How to roll back from Windows 11 version 22H2

How to roll back from Windows 11 version 22H2

Microsoft is gearing up to release Windows 11 version 22H2 later this year, and it’s packed with new features. From the return of features like Start menu folders and taskbar drag-and-drop, to new additions like touch gestures for tablets and 2-in-1 laptops, it’s definitely an exciting update for various reasons. But, as tends to be the case, issues are bound to crop up, or maybe you don’t like a particular change that affects your workflow. You may find yourself wishing you could roll back from Windows 11 version 22H2, and thankfully, you can.

Windows 11 gives you the option to roll back any major update for up to ten days after you first install it, so you can get back to something you know is more stable and works better for you. And to help you out, we’re going to show you how you can do it. Let’s get started.


Rolling back from Windows 11 version 22H2

Rolling back a Windows feature update is actually not as difficult as it may seem. Whenever you install a major update, Windows 11 creates a copy of your system files and saves them on your PC for ten days, which lets you easily go back to that version of Windows. However, those files are deleted after the ten days have passed, so you have a limited time frame to do it. Also note that you can delete these files using the Disk Cleanup utility or the Settings app to remove temporary files, so try to avoid using these tools until the ten days have passed.

If the old files are still on your PC, then you can simply follow these steps to roll back from Windows 11 version 22H2:

  1. Before you get started, you may want to back up your files. They shouldn’t disappear, but it’s generally best to be safe.
  2. Open the Settings app. You can open the Start menu then choose Settings, or use Windows Search to find it.
  3. In the System section (which opens by default), scroll down and click Recovery.
    Windows 11 Settings with Recovery option highlighted
  4. You should see an option labeled Go back; click it to get started. If it’s greyed out, it means the temporary files for rolling back are no longer available.
    Windows 11 Settings Recovery page with Go back option highlighted
  5. You’ll be asked why you want to roll back, so check any reason that applies, then click Next.
  6. A prompt will show up asking you whether you want to check for updates before rolling back, where you have to click No, thanks. Then a couple more warnings will show up – click Next after reading them, and your computer will restart to begin rolling back.
    A Windows prompt warning users that some settings will be reverted after rolling back to a previous version
  7. The process may take a while depending on how fast your computer is, but for most PCs, it should only take a few minutes. Once it’s done, you’ll need to sign in with the password you were using before upgrading to Windows 11 version 22H2 (if you were using one).

And that’s it! You should now be using the initial release of Windows 11 again, or whatever version of Windows you were running prior to the update. You won’t be forced to upgrade again anytime soon, but you can always check for updates when you’re willing to try Windows 11 version 22H2 again.

Clean installing Windows 11

If more than ten days have passed since you installed Windows 11 version 22H2, you may not be able to use this method to roll back anymore. If you want to go back to a previous version of Windows 11, you’ll have to lose all your data and clean install Windows 11. With Windows 11 version 22H2 being the latest available, Microsoft probably won’t offer download links for the initial release of Windows 11 anymore, so you’ll have to use an unofficial source, such as TechBench, to download Windows 11. As of writing this article, you can still download the official Windows 11 ISO from Microsoft’s website and save it for later, because version 22H2 is only available in the Windows Insider program.

Once you have an ISO, you can simply double-click it to mount it as a virtual drive, then run the setup file inside to begin the installation process.

Windows 11 File Explorer showing the files inside an virtual drive mounted using a Windows 11 ISO. The setup file is selected.

Then, follow the steps in the setup process to begin the installation. Because you’re installing an older version of Windows, you won’t be able to keep any of your data, but otherwise, you should be able to click through the process with no issues.

Windows 11 setup showing that no personal files can be kept due to installing an older version of Windows

Alternatively, if you want to use a bootable USB drive, you can follow our guide to install Windows 11. Otherwise, if you were using Windows 10 before, you can follow this guide to roll back to Windows 10 instead. Microsoft still provides links to the latest version of Windows 10, which you can use for this process.

You definitely want to roll back within the 10-day period after upgrading, as it makes the whole process a lot easier in just about every way. Still, even if more than 10 days have passed, you have options, you’ll just be forced to back up your data if you want to keep it.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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