A refresh of Windows 10 can help your PC to run as new. You may need to reset, restore or reinstall Windows to fix bugs or to get a speed boost if the operating system has been dragging its feet.
That might sound like a hassle but, in fact, Windows 10 makes it easy to reinstall your operating system. Before you attempt any such action, make a full backup of your PC as it currently stands, just in case you need to go back at any point later.
You can make file backups by clicking Start > Settings > Update & security > Backup, and you can create a system image of your entire PC by selecting Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and clicking Create a system image.
How to Refresh or Reset Windows 10
Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery. Here, you should see various options. Each performs a different type of recovery.
Click Get started here for two choices – Keep my files or Remove everything.
Windows 10 refresh: Keep my files
Important: while this method won't remove your files, it can remove your installed apps or programs. This means you'll need to have the product codes ready to re-enter when you re-install them. This is particularly important for paid-for software such as Microsoft Office or your security software. If you don't have your installation discs to hand, find and note down your unique software licence codes for when you reinstall apps.
Try the Keep my files option first – this is Windows Refresh. It leaves your personal files intact but replaces your system files. This uninstalls your apps and programs, so you’ll need to reinstall them manually once the process is complete.
(Alternative) Windows 10: Remove everything
Important: do not attempt this fix unless you have an up to date backup of your files on an external hard drive or in cloud storage.
Remove everything wipes your PC with a fresh installation of Windows 10. It should speed your PC up, but you’ll have to restore your files and apps afterwards. This means copying files back over from a hard drive, and in the case of apps or programs, reinstalling them all over again.
If you have any paid-for programs, note down the product download codes you originally used. You'll need to use these when reinstalling to avoid paying again.