Windows 10

Roll back updates

With the rhythm of regular updates becoming the method of keeping devices secure and up to date, there might be instances when an update causes problems and you need to consider removing the update completely by rolling it back. You might have experience with driver rollbacks; the same concept is used for rolling back Windows updates.

Sometimes you need to remove a single Windows update. You can perform this task in a number of ways, through Control Panel, the Settings app, or the command prompt.

Uninstall a Windows update by using Control Panel

If you prefer to use Control Panel, you can see an Installed Updates list in Control Panel by following these steps.

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Control Panel.
  2. Open Programs → Programs And Features.
  3. Click View Installed Updates.
  4. Select an update that you want to uninstall.
    If Windows allows you to uninstall it, Uninstall appears on the toolbar.
  5. In the Uninstall An Update dialog box, click Yes to confirm.
  6. Accept the UAC if prompted.
    A restart might be needed to complete the removal of the update.

Uninstall a Windows update in Settings

The Settings app ultimately opens the same Installed Updates list in Control Panel. Perform these steps if you prefer to use the Settings app.

  1. Open Settings and click Update & Security.
  2. Click Windows Update and then click Advanced Options.
  3. Click View Your Update History.
    A list of your installed Windows Updates appears.
  4. Click Uninstall Updates at the top of the screen.
    The link opens the Control Panel → Programs → Programs and Features → Installed Updates page.
  5. Select an update that you want to uninstall.
    If Windows allows you to uninstall it, Uninstall appears on the toolbar.
  6. In the Uninstall An Update dialog box, click Yes to confirm.
  7. Accept the UAC if prompted.
    A restart might be needed to complete the removal of the update.

Uninstall a Windows update by using the command prompt

Sometimes you will want to remove the same update from multiple devices. After you have tested the command-line tool on your test device, you can use the command prompt or Windows PowerShell to script the command and distribute it to multiple devices by using Group Policy or Windows PowerShell.

You can use the Windows Management Instrumentation command-line utility to generate a list of installed Windows Update packages on a Windows 10-based device.

To generate the list of installed Windows Update packages on your device, open an elevated command prompt and type the following command.

wmic qfe list brief /format:table

When you have identified an update that you want to remove, you can use the Windows Update Stand-Alone Installer (Wusa.exe) command-line tool to uninstall updates by providing the package number (from the Microsoft Knowledge Base) of the update to be uninstalled. The syntax for the tool is as follows.

wusa.exe /uninstall /kb:<KB Number>

Substitute <KB Number> in the command with the actual KB number of the update you want to uninstall. The WMIC and WUSA commands work in either the command prompt or Windows PowerShell.

Revert to a previous build of Windows 10

Since Windows 8, you have had the option to remove an update completely and revert to the pre-update status. With Windows 10, this process has become more reliable and more refined.

With the Insider Preview of Windows 10, you have been able to remove the preview version and install the full version. If you upgraded from a previous version of Windows within the past 30 days, and things are not working out, you can simply roll back to your previous operating system installation, and your settings, apps, and any files, such as photos or documents, you've added during the past 30 days to your Windows 10 installation will be retained with the older version of Windows.

During any system upgrade-for example, upgrading from Windows 8.1 or implementing the Windows 10 1511 build upgrade-Windows creates a Windows.old folder on the system volume to retain a copy of your previous version of Windows. Because this file can be very large, 10 GB or larger, the file is automatically deleted after 30 days. You can preserve a copy of this file, or rename it, to prevent the deletion. You would need to replace and rename it back to the original Windows.old filename if you wanted to use it.

If you have recently upgraded to a newer build of Windows 10 and want to revert to the previous version, you can do so by using Recovery in the Settings app or the Go Back To Previous Windows From Windows 10 in the Advanced Startup options.

Note: Preview Builds are Experimental
When using Insider Preview builds of Windows 10, there can be changes to menus, options, and processes. The steps to revert to a previous build might change when you carry out these steps.

To use Recovery in the Settings app, use these steps.

  1. Search for the word "recovery" and select Recovery Options in the System settings.
  2. On the Recovery page, select Get Started.
    The Getting Things Ready dialog box appears, and Windows checks whether the Windows.old file is present.
  3. Answer the short questionnaire to provide feedback to Microsoft about why you are going back and then click Next.
  4. On the Check For Updates page, click No, Thanks.
  5. On the What You Need To Know page, click Next.
  6. On the Don't Get Locked Out page, click Next.
  7. On the Thanks For Trying Windows 10 page, click Go Back To Earlier Build.
    Your computer restarts, and the earlier build of Windows now starts restoring.

To use the Go Back To Previous Windows From Windows 10 in Advanced Startup, use these steps.

  1. Boot to advanced startup options.
  2. In the Choose An Option dialog box, click Troubleshoot.
  3. On the Troubleshoot page, click Advanced Options.
  4. On the Advanced Options page, if you don't see Go Back To The Previous Build, click See More Recovery Options if displayed.
  5. Click Go Back To The Previous Build.
  6. On the Go Back To The Previous Build page, select an administrator account and enter the password for this administrator account.
  7. Click Continue.
  8. On the Go Back To The Previous Build page, click Go Back To Previous.
    Your computer restarts, and the earlier build of Windows now starts restoring.
Note: We're Sorry, But you can't Go Back
If the Windows.old file is not found, Windows 10 recovery will not be able to take you back to a previous version of Windows.

You can check which version of Windows 10 your device is currently running by using these steps.

  1. Click the Start button and then click Settings.
  2. Click System and then select About.
    The details of your Windows 10 operating system appears.
  3. Alternatively, you can click the Start button and type WinVer.
[Previous] [Content] [Next]