Uninstall Windows XP To Restore Your Previous OS

You may need to uninstall Windows XP in case your computer starts behaving erratically after you upgrade your operating system. Windows XP provides you with two different methods that help you revert to your old operating system. However, to uninstall XP, your computer needs to meet the following requirements:

  • You can remove Windows XP only if you have upgraded your PC from Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, or Windows ME.
  • During the upgrade there must be enough space on the hard disk to store uninstallation files.
  • You must not delete the Windows XP removal files from the hard disk; otherwise the uninstallation will not be possible.

After you remove Windows XP, all programs and applications that were installed prior to Windows XP upgrade are preserved. However, the applications installed after the upgrade will not be available after the uninstallation. To use these applications, you may have to reinstall them after removing XP.

How do I Uninstall Using Add or Remove Programs?

To remove Windows XP using this method, perform the following steps:

  1. Turn off your PC and restart in Safe mode by pressing the F8 key during the system startup.
  2. Log on to you PC with a user that has administrative rights to the system.
  3. Open the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  4. In the Control Panel window, select the Add or Remove Programs icon.
  5. In the Add or Remove Programs window, double-click the Uninstall Windows XP option.
    Note: If this option is not available in the list, it might indicate that either the system was not able to save the uninstallation files during the upgrade, or that the files were deleted from the system after the upgrade. In this case, you will not be able to uninstall Windows XP and will have to reinstall Windows 98 or ME. However, back up all your critical data before starting the reinstallation process.
  6. Click Yes, when the message “Are you sure you want to uninstall Windows XP and restore your previous operating system?” is displayed.

After the uninstallation is complete, Windows restarts with your old OS-Windows 98, 98SE, or ME.

In case you have upgraded from Windows 95, Windows NT or Windows 2000, then you will not be able to remove Windows XP from the Add or Remove Programs tool. For this, you will have to restart your PC in Safe mode and reinstall the previous operating system. However, before reinstalling, you must remember to make a back up of critical data.

How do I Remove Windows XP from Command Prompt?

Command Prompt-based installation process is useful when you are not able to restart your PC even in Safe mode and are therefore, unable to access the Add or Remove Programs utility.

Perform the steps listed below to remove Windows XP from Command Prompt.

  1. Restart your PC and press F8 during the system startup.
  2. From the Boot menu, select the Safe Mode with Command Prompt option.
  3. Log on to the system with a user with administrative rights to the system.
  4. Type cd\ at command prompt and press the Enter key.
  5. Next, type osuninst.exe and press the Enter key.
  6. To start the uninstallation process and restore your previous OS, follow the instructions displayed on the screen.

After the uninstallation is complete, you may restart your PC with your old operating system.

You can easily upgrade your current Windows 98, 98SE, or ME system to Windows XP Home Edition and Pro Edition. However, if your system starts behaving erratically after the upgrade, you may need to uninstall Windows XP. If you have the required space on the hard disk, Windows XP removal files are saved automatically during the upgrade. You can remove Windows XP either by using the Add or Remove Programs tool or from the Command Prompt. After the uninstallation is complete, it might be a good idea to scan the system registry with a reliable registry cleaner software to ensure that all registry entries made during the upgrade are removed from the system.