Windows 10 Insider Preview – How to rollback or downgrade to stable build

Windows 10 Insider Preview - How to rollback or downgrade to stable build

In case if you are looking to rollback or downgrade to stable build on your Windows 10 Insider Preview, read along to know how!

Windows 10 is indeed a great operating system in its own right. It keeps getting feature updates and other quality updates from time to time. However, there are times when you do not want to wait for the stable build. The stable builds tend to take a while before they are released to the public domain. That is precisely when you will think of the beta updates.

What is Windows 10 Insider Build Preview?

If you are used the beta builds on other operating systems and software programs, an Insider Build Preview is just that – a beta program to help you get hold of and test the new features that have not yet made it to the public domain.

The Insider Preview Build is the fancy name that Microsoft loves to call its beta builds as. If you have registered to Windows 10 Insider Preview Build, you will have access to the new features and changes made to the Windows operating system, before the other users can have access to.

Exciting as it may be, but it comes with its own issues. A preview build is not yet tested thoroughly for regular use. The purpose of releasing a preview build is to let the end users have an experience of the new features and test their functionality. This will translate it into a lot of many bugs.

When it comes to the insider preview build, Windows 10 does offer you three different options to choose from. Fond of fancy names as Microsoft is, it calls these three stages as Rings. The Insider preview Build, as you must be aware as of now, is released for the testers and even before the official stable build is ready. These are in-progress builds and are sent out to the Windows Insiders or those who are using these beta versions (also known as dogfooding).

You have three Rings depending upon your willingness to experience the bugs. These are referred to them as the fast ring, slow ring, and Release preview ring. Those in the fast circle receive the very latest versions or updates. In essence, the users of fast ring versions would be experienced beta testers and have been known to provide highly technical feedback to Microsoft.

A few builds tend to make an appearance on the slow right after they have passed through the fast ring. These are slightly refined updates and provide you access to a reasonably less number of bugs and issues. The Preview ring is where you are only given an insight into the upcoming features on the new build. You will get no access at all to the actual build. This can be a less risky option, and it will not jeopardize your Windows 10 installation in any manner.

Is it Necessary to reinstall Windows 10 to get back to the stable version? – Or downgrade to stable build?

When you sign up for the Windows insider preview build, Windows warns you to that if you want to get back to the stable build, you need to reinstall Windows 10. This is one of the scary situations. Having to reinstall Windows 10 will mean losing out all your installed applications and associated settings.

You just need to have a Microsoft Account and go through a few clicks to sign up for the Windows Insider preview build. After a slight wait, the insider builds – depending upon the ring you have chosen – will be delivered to your through the Windows Update program.

However, if in the future, what if you wanted to move out of the insider preview and get back to the stable version? Microsoft does not guarantee you that you would be able to downgrade from the Insider preview build into a stable build. Since the Insider preview build is always higher than the stable build, it will amount to rolling back t the previous version, and this is perhaps something you will not be able to achieve straight away.

That is precisely why you should not use a PC or laptop that you work on for upgrading to an Insider preview build. If you have a secondary PC or can work on a virtual machine, that would be the best option for upgrading. You will have nothing to lose but can experience the upcoming features before the regular users have access to it.

How to Rollback or downgrade to a Stable Build?

Like we stated before, there are no options as such for rolling back to your older version or to a stable build. Of course, Windows does warn you, but there are a few options that may work, and you may be able to roll back to the stable build.

Here are a few options that can be helpful and let you downgrade or rollback to the stable build from an insider preview build. The methods can be considered to be the workarounds and should ideally help address the concern of having to reinstall Windows 10 effectively.

Leave Windows Insider Preview Build at the right time

Now, what does that mean? Imagine you are using an insider preview build and the build is about to become stable. There is a chance, and you should be careful to observe it.

When the same build that you are currently using is turning stable, leave the insider preview program. The theory and technique are simple. Imagine you are on Insider preview Build, and a significant feature update is about to be released. When it is released, the build on which you are right now is no longer an insider build, but the current build, or as it is called in beta circles, the current branch. Now that you will not receive any new insider builds for a short while now, you can leave the insider build program and will be on the stable build automatically.

This method will require you to track when exactly your preview build is likely to become stable. It can be an easy task if you have been following the Windows 10 releases. Microsoft will always announce a release date for the final version of the build. You should find about it through the press releases and tech websites.

Here is how you can do it –

  • Launch your Windows Settings
  • Click on the Updates and Security
  • Click on the option Windows Insider Program
  • Next, click on Stop Insider Preview Build option
  • Click on Keep giving me builds until the next Windows release option
  • Click on Confirm when you are asked to confirm.

You should now be prompted to restart your computer. Accept the prompt and restart your computer. That does it, and you will be on the latest build that you are currently on. You will continue to receive future updates as peer the stable build.

Roll back quickly enough once joining the insider program

If you entered the Windows insider program a few days ago, you should be able to roll back to the stable version. In case you have joined the Windows Insider program in the last ten days or so, going back to the stable build should not be a huge concern.

Windows 10 lets you go back to the previous build if it has been only ten days or less than that you have joined a Windows insider preview build program. You can check it by going into the following path –

Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. 

If you find the Go Back to an Earlier Build option under page, you can click on Get Started button just under that.

Once the rollback is completed, go once again to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Insider Program. Check if you have the option for disabling the insider preview build. If it has, just tap the corresponding areas and disable the insider preview builds.

If you do not find the option to disable the Insider preview builds, it may be indicative of the fact that you cannot disable or move out of the preview builds. In such situations, the only option left for you is to reinstall Windows 10.

Reinstall Windows 10 if nothing works

If you fail across both those options – that is, it has been more than ten days since you have opted for the Windows 10 insider preview builds program, or there is no stable version that matches your current build is coming up anytime soon.

The only option that you have to rollback or downgrade to a stable build will be to reinstall Windows 10. You do not have any other choice of opting out of the insider preview build except for reinstalling or waiting impatiently for the matching stable build.

Do note that reinstalling Windows 10 is bound to remove all your files. If you have any critical data that you do not want to lose, it may be a great idea to back them up before taking up the task of reinstallation. You will also tend to lose all your applications or operating system level changes made either on the previous stable build or the preview build.

Once you have reinstalled Windows 10, you will have access to the most recent stable build on your computer.

In Conclusion

The insider preview build options can be a risky affair. It is not recommended to opt for the insider preview builds on the computer that you usually use. Using it on your everyday computer may not be advisable. If you really want to check the new feature updates and have no access to a secondary PC or laptop, it would be prudent to check if you can get it done on a virtual machine. This will not affect your regular PC.

If you have already on insider preview builds, check the possibility of rolling back or downgrading without having to reinstall your Windows 10 version. In case everything fails, a clean installation is the only option you will be left with.

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