In earlier versions of Windows, if you wanted to reinstall the system, you had to have a good understanding of how the operating system works. I personally had to ask my son-in-law (who is an IT administrator) to do this for me as it was beyond my skill set.
But with Windows 10, reinstalling is MUCH easier. Suddenly reinstalling the system was as easy as a few clicks.
If you wish, the system will keep all your personal files in place until the actual operating system (and installed software) is wiped and reinstalled. The entire process from start to finish took less than thirty minutes (not including reinstalling all the software I needed).
I went through this recovery process a few weeks ago, and my computer instantly went from an arthritic snail to Wylie Coyote to crystal methamphetamine.
First backup! Backup!
While you can choose not to let Windows delete your personal files, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t completely trust the software to do what you tell it to.
Therefore, before proceeding with this process, back up everything to a portable hard drive. Don’t risk skipping this step, especially if we’re talking about irreplaceable memories like your photos.
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You should also make a list of all the software you have installed so you know what to reinstall. Again, if you really need it, don’t forget to install it after all.
Get the ball rolling
Open the Windows menu and click the Settings icon.
When the Settings window opens, click on Update & Security.
In the next window, you will see several options. Look at the recovery option and click on it.
There are several options on the recovery page. You can revert to a previous version of Windows 10 if the current one doesn’t work for some reason. Or you can start Windows from a disc or USB stick (using the media creation tool I wrote about earlier).
But we will choose the first option – reset this computer. So click “Get Started” to get started.
First, you will be asked if you want your personal files to be stored on your computer. Or, if you want to completely and completely erase your hard drive. If you’ve backed up everything to a portable hard drive, you might think the “nuclear option” is a good idea. It all depends on you.
Your computer will now tell you to wait while it does “something” behind the scenes. After a few seconds, you will see the following message. This is your last chance to step back before the process begins.
Read what is going to happen and perhaps see the list of apps to uninstall. When you are satisfied with everything, click “Reset” and the process will begin.
What happens next?
This is one of those things when you need to go away and let the computer do its thing. It took thirty minutes for me from start to finish, but your experience can vary based on various factors.
Your computer will reinstall the system and reboot several times before finally showing the login screen where you can log in. Now you need to sit down and reinstall your software (and check if your files are actually still there).
To prevent this process from being tedious, I would wait and reinstall something only when I really need it. You can realize that you don’t need anything else and save hard drive space (and speed) in the process.