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I clicked downgrade on Windows 10 Settings to go back to my old Windows 8.1. I didn't like Windows 10 and it had a lot of issues. It did its thing when it rebooted and when it had finished, it quickly flashed a huge bsod (by huge I mean it seemed to think I had a bigger monitor so everything was shifted to the right, meaning I could only see that damn sad face that was right over on the right hand side of the screen) and as a result I can't see the error message.

I used Rufus and made a bootable USB with Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB. It booted into Troubleshoot and had loads of new options. I thought I was getting somewhere. However, I kept getting the "drive is locked" crap. Took me ages, and I don't know what I did (I've been following tutorials for hours now) but suddenly the option in System Restore, Go back to a previous build and refresh your pc now has the option Windows 8.1. I was over the moon!

So I selected "keep my files" and set it going.

It reaches 1% and then says it failed and no changes were made. I tried System Restore, I can click Windows 8.1, and it fails. The same goes with "Go back to the previous build". I removed the USB and it gave me the option to boot to safe mode alongside loads of different numbered options. I said no to see if the boot problem was solved - but it wasn't. I haven't been able to get those numbered options, including safe mode, to come back yet - can anyone help with that too?

So I'm sat here now at a loss. I've tried countless command prompt things, made bootable USBs, tried every option from the startup repair and nothing works. I need the files on my computer as they are for music, school and the book I am writing. I don't have a hard drive as big as the one in my computer to simply "transfer" them over, they are stuck on my computer.

Please, I need help. Any help is appreciated. Any link, or command prompt trick, anything.

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  • Quick way to salvage files: make Ubuntu or other Linux distro boot USB drive; boot from USB and save your files (not whole system) to USB. Sep 13, 2015 at 2:35

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I have read your question carefully and in my opinion there isn't much you can do to actually boot either Win10 or Win8 anymore. It's better to face the truth and start from here than keep walking in the dark and try any more tricks that will eventually lead to corrupting your data. Of course i might be wrong and there could be some simple solution but chances aren't too high.

So instead of making this POS running i would consider salvaging those important data. You said you had no big enough drive to copy everything but then it means that you have a smaller one. So why not just put that other drive into your machine and actually install fresh Win8 there? BTW i'm still on Win7 and i see no reason to move to 8 or 10 and i most likely won't ever just like i never used Vista and jumped to 7 straight from XP Pro.

After you installed Win8 on the smaller drive you simply connect the corrupted one also and browse/copy/move stuff until you are done. All in all it will take you less time than solving the issue.

I just wish you asked here before downgrading - i would say: HELL NO. Never in my life i trusted Windows with both upgrades and downgrades. It simply doesn't work as it should.

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  • Super User is a knowledge base rather than a forum. Answers should focus on a factual response that answers the question. Citing an authoritative source is always a good idea. Most of your answer is opinion, commentary, and rant. As is, it is likely to attract downvotes. I would suggest either deleting this answer, or seriously edit it to remove everything that isn't a fact-based solution to the question.
    – fixer1234
    Jan 1, 2016 at 6:04

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