To uninstall Windows 7, you must determine your specific installation scenario from the scenarios that are listed in this section, and then follow the steps for that scenario.

Scenario 1: You installed Windows 7 on a Windows-based computer

You installed a version of Windows 7 as a new installation over Windows XP, Windows Vista, or another version of Windows 7. You used the Windows 7 installation media to install Windows 7 to the same hard disk drive as the original operating system.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

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.

3 Comments

  1. Dwayne says:

    Uninstall “Windows 7”
    You can NOT NEVER uninstall “Windows 7” on MOST NEW computers which came with a Factory Install “Windows 7” locked into the BIOS & Motherboard. It is impossible! Check your BIOS Setup.

    I wanted to uninstall “Windows 7” since the majority of my old software I had on my old computer would not function since “Windows 7” did not have the driver (operating language). I did not want to spend hundreds of dollars to buy all new software to work with “Windows 7”. But now I discovered I have no choice because “Windows 7” Can NOT be uninstalled on 95% of NEW computers due to the fact that the computer’s manufacturer (Compaq, HP & many other manufacturers) are now locking “Windows 7” into the computer’s BIOS & Motherboard so that they will be supporting only the new operating system instead of the old Windows Operating system. You do NOT have the choice or control anymore to use an OLDER Operating system on many NEW computers running “Windows 7” which came with the computer. Tampering with the computer’s BIOS with outside software programs to alter this change has been known to damage the computer’s chips, motherboard & hardware and could leave you with a damaged motherboard and a computer that will never operate again. You can tell if “Windows 7” is locked into the BIOS & Motherboard of the new computer you just purchased and can NOT be removed by going into the computer’s “BIOS Setup” on boot-up. If the “BIOS Setup” shows a written line that says: “Factory Installed OS: Win 7” and it also does NOT show what type of Hard Drive has been installed in your computer, then there is a HIGH POSSIBILITY that you can NEVER remove “Windows 7” or downgrade it to an earlier version (like Windows XP). You can only Upgrade Windows 7 with future operating systems (like Windows 8, Windows 9, Windows 10, etc.) However, if your computer came with “Windows XP” and then you decided to install “Windows 7” on it, that’s fine. If you later decided you do NOT like “Windows 7” and you wanted to go back to “Windows XP”, you can do this if you have the original “Recovery/Restore disc that came with your computer. However if you NEVER had “Windows XP” or an older version of Windows installed on your computer and your computer came was purchased with “Windows 7” already installed on it and IF “Windows 7” has been locked into the computer’s BIOS & Motherboard by the computer’s manufacturer, then you can’t go back to an earlier Windows version. I’ve already tried the following to uninstall “Windows 7” and it ALL HAS FAILED:

    1) I tried booting up off of the “Windows XP Install Disc” several time. When the set-up drivers finished loading into the computers memory (took about 2 minutes) the computer always responded: “Starting Windows Setup”, at that point the computer locked-up/froze and responded: “A problem has been detected and windows has been shut down to prevent damage to your computer…” FAILED

    2) I got desperate and decided to try to install “Window 7” from within the program to see what would happen. After “Windows 7” had booted up fully, I went to Start-Run Program from disc-I chose setup.exe from the disc drive. The disc started spinning and grinding for about 40 minutes (although nothing appeared to be happening on my computer screen. Finally after about 40 minutes I got this blue background screen which on the top bar it said “Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP”. Then it gave me the following error: “This program is BLOCKED due to compatibility issues. Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.” There’s your answer. This same new Windows XP disc works fine on another old slow computer in the house, but not on my new computer. FAILED

    3) I got really desperate, I decided to get “Windows 7” off this computer one way or another. I booted up fully into “Windows 7” and right click on Drive c: (which held my “Windows 7”) and chose “Format Drive” knowing that it will format and erase/destroy everything on the drive including “Window 7”! The computer responded, “You are not authorized to Format this drive and it will leave your computer inoperable.” I tried this several times but if failed each time. FAILED

    4) I even tried selecting all the “Windows 7” files and dragging them into the trash. I even tried selecting all the “Windows 7” files and hitting the DELETE button. Some files did delete but others would NOT and the computer responded me the message “You are not authorized to delete these files”. “Windows 7” still remained. FAILED

    5) I tried going to DOS “C Prompt” from the start menu. There I manually typed “Format C:” which I received the computer response, “System in use / You are not authorized to Format this drive and it will leave your computer inoperable.” I tried this several times but it failed each time. FAILED

    6) I next tried going to DOS “C Prompt” from the start menu. There I manually typed the command “delete *.*” which would delete everything off the drive. Instead I got a computer response that said “You cannot delete from this environment / system in use / You are not authorized to delete these files”. FAILED

    7) I created a bootable startup disc using my old computer “Windows XP” then I booted up the new computer with “Windows 7” on it off that disk. After I got the DOS “C Prompt” I manually typed “Format C:” which I received the computer response, “You can not format drive from within this environment / You are not authorized to Format this drive.” I tried this several times but it failed each time. FAILED

    8) I then booted the new computer with “Windows 7” again off the startup disc that I had created using my old computer “Windows XP”. After I got the DOS “C Prompt” I manually typed the command “delete *.*” which would delete everything off the drive. Instead I got a computer response that said “You cannot delete from this environment / You are not authorized to delete these files”. FAILED

    9) I download and created a bootable disc using another program and operating system called “Ubuntu Operating System – By Linux”. I was able to FINALLY DELETE ALL MY PARTITIONS OFF MY HARD DRIVE, FORMAT MY HARD DRIVE AND FINALY INSTALL A DIFFERENT OPERATING SYSTEM. IT WAS NOT “WINDOWS XP OPERATING SYSTEM” IT WAS CALLED “UBUNTU OPERATING SYSTEM”. Once I did that, I tried every thing again to install “Windows XP” on my system, however traces of “Windows 7” still remained in my computer BIOS Chips and Motherboard and kept preventing me from installing “Windows XP” sometimes giving me the computer message “Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.” “Windows 7” is engraved in the BIOS and Motherboard of the heart of the computer! You can NOT take it out! FAILED

    10) I finally decided to open my computer and take out my hard drive and buy a new one an replace. Once I did that I again tried to install “Windows XP” in all kind of ways as already tried above. Same message, “Setup cannot continue because the version of Windows on your computer is newer than the version on the CD.” “Windows 7” is engraved in the BIOS and Motherboard of the heart of the computer! You can NOT take it out! FAILED

    11) I also read through “Windows 7 Help & Support File” which says: Even if you delete or format the partition containing “Windows 7”, “Windows 7” is still in the operating system when you start your computer. You must remove it from the Multi-boot Screen (but this can only be done if you have two operating systems installed on your computer already). I did try going through the setup functions to disabled Windows 7 on boot-up by going to: Start-Control Panel-System & Security-Administrative Tools-System Configuration-Boot Tab-Click on “Windows 7” then choose [Delete]. NOT AUTHORIZED/FAILED. Then I tried: Right Click on My Computers-Click Manage-Disk Management-Right Click on Drive C and choose [Format] or [Delete]. NOT AUTHORIZED/FAILED

    12) Finally, out of desperation I called “Microsoft Corporation” and talked to many different technical support people who claim they had no idea why I could not downgrade to Windows XP. Either Microsoft hid the truth to keep these people in the dark or theses people were not trained properly and are idiots. They informed me that my computer manufacture which is Compaq/HP had locked the computer not them. They told me to call Compaq/HP.

    13) I called “Compaq/HP” and talked to many different technical support people who claim they had no idea why I could not downgrade to Windows XP. Either Compaq/HP had also hidden the truth to keep these people in the dark or theses technical support people were not trained properly and are also idiots. They informed me that they did not lock my computer and did not know what was happening. Finally I kept being bounce around until I was finally transferred to a top supervisor. THE COMPAQ/HP SUPERVISOR VERIFIED MY PROBLEM AND KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON. HE INFORMED ME THAT THEY HAD LOCKED WINDOWS 7 INTO THE BIOS AND MOTHERBOARD AND HE HAS NO IDEA HOW TO UNLOCK IT BECAUSE THEY WILL NOT EVEN TELL HIM HOW. HE ALSO WONDERED IF IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE RAID SYSTEM TECHNOLOG. HE ALSO SAID NO EMPLOYEES HAS BEEN TRAIN OR INFORM OF WINDOWS 7 BEING LOCKED INTO THE BIOS AND MOTHERBOARD. THERE IS NOTHING I COULD DO.

    14) I decided to talk to “Bestbuy” sales supervisor and told them the whole story. Everybody there got a blank look on the face and never heard about this problem. But that said it was probably a Marketing Strategy Agreement hidden under the table from “Microsoft Corporation” & the computer manufacturers to force everyone to continue to upgrade whether they like it or not by taking control over your computer BIOS and Motherboard without informing you. He apologized. THE END! BIG BROTHER RULES!

  2. Manirul says:

    Thanks Mr. Dwayne for your so elaborated information, I also tried a few but failed and invested lot of time for gooling, after reading your comments I will stop searching in web

  3. Bryan Atkins says:

    Dwayne,

    I tried to do the very same things with my laptop having windows 7 for the very same reasons you had (older software) and failed in every different attempt. After reding your article I am certain the the Win7 is embedded in the bios/motherboard; I’m giving up.

    Thanks for posting your article.

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