Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @adacosta for the latest tips, tricks and updates in the world of Windows 10. Technical Level : IntermediateSummaryIf you have installed a recent release of Windows in the past 15 years, you pretty much know what it will be like to install Windows 11. In this article, we take a look at performing a clean install. This includes starting a clean install from within a running version of Windows or a hard disk/SSD with no previous Windows installations.
Perform a clean install by booting from install media (DVD or USB thumb drive). Perform a clean install using Reset in Windows 10 or Windows 10 Refresh Tools (Start Fresh).
Reinstalling Windows 10 Is Necessary
What to know before you start
- Windows 11 is a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.As long as your current Windows 10 installation is activated, you can upgrade for free or perform a clean install using your existing Windows 10 product key. Just make sure you are installing the Windows 11 edition that currently corresponds with your Windows 10 edition. Perform a Clean Install on an Empty Hard Disk/SSD or Reinstall by Booting from Install Media (DVD or USB Thumb Drive).
- Once your computer is set to boot from the DVD, you should see this option to boot from the installation media.Press any key to load Windows setup files. Learn more here.The Windows logo will appear on screen, this might be here for a while, as long as you see the animating dots, everything should be ok.
- Select your Language, Time and Keyboard method then click Next.Click Install now. Windows 11 setup will prompt you for a product key during installation a couple times.
- If you originally upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 click the option 'I don't have a key' and 'Do this later' .
- If you have a Windows 10 or Windows 11 product key, you can proceed to enter it.Setup will also prompt you to select the edition you have a license for - Home or Pro. Please make sure you choose the right edition. If you choose the wrong edition, your only option will be to perform a clean install again. The copy of Windows 11 you download and upgrade from will correspond with the edition of Windows you have installed, if it does not, this is why you might be experiencing problems activating:.
- Accept the license terms then click Next.Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) . NOTE: Sometimes Windows 11 setup can become confused if it see's a thumb drive. You might get a driver missing error or something to that effect. If you do, restart setup, but this time, when you arrive at the following screen, disconnect your thumb drive then go through Custom options.
- NOTE: The System Reserved partition is where recovery files are kept for diagnostics and repairing damaged Windows 11 files; or even reinstall Windows 11.Follow the on-screen instructions and click Reset when prompted. The options vary depending on your setup, but you’ll always be notified of which types of files will be removed and which will remain. Once you click Reset, the PC will reboot and begin to reinstall Windows.
- Wait while Windows installs. When this phase of setup is complete, Windows will automatically restart then reboot into setup again. Windows is detecting and installing your hardware. After this is complete, Windows will restart one last time. Out of Box Experience.
- If you already have Windows 11 installed, you can use the built in Reset function, Recovery Drive or Refresh Tools (Start Fresh) in Windows 10 do so.Learn how in the following article:. How to Perform a Clean Install by Starting Setup from Within a Running Version of Windows. If you are running Windows 7 or Windows 8.0, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, launch Windows 11 setup using ISO Media:. During setup, at the Ready to install screen, click Change what to keep link. Click Next to being the installation. How to Verify If You Downloaded or Installed the Latest Version Windows.
- If your Windows 10 operating system runs into a problem, it might slow down or even stop working normally.What will you do to solve this issue? Usually, the first thing to do is to search on the internet for a solution. If you are lucky enough, you may successfully find a solution for your issues. Nevertheless, in often times the problem may still exist even after trying all the possible methods. In that case, the only effective solution is to reinstall Windows 10. This may be your last resort to revert your PC back to the normal working state. However, reinstalling Windows can sacrifice your data and applications on your drive.
- In the following sections, you will learn how to reinstall Windows 10 without CD and how to reinstall Windows 10 with USB drive.Quick Video Guide:. ① Reinstall Windows 10 While Keeping Files.
- Windows 10 comes with a feature called Reset This PC, using which you can either choose to keep your personal files or remove them and then reinstall Windows.Resetting is a good solution for a PC that isn't working well. The merit of this solution is that Windows does not require any additional downloads nor installation media to initiate the setup.
- Step 1: To do this, please go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery.Step 2: Click Get started under Reset this PC section. Note: If your system encounter issues after upgrading Windows 10, you can try a downgrade from a previous version or an earlier build instead of the OS reinstallation.Under the Recovery tab, click Get started under the respective option to revert your Windows to its previous installation.
What if I can't access Settings?
- To reinstall Windows 10 without losing data, you should choose Keep my files.Step 4: After the process has been prepared, a window will pop up saying that your apps will be removed. Click Next to go on. Step 5: In Ready to reset this PC interface, click the Reset button to reinstall Windows 10 without CD or loss of personal files. Tip:You Windows may freeze during the reset. To fix this issue, get the solutions in this post - Here Are Three Ways to Fix the Windows 10 Freezing at Reset Issue! How to reset a computer that isn't working properly? If the system fails to start up, how to reinstall Windows 10 from boot?
- ②Reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB: Directly from ISO File.Microsoft comes with a media creation tool that can upgrade this PC to Windows 10 by creating an installation media or directly using the ISO file to install Windows 10.
- If you don't have an installation CD or USB flash drive, how to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data?Here, we will use the Windows ISO file. Step 1:Download the media creation tool from Microsoft.
- Step 2: Get the Windows 10 ISO file.Open the downloaded tool, and choose Create installation media for another PC. Tip:If you want to reinstall Windows 10 on a PC that already has Windows 10 activated, use the Upgrade this PC now option.
- Choose language, architecture (32 or 64-bit) and edition to continue.Check the ISO file option to create an installation ISO. Note that this tool requires the ISO to be burned to a DVD later.
- Step 3: If you need to install Windows 10 directly from the ISO file without a USB drive or DVD, mount the ISO file.This also performs an upgrade of your current OS to Windows 10. To mount the ISO file:.
- Find the ISO file and right-click it, select Properties.Under the General tab, click Change, select Windows Explorer to open this file and click OK.
- Right-click this file and choose Mount.Double-click the ISO file to view the included files and double-click setup.exe to start Windows 10 setup. Step 4: After the setup is ready, decide whether to download and install updates or not. Here, we suggest choosing the first option.
- These updates will smooth the installation by including important fixes and updated device drivers.Step 5: The setup will check for some available updates. Step 6: Click the Accept button in the License terms screen. Step 7: The setup will start looking for updates and downloading them.
- Step 8: After everything is ready, you will see Ready to install screen where you can click the link labeled - Change what to keep.Step 9: Then, three options are offered. If you need to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data and apps, please check Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings.
- Step 10: Then, this setup will then go back to Ready to install screen.Now click Install to begin the Windows 10 reinstallation. After finishing the reinstallation, follow the instructions to customize your settings. ③ Run Windows Setup from a Partition Containing the ISO File. Another way to reinstall Windows 10 without CD or USB is by running the Command Prompt and opening Windows setup from the partition containing an ISO file.
- If you have a non-working computer, you should choose to reinstall Windows 10 from a USB drive or a CD disc.This method also requires the Windows media creation tool. How to reinstall Windows 10 from boot? Connect a USB drive or DVD disc to another working PC. Download a media creation tool on the working PC. Run the media creation tool and select Create installation media for another PC and USB flash drive. You could directly burn the ISO file to the USB or disc. Plug the USB or disc into the non-working computer and change the boot order, so it can boot from the USB or disc.
- How to reinstall Windows 10 after the free upgrade?Actually, it is possible to free reinstall Windows 10. When you upgrade your OS to Windows 10, Windows 10 will be automatically activated online.
- This allows you to reinstall Windows 10 at any time without purchasing a license again.To reinstall Windows 10 after its free upgrade, you can choose to perform a clean install from a USB drive or with CD. Just follow the guide mentioned above. A system image includes all the Windows OS files, settings, programs and personal files, so it is a good option to restore Windows to a normal state.To ensure the best solutions for OS issues, we strongly recommend backing up your Windows OS and then perform a system image recovery to reinstall Windows 10.
How to reinstall Windows 10
More Windows 10 tips
How to Reinstall Windows 10 Without Losing Data
- Knowing how to reinstall Windows 10 can be extremely useful for a variety of reasons.
- Perhaps your Windows device isn’t functioning correctly and you need to return it to its original state, or maybe you're selling or giving away your device and want a clean installation before parting with it.
- Thankfully, Microsoft has made the task of reinstalling Windows 10 extremely straightforward by building the feature into the operating system itself.
- That said, the reinstallation process can be fairly lengthy, so make sure you’ve set aside plenty of time and don’t need immediate access to your device.
- How to use Windows 10 like a pro. The best laptops currently available.
To reinstall Windows 10 from your settings, click the Start menu, which is usually located at the bottom-left corner of the screen. From there, click the Setting button or the gear icon, which should be at the bottom-left corner of the Start menu. Select “Update and Security,” which has an icon that looks like 2 curved arrows. When you’re ready to update, click “Recovery,” then “Get Started” under “Reset this PC.” Follow the on-screen prompts, then click “Reset.” If you’re using a laptop, remember to plug it in before you get started! Keep reading to learn how to reinstall Windows from a recovery drive.