How to Uninstall Windows 7

With the release of Windows 7, there will be those people who still will want to revert back to Vista or XP for some reason or another. If you want to uninstall Windows 7 and go back to the previous OS, you may or may not be able to do so.

In this post, I will break down all the options and scenarios for uninstalling Windows 7 from a computer that already had an operating system, such as Windows XP or Vista. If you want further information about Windows 7, check out my previous post on finding the best online resources for Windows 7.

uninstall windows 7

The first thing to note is that you can only upgrade a Windows Vista computer to Windows 7, not Windows XP. If you already have XP, you will have to do a clean install of Windows 7.

However, if you have a computer with Windows XP and you install Windows 7 ON TOP of Windows XP, then you can actually revert back to XP. So if you have a computer with XP and you want to go to Windows 7, do NOT format your hard drive! Just pop in the disk, boot from the CD and install Windows 7.

In this case, Windows created a folder called Windows.old in the root of the Windows partition with the previous operating system and data. You can follow the step by step instructions on how to revert to a previous installation of Windows after installing Windows 7.

Now lets say you upgraded Windows Vista to Windows 7. In this case, you are CANNOT revert back to Windows Vista. It’s a one way process and so you should be aware of this when going from Vista to Windows 7.

In order to go back to Vista, you will have to perform a clean install of Windows Vista, meaning you will have to backup all your data and then restore it manually later. You will also have to reinstall all of your programs.

Finally, if you installed Windows 7 on a separate partition to create a multiboot system and now want to remove Windows 7, you most likely can remove it without messing anything up.

remove windows 7

Note that this will only work if the older version of Windows was installed first. If you installed Windows 7 and then installed Windows XP or Vista to create a multi-boot system, you cannot remove Windows 7.

As long as you installed Windows 7 as the second OS, you first have to boot your computer into the older version of Windows and either delete or format the partition with Windows 7 installed on it.

You have to do this so that the older version of Windows can reclaim the disk space and use it. You can do this by right-clicking on My Computer, choosing Manage and then clicking on Disk Management in the left hand list.

Right-click on the volume where Windows 7 is installed and choose Format or Delete Volume.

format windows 7

Now you have to remove Windows 7 from the multiboot screen. You can do this by going to Start, Control Panel, System and Security, Administrative Tools, System Configuration.

Click on the Boot tab and click on the listing for Windows 7. Click Delete and then Restart.

delete windows 7 boot

That’s it! Once you format the Windows 7 partition and remove it from the multiboot screen, you will be able to restart your computer and have it automatically load the previous installation of Windows! Enjoy!

Comments [13]

  1. TheMonk says:

    Hey.. was reading your post, because I find myself in some problems with Windows 7. Here is the layout:

    I was running Windows XP alone, no other system installed. I didnt exactly what u recommended not to – I delete my old partion and ran a clean Windows 7 install. I found that my computercomponents are of an older date, so they do not run on 7 that well – I decided to go back to XP but now I have trouble doing so – since it wont boot from my CD – can u help me – U would appriciate it :D

  2. Movistar says:

    Hi please advise. I follow your instructions to remove Windows 7 from the HDD to revert to win XP

    "System and Security, Administrative Tools, System Configuration". Click on the Boot tab and click on the listing for Windows 7. Click Delete and then Restart. I cannot find "System and Security and System Configuration to continue . I have admin tools but sys config is not there.

    I cannot remove Windows 7 from the dual boot screen!?

  3. czarr75 says:

    I bought a new laptop the came with windows 7 i tried to wipe it and put windows xp on it had no luck after files were loaded a error came up.

  4. Danch says:

    I had vista on my computer. I don't think i upgraded to Windows 7, I think my computer just did it by itself (I don't even know how to upgrade it …)

    Can you tell me how to go back to vista!??? I am getting somwhat annoyed by the constant computer re-starts every hour or so :P

    E-mail me at danchdd@hotmail.com please with an answer!!! :P thanks mate! God bless you all. Amen!

  5. prashant says:

    Thanks for the great information! I needed to get rid of Windows 7!

  6. vishu says:

    please tell me how to uninstall windows 7. when i am putting windows xp cd then it says that the operating system u have is newer. so please tell me how to install win xp on win7

  7. Kamal says:

    I am having problem reverting back to window XP. I installed window 7 as an clean setup.

  8. paddytam says:

    Your "revert to previous installation" link took me back to a procedure I had already tried. This involved typing at the command prompt so I was VERY careful to type EXACTLY what was on the page. At every command I got "file not found" "access denied" etc so not surprisingly the procedure did not work. Is there any way round this?

  9. chris says:

    I just bought a laptop. It's an HP Compaq. It came with Win7 but it's all in Japanese.

    I have Win XP Pro still in the box. I want to uninstall Win7 and install Win XP Pro (English version).

    How can I do that with out ruining the PC?

  10. walt says:

    I tried to do it your way, but, when I booted the computer and windows 7 came up, I was unable to delete it. It was not lit up.

    Any help woud be great.

    My email is n3314v@yahoo.com. My name is Walt.

  11. Joseph says:

    Did you have any luck? I am desperately trying to get Windows 7 off my computer because of an error that causes it to be useless for internet.

    There is no lit up delete button. I can’t delete. Did you ever get around this? Can anyone help?

  12. Joemwaa says:

    I installed windows 7 on a desktop that i was using xp. I then deleted the folder windows.old to create more space.
    Now i want to revert to xp but when i try to boot it tells me i installed a new version of windows and i cant revert to old. How can i do it now because some drivers are not compatible. Email me joemwaa@gmail.com

  13. Clyde says:

    All right, let’s suppose I have successfully uninstalled Windows 7 , either as you have described, or just by re-partitioning/formatting the hard drive. Can I now reinstall my copy of W/7 on another physical computer? (And will it be a legal/workable copy?)

    Thanks for your help.

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