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How to uninstall Windows 8.1

The easiest way to undo your Windows 8.1 upgrade is to avoid doing the work in the first place.

Rick Broida

November 4, 2013 12:52 PM PST

Hope you prefer Windows 8.1, because when you install it, there's very little going back.

Hope you want Windows 8.1, because as soon as you install it, there's almost no going back.

(Credit: Microsoft)

By most accounts, Windows 8.1 improves on Windows 8 by tweaking an individual interface, adding a boot-to-desktop option, and restoring the Start button (albeit not the one you're acquainted with).

However, the upgrade is responsible for a variety of difficulties for at least one user: me. And determined by some user forums I've visited, I'm faraway from the only one. You can read the gory (and telling) details in but suffice to convey, all I want at this point would be to restore my system to Windows 8.

That mustn't be any trouble, right? After all, Windows 8.1 is often a dot-release, a update. It's not the mammoth shift from, say, Windows XP to Windows 7. And Microsoft's own System Restore feature continues to be baked into the OS since that time Windows Me, so several clicks is all it should take. Right?

Nope. There is no uninstall choice for Windows 8.1, no System Restore support, not a way to retreat time for Windows 8. Period. Once you install Windows 8.1, you're stuck with it. Forever.

At least, that's the case for me. And it's as a consequence of an inexplicable, jaw-dropping condition associated with the upgrade that's mentioned in the very bottom of Microsoft's Windows 8.1 FAQ:

After you install Windows 8.1, you'll not be able to utilize the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

Wait, what? Windows 8.1 disables, destroys, or otherwise denies my recovery partition?! I'm unsure, but I think I just found the grounds for my lawsuit. (Attorneys, I'm all ears!) All I know is my Samsung Series 9 won't permit me to create a recovery drive, nor can I run Windows' refresh or reset options because Windows says the mandatory files are missing.

According to Microsoft, "If you might have upgraded from Windows 8 Pro with Media Center to Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center, you may be able to regenerate it returning to Windows 8 by refreshing your PC."

I'm unclear why only Pro users are afforded this "might have the ability to" option, but whatever -- it's worth a try. If you're not informed about the "refresh" feature, CNET's Ed Rhee explains the way you use both refresh and reset in Windows 8.

However, bear in mind you'll need physical Windows 8 installation media (either thumb drive or DVD), if your manufacturer didn't supply it so you didn't spend some time to create your own before installing Windows 8.1, you might have a problem.

That's where I'm stuck right this moment. I'll update the post assuming I'm capable of figure out a workaround. In the meantime, issues had any luck retreating to Windows 8, hit your comments ought to and tell us the process you used.

Read the complete CNET Review

Microsoft Windows 8.1

The main point here: If you're a dedicated Windows 8 hater, the update to Windows 8.1 won't change your mind. For everyone else, this number of tweaks, fixes, and new features is useful, but everything here really should have shipped in the original version recently. Read Full Review

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