The Windows 11 beta recently got its first big version update, but it brought a major change that some users aren’t happy with: You can no longer revert back to the classic Windows start menu layout. Instead, Windows 11 users are now forced to use the redesigned start menu and taskbar, which sits centered at the bottom of the screen. The update even patches out a registry edit trick that restores the old layout. The new start menu doesn’t look bad, per se, but many users are unhappy with the change.
Now, it’s possible this is just a temporary change and the old Start menu will return in a future update—but it’s not the only issue Windows Insiders have run into. Windows 11 is still in the early test phase, so bugs, missing features, and compatibility issues are common. While Windows 11’s final form could be worth upgrading, some users may regret upgrading to the beta.
If that’s you, don’t worry, you can return to Windows 10 (and its Start menu layout). There are two rollback methods:
- Revert to an old version of Window from the Windows 11 settings menu.
- Reinstall a clean instance of Windows 10 using an installation disc or USB drive.
Reverting back to Windows 10 from the Windows 11 settings is the quickest and easiest option, as it leaves your personal files intact. However, it’s only available for 10 days after installing Windows 11, after which your old system files are permanently deleted and can’t be restored, so it won’t be available to beta testers who’ve been using Windows 11 for a few weeks.
Luckily, you can still reinstall Windows 10 using installation media, but doing so reverts your PC back to its factory settings, so your files and apps will be deleted.
In either option, you should back up your files before proceeding. Even though the revert method keeps your files, it’s always possible something could go wrong. We cover several methods for backing up your Windows PC here, but the best way is to just copy everything you want to save over to an external hard drive.
How to go back to Windows 10 from Windows 11’s settings menu
- Go to Settings > System > Recovery.
- Scroll to Recovery Options > Previous Version of Windows, and select “Go back” if it’s available. If it’s not, skip down to method 2 below.
- You’ll be asked to provide a reason for uninstalling Windows 11, and then if you want to check for updates instead of uninstalling Windows 11. Click “No, thanks” to continue with the rollback.
- Follow the remaining on-screen prompts then select “Go back to earlier build” to finally start the process.
- Let the rollback process complete. This may take a while, but once it’s done, you’ll be safely back on Windows 10 with your files intact.
How to uninstall Windows 11 and reinstall Windows 10
Reinstalling Windows 10 requires some form of physical installation media. If you own a Windows 10 installation disc (and your PC has a disc drive), pop that sucker in and follow the on-screen installation instructions.
If you don’t have an installation disc—and I assume most folks don’t—you can make your own installation disc or USB stick. You’ll need to download the Windows 10 installation media creation tool (available here), a blank disc, or a USB thumb drive with at least 8GBs of space.
Run the program then follow the on-screen instructions to create your installation media and run the Windows 10 installation process. This will take a while. You’ll also have to install Windows updates, reinstall your apps, and restore your backup files, so set aside a solid chunk of time before you update.