How To Use Windows Fresh Start PC Reset For A Clean Reinstall Of Windows

The May 2020 update of Windows 10 has brought with it an improved feature: the Windows 10 Fresh Start utility which is no longer a security setting but a proper re-installation mechanism in your device’s settings that allows you to reinstall Windows without losing any of your data whilst removing unnecessary bloatware and applications on your computer that you do not need or do not use. This “Fresh Start” feature has now been renamed to “Reset Your PC” and can be found in the Windows 10 settings menu. It can be used to reset your device so that it

Before the introduction of the Windows Fresh Start utility, ridding your system of excessive bloatware was often resolved by performing a clean installation of Windows. This required that you keep the Windows installation disk on hand and back up any data on an external drive before performing a complete operating system re-install that entirely wipes your system and then installs Windows 10 directly from the installation disk you insert. This improved Windows 10 Fresh Start utility allows you to keep your files intact whilst performing a re-install of the operating system.

Using The Recovery Rest Fresh Start Utility

To use this clean Windows reinstallation utility:

  1. Head into your system’s settings and click on “Update & Security”
    Windows Settings Application
  2. In the Update & Security menu, you will see “Recovery” as the sixth option. Click on this.
  3. On the page that opens up at the left, the first option at the top of your screen will be the “Reset this PC” option. There will be a button under it that reads “Get Started.” Click on this.
    Reset PC Option To Perform A “Fresh Start” Clean Reinstallation Of Windows
  4. A Reset this PC dialogue box will pop up on your screen that will prompt you to choose whether you would like to keep your files or remove everything.
    • Keeping your files keeps the actual content and data that you save but it uninstalls and removes all applications and their settings or registry entries. You may lose application licenses if they were standalone one-time installations so keep that in mind.
    • If you elect to remove everything, the system will remove all of your applications, their data, and all of your personal files as well. This is similar to a traditional complete reinstall of Windows from scratch using an external disk, but without the use of such an external disk as your system keeps a clean reinstallation copy of Windows within its own hard disk for this purpose.
    • Whichever option you choose, we still recommend that you back up your system in case of any mishaps to avoid losing any of your data. If you would not like to keep any of it then you can proceed right ahead.
      Option to Keep Your Files Or Completely Delete Everything During The Reinstall
  5. When you click on one of the two options, you will be directed to the next page that allows you to choose between whether you would like to cloud download your Windows installation or perform a local reinstall.
    • If you have a fast internet connection, we recommend using the cloud download option. This is because the local installation file could be corrupted and performing an installation using it could corrupt your operating system. It is not necessary that the file is corrupted and may well operate fine, but performing a cloud download is safer as it will fetch the operating system files directly from Microsoft’s server.
  6. On the next page, you will be shown your data retention and Windows installation options that you have picked up till now. Verify that these are the settings you would like to proceed with. Click on “Back” at the bottom of your screen at this point if the settings are not what you would like. Be careful in this procedure as it is irreversible.
  7. On this same screen, you will see an option to Change settings under your selected settings. Click on this. Next to the “Restore preinstalled apps” prompt, set that option to “No.” The reason for this is that certain preinstalled apps that the manufacture-installed on your system could in fact be the bloatware culprit on your device. It is best to not reinstall them and perform manual individual reinstalls of applications after the reset so that you only have the applications that you actually use and need. After toggling this setting, click on “Confirm” at the bottom of your screen.
    • You may not see the “Restore preinstalled apps” command in the “Change Settings” menu if your operating system was installed by yourself or if the manufacturer did not install any applications on your system. If that is the case, you have nothing to worry about.
  8. Your system will now process a complete reinstallation of Windows. Keep it connected to power and running to avoid any interruptions in the process. This may take several hours depending upon the speed of your internet connection if you opted for the cloud download or a while anyway even if you opted for the local installation. Be patient and refrain from pressing any key on your computer. Once the installation completes, you will be able to set up your Windows again from scratch and sign in to your Microsoft account the way you would on a brand new store-bought device.

Windows Fresh Start PC Reset vs. Manual Re-Installation Of Windows From External Disk

Someone that is s a little old school in this matter and prefers to perform a complete wipeout and installation of Windows 10 the traditional way may have their reasons for doing so. The complete reinstall does feel like a clean slate startup as to where the Fresh Start utility gives you the option of keeping your files intact which may give off the feeling that the system was not cleared up of bloatware properly. The verdict on this lies in the fact that if your system is slowing down due to applications that are using up your system’s resources or negatively impacting its performance, a Fresh Start clean reinstall of Windows will resolve the problem.

If you feel that you have too much data that is fragmented across your disks as well, then we recommend reinstalling Windows the traditional way. It will completely wipe your system and ensure that no hidden files or traces remain that could slow down your system’s performance or its memory. While the PC Reset Fresh Start utility does allow you to remove all of your personal files, applications, and settings as well (basically, completely delete everything), it does keep your operating system’s installation files in a certain amount of space which it then uses to perform a completely new install of the operating system. There is a misconception that this can carry hidden bloatware. That is not the case. The Windows PC Reset has ensured that all data is deleted if you chose to remove all files so that you get a completely clean install of Windows. Beyond that, if you are looking for convenience, then Windows has made its PC Reset facility quite effective in this manner and it will do just the trick.

Final Thoughts

The new and improved Windows Fresh Start PC Reset utility goes a long way in ridding your system of bloatware and performing a from the scratch installation of your operating system. Traditional techies may prefer to use the old reinstall from a disk method, but this new feature is just as effective and more efficient and hassle free. We highly recommend giving this a shot and letting go of the old school ways because this will do the exact same job in a quicker amount of time, with more customizability, and with less coordination required in terms of getting a hold of a clean Windows installation disk image.

Alyssa Arford


Alyssa Arford is an aspiring Electrical & Electronics Engineer with a vested interest in the innovation and design of computer hardware. Her passion for understanding the nitty gritty of how hardware components come together and playing around with the potential of silicon devices puts her in a position to confidently discuss emerging technologies and their implications in advanced computing.

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How To Use Windows Fresh Start PC Reset For A Clean Reinstall Of Windows

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