I'm currently facing the issue that I can't restore the my previous installation of Windows. I did the following things:

  • Try to "repair-install" Windows on top of Windows using the Media Creation Tool due to a few oddities I noticed. This failed due to the error "An unknown command-line option [/DynamicUpdate] was specified".
  • Made an ISO using the Media Creation Tool and used that to "repair-install" Windows, or so I thought - apparently, doing it this way removes all your data and apps... (this is where it all started)
  • Tried to go back to the previous version using the Settings app - no luck here, as the button was simply missing
  • Made a image of the hard drive just so I can't mess up any more things
  • Copy the contents of the Windows.old folder manually to their previous place (using robocopy to ensure that all attributes and permissions were copied properly) - This mostly worked, as in I got back into Windows and the data were where they should be, but I couldn't start most UWP apps or the start menu, so something must've gone wrong. (It is possible that I forgot to delete a folder before copying the old versions, but I didn't try this again)
  • Convert the drive to GPT (previously MBR) - this was done because I noticed a few minor issues trying to boot in UEFI mode during the previous steps
  • Reinstall Windows using a newly created installer USB stick
  • Copy the Windows.old folder from the drive image onto the drive (again using robocopy)
  • Try to roll back using the recovery mode of the installer USB - this fails with the error "We ran into a problem and won't be able to take you back to the previous version of Windows. Try resetting your PC instead" (which I obviously don't want to/already did) - there's no error code
  • Rolling back from within Windows is still not possible

Any suggestions on how I could fix the problem? Where does the "We ran into a problem..." error come from?

  • Your not going to be able to roll back to a previous version due to the actions you took. – Ramhound Jan 28 '18 at 1:41
  • @Ramhound What action exactly makes it impossible to go back? – Lukas Lang Jan 28 '18 at 8:19
  • When you attempted to repair the installation. I assume you booted to the iso and installed Windows within the installation environment – Ramhound Jan 28 '18 at 14:39
  • Yes, that's what I did (second step in the list above) - however, this creates a Windows.old folder and puts everything inside there, so this should in principle be revertible, right? – Lukas Lang Jan 28 '18 at 14:45
  • No, it’s not, only actions taken within Windows are reversible – Ramhound Jan 28 '18 at 16:01

I have found a way that (mostly) worked: * Clean install Windows * Boot into the recovery console * Delete all folders that are present inside Windows.old, this includes Windows, ProgramData, Users, Program Files,... * Copy everything from Windows.old (from the backup on another drive) to the disk where Windows is installed using robocopy. The command I used is the following (F being the backup drive and G the drive of Windows):

robocopy F:\Windows.old G:\ /E /COPYALL /SEC /DCOPY:DAT /SL /R:0 /W:1 /LOG:G:\copy.log /TEE /NP /EFSRAW

This worked for me, but it wasn't my intent. I'm assuming you're currently on windows 10, and want to roll back to either 7 or 8. There should be a "make a backup/restore disk for this computer" entry, if you look for something along those lines. I'm sorry I don't remember the exact name, but it's similar to that. That makes a backup of your repair partition, which doesn't get changed in a system update. So, if nothings changed since I did this, you should get your old OS back. Just make sure your files are backed up when you restore, as nothing will remain after a full OS reinstall. Everything should come back to the way it was when you first bought the laptop, including the bloatware, which is annoying, but as far as I'm aware, there isn't another way to fix this.

  • As I've written, I know how to go back and do a fresh start - the goal is not to do this. (Also, I've started out with Windows 10) – Lukas Lang Jan 28 '18 at 9:51
  • I don't believe there is any way to roll back without your files being deleted off of the machine. You're going to have to back them up and reinstall your programs. There just isn't a way around it. Downvoting my answer doesn't fix that. – GarrukApex Jan 28 '18 at 15:57
  • That's sad to hear... I'll try a few more things, but it seems like I don't have a choice given yours and Ramhound's comments. And just fyi, I'm not the one who downvoted - I am thankful for any comment on my situation, even if that comment is "no, it's impossible" – Lukas Lang Jan 28 '18 at 16:25

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