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The Windows 11 beta recently got its first major version update, but it brought a big change that some users aren’t happy with: they can’t revert to the classic Windows Start menu layout. Instead, they are Windows 11 users now forced to use the redesigned start menu and taskbar, which is centered at the bottom of the screen. The update even corrects a registry editing trick that restores the old layout. The new Start menu doesn’t look bad in itself, but many users are dissatisfied with the change.
Now, it’s possible this is just a temporary change, and the old Start menu will return in a future update – but it’s not the only problem Windows Insiders have encountered. Windows 11 is still in the early testing phase, so bugs, missing features, and compatibility issues are common. While the final version of Windows 11 might be worth upgrading, some users may regret upgrading to beta.
If that is you, don’t worry, you can go back to Windows 10 (and its Start menu layout). There are two rollback methods:
- Revert to an old version of Window via the Windows 11 Settings menu.
- Reinstall a clean instance of Windows 10 using an installation CD or USB drive.
Returning to Windows 10 from Windows 11 Settings is the fastest and easiest option as it will keep your personal files intact. However, it is only available for 10 days after installing Windows 11. After that, your old system files will be permanently deleted and cannot be restored, so it will no longer be available to beta testers who have been using Windows 11 for a few weeks.
Fortunately, you can still reinstall Windows 10 using installation media, but this will reset your PC to factory settings, erasing your files and apps.
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In either case, you should back up your files before proceeding. Even if the recovery method keeps your files, there is always a possibility that something could go wrong. We cover several methods for Back up your Windows PC herebut the best thing to do is to just copy whatever you want to save to an external hard drive.
Here’s how to return to Windows 10 from the Windows 11 Settings menu
- Go to Settings> System> Recovery.
- Scroll down to Recovery Options> Previous Version of Windows, and choose “Go back” when it is available. If it doesn’t, move on to Method 2 below.
- You will be asked to provide a reason for uninstalling Windows 11. Then, if you want to check for updates instead of uninstalling Windows 11, click “No thanks” to proceed with the rollback.
- Follow the remaining instructions on the screen, and then select “Back to the previous build” to finally start the process.
- Let the rollback process complete. This may take a while, but once it’s done you’ll be safely back on Windows 10 with your files intact.
How to uninstall Windows 11 and reinstall Windows 10
Reinstalling Windows 10 requires some form of physical installation media. If you have a Windows 10 installation CD (and your PC has a CD drive) insert this vacuum cleaner and follow the on-screen installation instructions.
If you don’t have an installation CD – and I assume most people don’t – you can make your own installation CD or USB stick. You need to download the Windows 10 Installation Media Creator Tool (available here), a blank disc or a USB stick with at least 8 GB of storage space.
Run the program, and then follow the on-screen instructions to create your installation media and complete the Windows 10 installation process. This will take a while. You’ll also need to install Windows updates, reinstall your apps, and restore your backup files. So, take a good chunk of the time before the update.