How to roll back to Windows 7 from Windows 8 without fresh installation?

How to roll back to Windows 7 from Windows 8 without fresh installation?

I just installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview 64-bit for trial but unfortunately it replaced my current operating system (Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit) completely so I decided to work on it for a while but later I found that most of my programs are either not working properly or not working at all and many other issues.

So I decided to get back my previous Windows 7. I checked and luckily found Windows.old folder in my C: drive with all the Windows 7 files in it.

So I searched more on getting back or rolling back to windows 7 from Windows 8 Consumer preview but couldn't find anything good on it. Everywhere they said to have a fresh install of Windows 7 but unfortunately I was not having Windows 7 DVD with me the only thing which i had was Windows.old folder. So i searched more and found something similar on Microsoft support site as:

So I read it fully and found that many things which were mentioned there need to be changed for it to work with our case, so I make out similar process for

"How to restore to previous Windows 7 installation after you install Windows 8 Consumer preview"

as mentioned below:

Things needed before starting the whole process:

  1. Windows 7 DVD or any other Windows CD which can be used to start COMMAND Prompt after booting.
  2. Pen and Paper to note down the steps as you will have to apply many commands in CMD Prompt or better take a print out.


This article describes how to manually restore a previous Windows installation on the computer to replace the current Windows installation from Windows.old  folder.

To do this, you must use the command prompt, and you must type specific commands at the command prompt to rename and to move folders from different locations of Windows.

This article is intended for a beginning to intermediate computer user so one should at least have a basic knowledge of installing Windows and all.

You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.

Step 1: Determine whether there is a Windows.OLD folder and whether there is sufficient free space on the Windows hard disk

  1. Find out how much space is available on Local Disk (C:) under the Hard Disk Drives area.
  2. In the Hard Disk Drives area, double-click Local Disk (C:), and then determine whether the Windows.OLD folder exists.  
  3. Important If the Windows.OLD folder does not exist, you cannot follow the steps in this article to restore the previous Windows installation to this computer.
  4. Right-click the Windows.OLD folder and determine the size of the folder. Determine whether the Windows.OLD folder is smaller than the free space that is available for Local Disk (C:) in step 2.
  5. NOTE Unhide the folder named ProgramData in both C: and in Windows.old folder.
Note If the Windows.OLD folder is two times as large as the free space that is available for the Local Disk (C:) entry, you may be unable to restore the previous Windows installation.

Step 2: Start the Windows Recovery Environment. 

The main aim of this step is to open Command Prompt and determine the drive considered as the Windows Installation Drive as it can be other then your default drive i.e. C:.

  1. Put the Windows 7 installation disc in the DVD drive, and then restart the computer.
  2. Press a key when you are prompted to restart from the disc.
  3. In the Install Windows window, select a language, a keyboard input method or other input method, and then click Next.
  4. In the Install Windows window, click Repair your computer.
  5. In the System Recovery Options window, click the version of the Windows operating system that you want to repair, and then click Next. NOTE: At this point check that which drive has been considered as the Windows Installation drive as it can be other then C: and note it down. 
  6. In the System Recovery Options window, click Command Prompt.
The Command Prompt window opens, and it displays the command prompt. The command prompt is where you will type the commands that are described in the following steps.

Step 3: Rename the Windows Vista folders

Note When you type one or more of the commands at the command prompt in the following steps in this section, and you then press ENTER, you may receive the following message:

The system cannot find the file specified.

If you receive this message, go to the next step in this section, and then type the command in that next step.

Type the following commands at the command prompt:

Here I am taking Drive E: as the Windows Installation Drive. So use the drive name you find instead of E:
in your case. 

1. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:  
                       E: and then press enter

2. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:  
                   ren Windows Windows.DP

3. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
                  ren "Program Files" "Program Files.DP"

4. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
            ren "Program Files (x86)" "Program Files (x86).DP" 

5. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
                       ren Users Users.DP

6. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
               ren ProgramData ProgramData.DP
   NOTE It's ProgramData without space not Program Data.

Step 4: Copy the contents or move the contents of the Windows.OLD folder

Type the following commands at the command prompt:

Here also I am taking Drive E: as the Windows Installation Drive. So use the drive name you find instead of E: for your situation.

1. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
             move /y e:\windows.old\windows c:\

2. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
             move /y "e:\windows.old\program files" c:\

3. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
            move /y "e:\windows.old\program files (x86)" c:\ 

4. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
             move /y e:\windows.old\Users c:\ 

5. Type the following command, and then press ENTER:
             move /y e:\windows.old\ProgramData c:\  

Step 5: Close the Command Prompt window, and then click Restart
  1. Type the following command at the command prompt, and then press ENTER:
       Click Restart.The previous Windows installation will start. 

Is this information helpful? Please let us know in the comments section.


  1. I had a go at this but I get access denied messages for move /y "e:\windows.old\program files" c:\ & move /y "e:\windows.old\program files (x86)" c:\

    1. I wonder if the writer of this post has tried it out. if e: is the partition/drive windows is installed in then for the move commands to work it needs to be moved from e: to e: so should read for example /y "e:\windows.old\program files" e:\

      this change stopped me getting access denied messages and made the process work.

    2. Sorry for replying late as I was not blogging for some period so I didn't check the comments. Now tell me is your problem solved or not, if not then let me know and for your satisfaction the process has been tried and tested by me.

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  2. I say aha!
    so there is a way... I have not been into that situation but on windows xp to windows 7.

    Thanks a lot. This now become my reference. :)

    1. yeah sure..! Let me know if you face any problem during the process.

  3. Rolling back Windows 8 to Windows 7 is fraught with problems. I managed to get Windows 7 restored but all the programs now require reinstallation - it would have been easier to simply overwrite everything with the Windows 7 installation disk.

    Frustration abounds!!!

    1. Yeah if you have Windows 7 installation disk then it would have been much easier but the post is especially for those who do not have the disk and as you are saying there is no any need of re-installing any program if you do the process properly as I did not face any of such problem.

  4. I haven’t try your solution yet, but I compared it with the solution from Microsoft support you mentioned. There they added a last command to restore the boot sector of the previous windows installation.
    Someone else also presented a similar solution like yours to roll back from Win 8 to Win 7 here:
    He also added that last command to restore the boot sector: d:\boot\bootsect /nt60 e: However he hated the result after booting to Windows 7 (a lot of error messages) and did not recommend his method. My questions : 1) Did you deliberately exclude that last command? 2) Could that command be the cause of the error messages?

    1. There is no need of doing that as this method worked for me and also without any errors and also do notice that those boot sector commands are not to restore windows 7 as mentioned on Microsoft support site. Those command are not needed to restore to Windows 7 so that guy faced those errors i guess..anyways all the best if you are trying to recover your windows 7..

  5. please help me guys.. i was following these steps when my computer run into problem.. i really don't know how reverse my actions anymore. i renamed all the windows folder into windows.dp as shown in this blog's "step 3". however when when it was time to copy and move the windows.old old, command prompt says "access is denied". i was frustrated so i exited the set-up. what i didn't realized was that i forgot to re-rename the windows files into their original folder names. so when i booted my computer, their is no more windows file to boot anymore.. help me here guys... the OS is not working.. at least help me in using command prompt again..

    1. ...please i really need your advice guys

  6. Apology for late reply but I would help you...if you are still facing the let me know for the same.

  7. hi...Im student from Informatics engineering nice article,
    thanks for sharing :)

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