If you’re having problems with your PC, you can try to refresh, reset or restore it. Resetting your PC reinstalls Windows but gives you the choice whether it deletes your files, settings and apps. Restoring your PC is a way to undo recent system changes you’ve made. A Fresh Start completely removes all apps and reinstalls Windows 10 from scratch.
Refresh or Reset?
Refreshing and resetting your Windows 10 PC are two very different things and you should always make sure you know which is the best choice to solve your current problem.
If your PC isn’t performing as well as it once did, and you don’t know why, you can reset your PC without deleting any of your personal files or changing your settings. Apps or software not installed through the Store will be removed but Windows store apps will be reinstalled.
Open the main settings app and head in to the Update & Security section. Click on Recovery and you will see several options, including Reset this PC. If you can’t get into settings, you can access reset by restarting your computer while holding the Shift key; then select Troubleshoot > Reset.
In Settings > Recovery, click on ‘Get started’ to begin the process. You will now need to choose whether to keep your files (just remove apps and settings) or remove everything. If you choose Remove everything, you will then need to choose whether to ‘Remove and clean the drive’.
You will be warned that you won’t be able to roll back to a previous version of Windows after the reset (old Windows files will be deleted). Click Next and then Reset when prompted. Windows will restart and take several minutes to reset itself. Click Continue when promoted.
Perform a Fresh Start
Lets you perform a clean reinstallation and update of Windows while keeping your personal data and most Windows settings intact.
Be aware that Fresh Start will remove most of your apps from your device, so you will have some reinstalling to do. In some cases, a clean installation may improve your device’s startup and shutdown experience, memory usage, Microsoft Store apps performance, browsing experience and battery life.
To find the Fresh Start tool, open the Windows Defender tool (click on the shield icon in the taskbar) and then click on the Performance & Health section. You will need to click on Additional Info and then click Get Started. If Fresh Start has previously been performed, the date will be displayed here.
Microsoft recommends that you back up your files before making changes like a clean installation of Windows to your device. Make sure that you have access to all reinstallation media (such as CDs), product keys, license or login information and other materials needed to manually reinstall apps.
Click Get Started and you will see a UAC (User Account Control) dialog. Click Yes and the Fresh Start screen will appear. This screen provides a brief overview of what the Fresh Start procedure will do. You’ll also get a general idea of how long Fresh Start will take to complete the procedure.
The software will analyse your system and then tell you which apps will be removed. There is no need to make a note of these apps, as Fresh Start will save this list and create a file on the desktop of your new, clean Windows 10 installation. Read through the list if you wish, and then click Next.
A Fresh Start will wipe any previous versions of Windows, so you won’t be able to roll back. Click the Start button and wait for the process to complete. Once complete, your PC will restart and the initial setup screens will appear. Removed apps are displayed in an Edge document on the desktop.