How to Roll Back Builds and Uninstall Updates on Windows 10

Windows 10 Rollback Build

Windows 10 automatically installs updates in the background. Which is fine until a rogue update breaks your system. In which case you need to know how to roll back builds and uninstall updates on Windows 10.

If you find a recent update is causing problems with your software or hardware, you’ll need to know how to roll back to a known safe configuration.

There are two types of updates in Windows 10. Regular patches come down the line on Patch Tuesdays (mostly). Then there are periodic big “builds” of Windows 10 released over a staggered period, controlled by Microsoft so that the entire global user base doesn’t hit the update servers all at once. Build 1703, “Redstone 2” came out April 5, 2017. The next major build 1709 or “Redstone 3” went out October 17, 2017. Not everyone has received it yet.

Uninstall Major Updates, or “Builds”

Note this is also an essential troubleshooting step if you are in the Windows Insider Program. If you find a new, unstable preview build of Windows 10 caused problems, or is too unstable, you can roll back to a previous build.

To uninstall a build, open the Start screen or Start menu and select Settings. Navigate to Update & security > Recovery.

Select the “Get started” button under Go back to an earlier build to uninstall the current build of Windows 10 and go back to a previous build.

Second note; This isn’t a way to opt out of new builds. Windows 10 will automatically download and install the next major build that’s released. All this does is roll back after you’ve downloaded and installed that entire new build.

If you don’t see this option, it may be been too long since you last  upgraded to the current build. Windows 10 automatically removes the installation files after 30 days. If you run the Disk Cleanup tool and removed the “Previous Windows installation(s)” files, you are also unable to roll back – the previous version is no longer on the machine. New builds are installed  like new versions of Windows. In order to go back to a previous build after those 30 day, you would have to reinstall Windows 10 or restore your machine from a full-system backup .

Uninstall Windows Updates

You can also uninstall the regular, minor updates should any of them cause problems. Open the Settings app, navigate to Update & security > Windows Update, select Advanced options,  select View your update history, This pane shows a list of the updates Windows has recently installed, sorted by date installed.

You can use the search box in the top-right corner of the window to search for a specific update by its Knowledge Base (KB) number, if you know the exact number of the update you want to uninstall.

Select an update and click Uninstall – or double-click it – to uninstall it.

A couple of restrictions apply here. Every build is a fresh slate to which minor updates are applied. Therefore this list only allows you to remove updates that Windows has installed since installing the previous “build”.  It does not hold update history of all updates forever, as new builds incorporate or supercede minor updates and will overwrite them, much like the old “Windows Service Packs” that rolled up all the changes.

What about the optional download of Microsoft’s “Show or hide updates” troubleshooter? In theory you could use this to block the a specific update from automatically downloading in the future. Like all of the Windows Troubleshooters, this is far from effective and will not prevent a future build incorporating a specific update from applying it automatically.

You may never see a troublesome Windows update, but if one does throw an inconvenient spanner in the works, you have some resource to roll back, selectively uninstall or defer until Microsoft fixes the problem. AJS

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