A Fresh Start for your Windows Machine

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Is your Windows 10 machine starting to slow down? Does it have applications installed that you can’t remove? Did you know that there is an easy way to restore your machine to that lovely clean new state, or even better, clean without even the software the manufacturer decided that you really had to have? Fresh Start can improve your device’s startup and shutdown process, memory usage, browsing, battery life, and the performance for Microsoft Store apps.

This is not necessarily something you may wish to undertake if you are unsure about any of the warnings listed below, but could be quite useful to those that do. And whilst this procedure should maintain your files, as always, doing a backup first would be the wise course of action. Even if it is not required in the end, it is still a backup, which is always worth having.  Here are the available options:

Keep my files > Change settings > Preinstalled apps On

Reinstalls Windows 10 and keeps your personal files.

Removes apps and drivers you installed.

Removes changes you made to settings.

Restores any apps your PC manufacturer installed if your PC came with Windows 10.

Keep my files > Change settings > Preinstalled apps Off

Reinstalls Windows 10 and keeps your personal files.

Removes apps and drivers you installed.

Removes changes you made to settings.

Removes any apps your PC manufacturer installed.

Remove everything

Reinstalls Windows 10 and removes your personal files.

Removes apps and drivers you installed.

Removes changes you made to settings.

Removes any apps your PC manufacturer installed. (If your PC came with Windows 10, apps from your PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.)

Note: Remove everything > Change settings gives you two options.

Data erasure On removes files and cleans the drive. If you’re planning to donate, recycle, or sell your PC, use this option. This might take an hour or two, but it makes it harder for other people to recover files you’ve removed.

Data erasure Off just removes files. It takes less time, but is less secure.

Important

If you’ve encrypted your device, you’ll need your BitLocker key to reset your PC.

Warning

  • Fresh start removes third-party antivirus software and all apps that don’t come standard with Windows. This includes Microsoft apps such as Office, any desktop apps that came preinstalled on your device, and any Windows desktop apps, such as your device manufacturer’s apps, support apps, and drivers. It keeps only Microsoft Store apps that your manufacturer installed.
  • You’ll need to manually reinstall the apps that are removed. Once Fresh start is done, double-click the Removed Apps icon on your desktop to see a list of the apps that were removed.
  • You may lose your digital licenses, digital content associated with apps, or other digital entitlements for apps, which may impact your ability to use apps or app-related content that you paid for.

If you’ve read and understood all of the above and are comfortable with what is to all intents and purposes is a reinstall, all you need to do is go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery and select “Get Started” under “Reset this PC”.  Also, be aware that there is a troubleshooting option available to the right of this button that may be worth a try before diving into resetting.

All in all, this is a great tool to have, and kudos to Microsoft for including it!

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