Help!

  18. Dilly Smith

    I had some problems as well after upgrading. They were caused by incompatible drivers, and I found out Windows 10 specific drivers were available (but not automatically downloaded) for my hardware. I’d try to update all your drivers.

  19. Bill Von Ord

    I tried to copy the folders to my external hard drive and it would not do so. Is there a way to get these on the external? The windows.old is a bit over 22 gig. I have a few days left to do this before they get deleted. please reply ASAP

  20. annon

    Windows is fucking stupid.

  21. Tad

    It is not as easy as said. When Microsoft updated windows 10 a day after I installed it, I cannot change anything, scan computer using Norton, install any program, etc. Recovery option does not respond. I have a recovery USB drive with Windows 8.1 and a drive with windows 10. The set-up cannot start. I wanted to format the C solid drive using a DVD drive with Windows. It did not work. Fortunately my documents were on 1TB D drive. I tried to update windows 10. The message is that “Your device is up to date.
    Last checked: Today, ??7:53 AM”. I called ASUS, a person told me that I can install a fresh windows 7. I do not believe since the set-up command is not accepted. I sent a description of this problem to ASUS – now still waiting for answer. I tried to find something similar to the “fix” Microsoft software. I could not find it.

  22. Raghunandan P

    Hello guys, I stuck in one problem. One and half month back i got upgraded to W10. Previously i was running on W8.1 with Single Language it is pre-installed OS in my Lenovo laptop. Since I’m facing audio problem in W10 and battery consumption, I need to go back to W8.1. But in Update and security setting->recovery. Here i’m getting 2 options ie., Reset this PC and Advanced Startup. If i choose Reset this PC option, do i lose the remaining Warranty time period? What says about this. This is the problem. So now how do i get back to W8.1. Please help me guys. And i cant’t find Windows.old folder in C Drive.

  23. Liz Hale

    THIS DOES NOT HELP!!! i do not speak PC!!! D:

  24. Mike Vernon

    My Windows.old folder is still on my harddrive after 30 days (19.6GB). However, the $Windows.~BT folder is gone.

  25. Joe W

    As another post noted, no “$Windows.~WS” file appeared when using the Windows 10 download from Microsoft. However, I also want to note that the “Windows.old” file was not a hidden file. Moreover, I could not rename this file immediately after completing the installation to due to an error message that read this file was open or being used by other program. After restarting my computer, I then was able to rename it according to the instructions above.

  26. stac

    how do I get to the 3 folders so I can change
    the names of the folders I don’t know how to get to the folders thanks

  27. Kamaljit

    i upgraded to windows 10 and has not made any backup of any of these folders. 30 days period is over. how can i rollback now. i tried installing 8.1 from usb but it is giving error as well.

  28. Fivish

    I took a copy of windows.old to an ext hdd, but now can’t copy back to pc. The OS refuses to complete the copy, it hangs with some permission issue.

  29. Andrew Marshall

    Windows 10 upgrade – 30 day plus problems:
    I installed windows 10 about 3-4 months ago, I think. I’ve had some problems, mainly with MS outlook, which I fixed through command prompt (Admin) sfc /scannow.

    About 10 days ago my Asus laptop went mad when shutting down. I had various error and warning message flash up at a speed to quick to read.

    When I logged back in all my MS Office app’s and products had gone. I could open MS files in window explore, use google chrome & firefox web browers. The laptop worked but all MS apps were gone.

    I ran the command prompt (Admin) sfc /scannow routine, which said no integrity problems. Turned off the machine and rebooted no MS apps. I reinstalled my MS office 365 app, which ran. When I checked no MS apps. Rebooted, still nothing. Ran the command prompt (Admin) sfc /scannow routine all apps back in the start menu.

    Laptop ran at good speed than. 2 x days ago it began to slow down and mouse spent log times turning as blue circle.

    Last night the crash came – exactly (more or less) as described above.

    I ran the same routine and today all is working but there is a problem.

    Has anyone experienced this failure before?

    Does anyone know what the fix is?

    Kind regards


  30. THX2468

    I had installed Windows 10 from Windows 8 Pro, then Windows 8.1 I reformatted my Vaio computer to factory settings but I can’t go back to Windows 8.1 anymore. It keeps giving me Error Code: 0x8000405 all the time. I reformatted my whole system after one month so I think the issue is that. Any possibility to go back at least to 8.1? Thank you.

  31. cc

    its has been almost 2 months now and I didn`t rename any of those files before what to do now????

  32. Allen Anthony

    I installed Windows 10 around the time it came out, much to my delight I faced no problems with it, but now after reading about this ‘November Update’ that touts many of the features I wanted back. I read on Microsoft’s own site that to get the update I would have to of had Windows 10 for 31+ Plus days e.g. a day over the time limit to go back to Win 8.1 or 7. It’s long past the 31 days but the “Go back to Windows 7” is still there?

    The only thing I can think of is I’m still using some Windows 7 programs/features left over by the upgrade. Like Windows back-up from 7, the Photo Viewer from 7 and Snip. Does that matter?

  33. Rob McGrath

    It has been over 30 days since installing Win 10. I still have the Windows.old, $Windows.~WS and $Windows.~BT folders but don’t have the option to restore when I go to Settings > Security > Restore. Is there a specific location those files should be in? Right now they are in the C: drive. How do I restore using those folders if I don’t have that option in settings?

  34. Aron Dronkers

    I only found the map $Windows.~BT with Folder Options. How can I find the other 2?

  35. Brian

    Can you still do all this after the 30 day mark, because it seems to me you have to rename it before you hit the 30 day limit…??

  36. Dave Thomas

    Same issue.

    This post seems VERY bad. Causes false confidence in users like me. Author said he never tried it.

    I’m stuck with Windows 10, even though my Intel Display drivers will never be supported.

    At least one expensive APP won’t run on Windows 10. I have hundreds. How many more won’t run?

    I think you have 30 days period, regardless of whether you have the folders. At least that’s the case for me.

    I’d be VERY happy to learn I’m wrong. Otherwise, author should remove this post.

    Has anyone successfully done the revert after 30 days?

  37. hattem

    Hi all, well I have the ultimate sin. I did not know about saving those $ files. Its after 30 days. Cannot use Acrobat reader. Cannot roll back to 7. So unles there is another trick i will have to reformat the hard drive and find Win 7 disks and set up from there.??

  38. Sophia Osereme Ohile

    Yes i upgrade using the get windows 10 app and is only two hidding folder and Please I rename the exists file on my driver C/ what do I do next and is more than a month I upgrade

  39. Erik N Phillips

    Wow thanks!!! Going keep a backup of these on a spare disk! its like 30GB and takes up to much room on my HD plus I love the fact i don’t need to abide by M$ law!.

  40. Bottom Line:

    I hate Windows 10. I am constantly lost. Can Windows 10 just be made to appear and function as Windows 8.1?

  41. craig cothren

    Why did Microsoft release Windows 10. I have found for me a English as a Second language teacher who video tapes students everyday so students can see themselves making errors to be a terrible programs. When downloading videos from an Apple phone IT DOES NOT PUT THE VIDEOS OR PICTURES BUT SOME WEIRD FILE. IT TOOK APPLE OVER AN HOUR TO FIND THEM. So Apple and I switched to my windows 7 computer and the same download file upload to Google Drive task took only five minutes. In other cases trying to use a template sent to me from China my Windows 10 computer could not handle the task and again the old Windows 7 machine had no problem. Microsoft to me is a company that simply does not know what it is doing and NEW PRODUCT DEV. SUCKS.

  42. sumitra kutuwo

    i havent found go back to win8.1 buttom on recovery…it has been just 10-15days i upgraded to win10 now i thought to back to 8.1 but i didnt see option available fort hat.i already deleted windows.old to go back now

  43. ICsMouse InvertedCow

    I don’t have the option to rollback to win8 anymore. I don’t know where I wrote down the original code that came with the computer. help? Yes it’s been about 5 months & i’m still not happy. Fraps won’t work, computer is always supper supper laggy in game play & it never use to be. Windows updates even when I’ve told it NOT TO! I game too much to have that kind of thing happening while in game. 7fps is crappy gameplay.

  44. ICsMouse InvertedCow

    Also where can I find the windows key that came with my computer?

  45. ICsMouse InvertedCow

    This is what I got in response.

    Get-WmiObject : Cannot bind argument to parameter ‘Query’ because it is null.
    At line:1 char:22
    + … ject -query ‘select * from SoftwareLicensingService’.OA3xOriginalProd …
    + ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ + CategoryInfo : InvalidData: (:) [Get-WmiObject], ParameterBindingValidationException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : ParameterArgumentValidationErrorNullNotAllowed,Microsoft.PowerShell.Commands.GetWmiObjec tCommand

    Thank you
    Marianne Fehr-Jensen

    Casa Loma Building
    309 Sherbrook Street

  46. ????

    I want to know..Why Windows 10 was created at all? Miln people have Windows 7 and happy wz it ! Why,why all this mess? can mid class people will pay for it later? I cannot…

  47. ????

    I hv the same system,i am scared to jump to W 10..Afraid ,something will be created,,to force me for it..

  48. rose

    I can find windows.old, windows ws but cannot find windows bt. any suggestions?

  49. Variousthings3251

    I first did this BEFORE I read the article!!

  50. We would like to congratulate you. Windows 10 is our newest and most secure operating system.

  51. Gunjan Jeswani

    can i roll back windows 1o if i have $Windows.~BT and Windows.old folder in C:

  52. Manikanta Garrapally

    i’m currently using windows 10.I read the above description to revert back to previous version after a month also.will the system shows the option to go back to windows 8.1(as my previous version) after changing the name of those files.

  53. Jaz

    I did what you said on June and I am happy to say that the folder still shows up! I didn’t revert back to Windows 10 so I don’t know if it still works, though.

  54. Ching Domagas

    hi microsoft! i bought an acer laptop last december 28, 2014, os installed was windows 8.1. i upgraded to windows 10 this june and i want to go back to the old windows 8.1 but it says “go back to windows 7” instead of 8.1, what should i do?

  55. 'Tis Moi

    Absolute B*LLSH*T! F*CK M$….There is NO REASON nor RIGHT for M$ to burn the bridge (factory recovery) which the computer-customer (not the almighty M$) paid for & agreed to pre-10! WTF!

    NO REASON to not sandbox or “leave alone” that original partition– other than to SCREW the uninitiated who had no idea what was happening. This includes the MULTITUDES of pensioners I have had to revert, who kept clicking NO– then went to bed & found 10 insinuated there, w/o permission, in the morning! They try to work it, decide it’s too much & guess what? 42 days has passed. F*CKING M$.

    Gates can rot. What a sh*tty & underhanded thing to do– & shame on the supposed “public best interest” overseers who have done nothing. Ol’ Billy has deep-pockets & greases LOTS of palms, I’d imagine.

  56. MmeMoxie

    First – There is NO need to swear like that!!! I do understand your frustration and but think, you need to calm down, so you can think clearly.

    Let me explain one thing to you – You do NOT own and never have owned any MS Operating System. I don’t care if, you have paid for the MS Operating System Floppy Disks or CDs or DVDs. You are allowed a license to use, but never own.

    Bottom line, MS can make it’s own rules, as they so desire. I do agree with you, that MS is not playing the game right, as it really should be played. MS does NOT have the best updates record. There have been lots of screw-ups in the past, too. You are not the first to be this upset or mad at what has been happening, either.

  57. 'Tis Moi

    Step off- do NOT tell me to, “calm down”. You’re a typical M$, Stockholm Syndrome drone. MS updated people–> WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT nor understanding.

    Do you think it’s a legal change if the one being changed has no working knowledge/consent of this? Worse, M$ deliberately uses, false/confusing “Phraseology” to twist what they’re even going to do. The “poison carrot”.

    I, am undoing it at a cost–> to THEM. There OUGHT TO BE a class-action against M$.
    M$ should be footing the bill for this. Full-stop!

    I love apologists for the ones who perpetrate the damage. Good thing ol’ Billy has you for a shield. Get help yourself- you’re on the wrong side.

  58. Caleb

    Take a deep breath… I promise you’ll feel better.

  59. MmeMoxie

    All you read was my first sentence!!! If, you had bothered to read the rest of what I wrote, you would know that I am NOT a MS Stockholm Syndrome drone.

    I understand you and what you are saying, and fully agree with you. The only point I was trying to make was that NO ONE has ever owned any Microsoft program, period!!! They purchase a license or lease and that is it. So Microsoft thinks it can and does whatever it wants.

    The real problem are those who really are not computer savvy – They are the ones who get “screwed” and then some. The elderly can be one of the hardest hit targets, when MS does this kind of crap.Those of us, who are computer savvy or geeks – We know what is usually coming up or how to find a way to fix things MS does.

    I learned something a long, long time ago. “He who makes you mad – Has already won the argument.” When you are angry, your blood pressure goes sky high and rushes to your brain. An actual medical fact. This rush doesn’t make you think better or fast – Bottom line – It can cause a stroke. When mad about an issue, the best response is to be calm and clear headed. Otherwise, you sound just like a hot-headed teenager.

  60. Benni1023fm

    Because it’s loaded with spyware. If you haven’t, DON’T.

  61. amit gerbi

    i cant find the windows.old and windows.~WS.

  62. redbull

    i used this and it worked fine. BEWARE of 3rd party products that will “find” your key for you. Who else is it “finding it” for?

  63. Anu Augustin

    how can I delete this bak-windows.old folder…..plz help

  64. qwerty


  65. Mary VanAtta

    Did not realize there was a 30 day limit to return to an earlier time after installing Windows10. Therefore I did not know of these folders nor the need to save or rename them. So obviously I cannot find them because they were automatically deleted as you said in this article. So my question now is, is there any way to still go back? I am having countless problems and laptop keeps freezing making it all the more frustrating!!! Laptop worked beautiful before the upgrade. Please tell me there is a way to still go back.

  66. Mags58

    Putting windows 10 on has killed my DVD player. I can no longer watch movies. After troubleshooting and researching, I have figured out that I have the correct driver for the DVD, but because of Windows 10 I can just throw my $1000 laptop in the garbage. Thanks Microsoft. I will have to go out and purchase Windows 8.1 Pro for $100 at Walmart.

  67. Windows 10 removes the Windows Media Center and so you cannot play DVDs or view DVD movies natively. Use VLC player or Windows DVD Player app.

  68. Marjorie Neumeister

    Windows has no right to make ANY changes to my PC WITHOUT my permission. The VLC player doesn’t work. So your suggestions are not good suggestions. The only recourse I see is to purchase a new Windows 8.1 operating system and reinstall on my computer.

  69. jensenjs

    The edition of Windows you have is not yours, it’s a license, and the product belongs to Microsoft just as Apples systems belongs to Apple.
    It’s in the license agreement.

    I do not want to read my way through the whole license agreements, so I just show you this part, that also is about changes, not only updates at adding to Windows.
    An update is also changes where things are removed.
    Typically it is about safety/security.
    Older programs can have security issues, that may destabilizing the system or shown to be a security risk.
    That kind of software can, must and will be either repaired, removed or replaced by other versions.
    This is not changes to your PC but changes to the system you have licensed, and agreed to.


    6. Updates. The software periodically checks for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them for you. You may obtain updates only from Microsoft or authorized sources, and Microsoft may need to update your system to provide you with those updates. By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.

    This is just a small part of the huge agreement,which we all just skip 🙂

  70. Marjorie Neumeister

    First of all, I didn’t ask you to show me a copy of a license. However, at least with Apple, they make things better and they don’t just delete things so that you HAVE to buy their products in order to use a DVD player that came with the computer that I PAID for. Microsoft has no right to just delete things from a computer that they didn’t pay for. And this answer you’ve put up, isn’t helping. Microsoft products SUCK!

  71. sumayah

    i tried every single solution… but none of them worked,what should i do???
    the recovery solution was just for 30 days!!!!! and the $Windows~BT and windows.old files can be found but rename to what???? I NEED HELP….. i want to reset windows 7…..

  72. JW

    My theory is that they keep updating to new versions of Windows which make our bought-and-paid for software non-functional, aka obsolete. Several programs I had working perfectly on Vista and on Windows 7 will absolutely NOT WORK on Windows 10. What does that mean? It means I would have to go out and purchase the software again (hundreds or even thousands of dollars) just to get it to work on Windows 10. Also, Windows 10 runs ok on my Dell Inspiron 530S desktop except my sound will not work. I have tried every suggestion I have discovered using GOOGLE and YAHOO searches and nothing works. From my search results it appears many people have the same issue with their sound not working in Windows 10. What is the final solution? They want us to buy new computers, of course. It’s that “built-in obsolence” theory. I know that Microsoft doesn’t want us to believe that, but it sure seems to be true. When I upgraded my HP Laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10 it crashed. Took me the better part of a whole day to revert back to Windows 7. Royal pain in the butt.

  73. Hilton Travis

    What that means is this years and years old software is not compatible with a modern operating system that is designed to be secure, safe and stable with today’s hardware, software and Internet connectivity.

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