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Operating Systems Windows

Windows 10 Clean Install and Fresh Start options

Windows 10 offers a recovery option to do a clean install.  Warning:  this option will remove installed applications and files.  Do a backup of your PC before choosing this option.

This tool may be accessed by clicking Start button > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > “More recovery options” – “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows”.  This option can also be found at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10startfresh.

Windows 10 Fresh Start will perform a clean reinstallation and update of Windows while keeping user personal data and most Windows settings intact, but Fresh Start will remove installed apps and digital licenses and digital content associated with apps.  Fresh Start can be run by selecting Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Defender > Device performance & Health.  Under Fresh Start, select Additional info > Get Started.  Update: in the Windows 10 May 2020 update (version 2004), this functionality has been moved to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started.

Another option for reinstalling Windows is to create installation media. Instructions for this are available at support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/15088/windows-create-installation-media.

A list of Recovery options in Windows 10 is also at support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12415/windows-10-recovery-options.