Windows 11 Fresh Start

Posted on  by admin

This article describes ways to install Windows 11. Note: To upgrade to Windows 11, devices should meet the Windows 11 minimum system requirements. Some Windows 10 features aren't available in Windows 11. System requirements to experience some Windows 11 features and apps will exceed the Windows 11 minimum system requirements. Find Windows 11 specs, features, and computer requirements. Make sure the device you want to install Windows 11 on meets the minimum system requirements.

If your device is currently running Windows 10, we recommend you verify the minimum system requirements using the PC Health Check app. We do not recommend installing Windows 11 on a device that doesn't meet requirements. For more info, see Installing Windows 11 on devices that don't meet minimum system requirements.

If you’re upgrading from Windows 10, we recommend you wait until you're notified through Windows Update that the upgrade is ready for your device. To check if Windows 11 is ready for your device, select Start > Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Check for updates.

For known issues that might affect your device, you can also check the Windows release health hub. Use the Installation Assistant to upgrade We recommend you wait until your device has been offered the upgrade to Windows 11 before you use the Installation Assistant.

Perform a Clean Boot on Windows 11

When you're ready, you can find it on the Windows 11 software download page. Create Windows 11 installation media On the Windows 11 software download page, select Create tool now and follow the instructions to install Windows 11.

Microsoft recommends against installing Windows 11 on a device that does not meet the Windows 11 minimum system requirements. If you choose to install Windows 11 on a device that does not meet these requirements, and you acknowledge and understand the risks, you can create the following registry key values and bypass the check for TPM 2.0 (at least TPM 1.2 is required) and the CPU family and model.

Related articles

Registry Key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Setup\MoSetup. Name: AllowUpgradesWithUnsupportedTPMOrCPU. Type: REG_DWORD. Note: Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method.

Step 2: Hide All Microsoft Services

These problems might require that you reinstall the operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk. There are two installation paths available:.

After factory reset

Upgrade by launching Setup on the media while running Windows 10. You will have the option to: a. Perform a Full Upgrade, which keeps personal files (including drivers), apps, and Windows Settings.

This is the default experience and is the one that Installation Assistant uses. Keep Data Only will keep personal files (including drivers) only, not apps and not Windows Settings.

Clean Install will install Windows 11 and keep nothing from the Windows 10 installation.

  1. For more info, see Give your PC a Fresh Start. Boot from media to launch Setup.
  2. This path is a clean install and will not retain previous files or settings.
  3. For more info, see Give your PC a Fresh Start.

    Important: You should verify that your device meets minimum system requirements before you choose to boot from media, because it will allow you to install Windows 11 if you have at least TPM 1.2 (instead of the minimum system requirement of TPM 2.0), and it will not verify that your processor is on the approved CPU list based on family and model of processor.

  4. Create an image install.
  5. Use DISM or 3rd party tools to directly apply an existing Windows 11 image to the disk.

    Important: An image install of Windows 11 will not check for the following requirements: TPM 2.0 (at least TPM 1.2 is required) and CPU family and model.

  6. Resetting your PC lets you perform a clean reinstallation and update of Windows while keeping your personal data and most Windows settings intact.
  7. In some cases, a clean installation may improve your device's performance, security, browsing experience, and battery life.

    To reset your PC, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started.

Then, select Keep my files, choose cloud or local, change your settings, and set Restore preinstalled apps?

Step 1: Disable Startup Programs

Note: If you don't see the option to Restore preinstalled apps, it means your PC doesn't have preinstalled apps configured. In versions of Windows 10 prior to version 2004 this feature was called Fresh Start and to use it you'd select Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender > Device performance & health.

Under Fresh Start, select Additional info > Get Started. Important: Resetting your PC (or using Fresh Start) will remove most of your apps, including Microsoft Office, third-party anti-virus software, and desktop apps that came pre-installed on your device.

  1. You will not be able to recover removed apps, and will need to manually reinstall these apps.
  2. You may also lose your digital licenses and digital content associated with apps, which may impact your ability to use these apps or app-related content you paid for.

    %HOMEPATH%

    If you're running into problems on a Windows 11 computer, you can perform a clean boot to try to diagnose the issue.

  3. This page is very helpful for users who don’t know what a clean boot is, the security of clean boot, and how to do a clean boot in the Windows 11 system.
  4. Please follow the guide carefully to avoid unnecessary troubles.

    Users will think of performing a clean boot when encountering problems on a Windows device but don’t know what is causing this.

  5. How to clean boot Windows 11?
  6. The following content covers the exact steps to clean boot in Windows 11 and shows you what to do after clean boot.

    Tip: A lot of practical MiniTool software is provided for Windows 11/10/8/7 and Mac users to help them solve problems, better manage drives, improve performance, and do many other things.

Please take a look at them and choose the ones you really need. Use this to recover data lost in Windows 11:.

Please read this part carefully if you don’t know exactly what does a clean boot mean and what does it do. What does a clean boot do? When you do a clean boot, only the essential files, programs, and services that are required by the Windows system will be loading; some apps may not work as you expected since the system is only started with a minimal set of drivers.

Windows 11 clean boot is one of the useful troubleshooting techniques used to help Windows 11 users identify the application or service that is causing an issue.

Preforming a clean boot in Windows 11 is especially effective for identifying the software conflicts caused by non-Microsoft products.

Windows Update in Settings (recommended)

What Is a Clean Boot

There are mainly 2 ways available for users who don’t know how to open Startup folder in Windows 11.

Please read them carefully. Clean boot and safe mode are both useful diagnostic modes in Windows. Many Windows users think clean boot is similar to starting system in safe mode, but they are actually two different things.

Other ways to install Windows 11 (not recommended)

There are 3 main differences between clean boot and safe mode. Clean boot disables all third-party add-ons that load at startup usually, while safe mode disables all but the most basic operating system components.

During clean boot, you have more control over which services and programs run at startup; this helps you to isolate the cause of a problem.

  1. You should start your system in safe mode when it has hardware, drivers, and software related issues.
  2. You should perform a clean boot when seeing error messages on the screen but don’t know what cause it.
  3. How to clean boot Windows 11?
  4. First, you should check whether you're signed into Windows 11 as an administrator. If not, please log out and then sign in with an administrator account.

    • Press Windows + S to open the search window. Type Task Manager and press Enter to open it. Another way to open Task Manager directly is to press Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
    • Click More details at the bottom left if it's displayed in a simplified mode. Shift to the Startup tab at the top. Select a startup item and click Disable.

    Repeat step 5 to disable all startup entries.

Close your Task Manager. Press Windows + S to open search feature or press Windows + R to open Run.

Reset Windows 11 to the Factory Settings

Type msconfig and press Enter. Shift to the Services tab of the System Configuration window.

  1. Check the Hide all Microsoft services option in the lower left corner.
  2. Click Disable all in the lower right corner.
  3. Click OK to confirm the changes. Select Restart in the pop-up window to restart your computer to apply the changes.
  4. Your Windows 11 PC will be started in a clean boot environment.

    • Then, you should open Task Manager to re-enable startup programs again (choose only a few at a time) or open System Configuration to re-enable the startup services to find the cause or your issue.
    • Does a clean boot erase everything? No, the clean boot will not delete any of your files or apps; it’s only a state of Windows to troubleshoot problems.

    Is clean boot safe?

Of course it’s safe. The clean boot only starts your Windows with minimum programs.

Clean Boot FAQs

When you reboot normally, all the startup programs will be launched again.

  1. What to do after clean boot?
  2. Remove/disable the problematic apps & services -> enable all startup programs and services -> restart your computer.
  3. Please be sure to follow me on Twitter @adacosta for the latest tips, tricks and updates in the world of Windows 10.
  4. 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).

How to factory reset Windows 11 preserving files

Perform a clean install using Reset in Windows 10 or Windows 10 Refresh Tools (Start Fresh). Perform a clean install from within a running version of Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 or Windows 10. Windows 11 is a free upgrade for Windows 10 users.

Before you begin

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 you have your Windows 10 installation media ready, all you need to do is boot from the disc or USB thumb drive to begin setup.

If you don't have install media, see instructions: How to download official Windows ISO files.

Review the following guide for instructions and details about configuring your BIOS or UEFI boot settings for DVD, CD, USB or SD Card.

What Is Windows 11 Clean Boot

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:.

Windows 10 Home > Windows 11 Home. Windows 10 Pro > Windows 11 Pro. If you are running specific editions of Windows 10 such as N, Single Language, Education, Pro Edu or Pro for Workstations, make sure you select the correct edition.

How to factory reset Windows 11 using remove everything option

Accept the license terms then click Next.

  1. Click Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) .
  2. NOTE: Sometimes Windows 11 setup can become confused if it see's a thumb drive.
  3. You might get a driver missing error or something to that effect.
  4. If you do, restart setup, but this time, when you arrive at the following screen, disconnect your thumb drive then go through Custom options.

    When setup is ready copy files, it will prompt you to reconnect the installation source (your USB).

    Select the drive then click New. NOTE: If you have multiple partitions listed, select each one (starting at the bottom), then click delete until there is only a single (one) unallocated drive displayed in the window. Select the unallocated drive listed, click New, click Apply then OK.

  5. This will split the drive into multiple partitions, select the Primary partition then click Next.
  6. NOTE: The System Reserved partition is where recovery files are kept for diagnostics and repairing damaged Windows 11 files; or even reinstall Windows 11.

    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. The Out of Box Experience page is where you get to configure detailed settings in Windows, which includes creating a user account, configure privacy, sync PC settings and install modern applications.

Perform a Clean Install Using Reset, Recovery Drive or Refresh Tools (Start Fresh) in Windows 11. 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.

After factory reset steps

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:.

  1. 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.

  2. Resetting your Windows 11 PC will allow you fix some issues or prepare your PC to sell.

    Doing so erases all your settings and allows you to start again with a clean slate.

  3. We’ll show you how to do just that. When you reset your PC, Windows 11 offers the option to either keep or delete your personal files.
  4. It deletes all your apps and settings in either case, though.
  5. Before you proceed, it’s a good idea to back up your data just in case.

    RELATED:What's the Best Way to Back Up My Computer?

  6. To begin the reset process, open the Settings app on your Windows 11 PC.

    Do this by pressing Windows+i keys at the same time.

  7. In Settings, from the left sidebar, select “System.”.
  8. On the “System” page, click “Recovery.”. In the “Recovery” menu, next to “Reset this PC,” click “Reset PC.”.
  9. You will see a “Reset this PC” window. In this window, choose one of the following two options:.

    Keep My Files: Select this option to delete your apps and settings but keep your personal files.

Remove Everything: Choose this option to remove your apps, settings, and even personal files. You should definitely choose this if you’re selling or giving away your device.

Summary :

A “How Would You Like to Reinstall Windows” screen will appear. If you’d like to reinstall Windows 11 from the cloud, select the “Cloud Download” option. To locally reinstall Windows 11, select the “Local Reinstall” option.

Clean Boot vs Safe Mode

If you’re not sure, we have a guide to choosing between cloud and local reinstall. Follow the instructions displayed on your screen to finish resetting your PC.

More Windows resources

When your PC is all reset, you’re ready to configure it from scratch.

  1. If you were resetting to solve a problem, be careful about what you install and how you customize Windows, or you might have to reset it again!
  2. Did you have a mapped network drive before the reset?
  3. If so, you might want to map that drive again.
  4. RELATED:How to Map a Network Drive on Windows 11. READ NEXT› How to Factory Reset Windows 10› How to Remove Viruses and Malware on Your Windows PC› How to Factory Reset Your Windows 10 PC Using Command Prompt› Warning: You Can’t Trust “Reset This PC” on Windows (For Now)› What’s a Good Internal PC Temperature?› MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Gaming Keyboard Review: Weightless Keys for the Win› How Much Download Speed Do You Really Need?› What Does the Skull Emoji Mean?

    › How to Factory Reset Windows 10.

  5. › How to Remove Viruses and Malware on Your Windows PC.
  6. › How to Factory Reset Your Windows 10 PC Using Command Prompt.

    › Warning: You Can’t Trust “Reset This PC” on Windows (For Now).

  7. › What’s a Good Internal PC Temperature?
  8. › MSI Vigor GK71 Sonic Gaming Keyboard Review: Weightless Keys for the Win.

    › How Much Download Speed Do You Really Need?

  9. › What Does the Skull Emoji Mean?
  10. On Windows 11, if you have been using the same setup for a long time or are experiencing issues with the computer, you can use the "Reset this PC" feature to revert the system to factory default settings to resolve most common problems and improve performance.
  11. The "Reset this PC" feature has been available since Windows 10, and on Windows 11, it also allows you to reinstall Windows with multiple options.

    For example, you have an option to restore the factory settings keeping your settings and files, and there is another option to remove everything to help resolve problems starting up or shutting down, excessive memory usage, performance running apps, battery draining quickly, or getting rid off a tough malware.

  12. The feature even offers an option to use the original image instead of a custom manufacturer recovery image that may contain unwanted bloatware and configurations.

In this Windows 11 guide, we'll walk you through three different methods to reset your computer to its factory settings without your files or erasing everything.

Check for updates

To reset a Windows 11 laptop or desktop to its factory default settings without losing the files, use these steps:.

  1. Click on System.
  2. Click the Recovery page on the right side.
  3. Source: Windows Central.
  4. Under the "Recovery options" section, click the Reset PC button for the "Reset this PC" feature.

    Source: Windows Central.

  5. Click the Keep my files option.

    Source: Windows Central.

  6. Select the option to reset Windows 11:.
  7. Source: Windows Central. Cloud download: Download a fresh copy of the installation from the cloud and reinstall Windows 11.

    However, this option will not restore the tools, apps, and configuration that came with the original image provided by the manufacturer.

  8. Local reinstall: Uses the files already available to reset the computer.
  9. If this is a branded device (such as Dell, Asus, Lenovo, etc.), this process will restore the factory drivers, settings, and tools.
  10. Review the apps to reinstall after the reset to factory settings. Click the Next buttion.

    Source: Windows Central.

  11. Click the Reset button. Source: Windows Central.
  12. Once you complete the steps, the computer will reset to the factory settings preserving your files.

    After the reset is complete, check for updates to ensure that Windows 11 is not missing any security, patches, or drivers.

  13. Also, you may need to reinstall any of your previous applications as necessary.
  14. To install updates for Windows 11, use these steps:.

Click on Windows Update. Click the Check for updates button. Source: Windows Central.

Check for missing drivers

Once you complete the steps, Windows Update will download the latest patches and drivers updates (if available).

  1. To check for missing drivers after the "Reset this PC," use these steps:.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Confirm that there's no branch called "Other devices," which usually lists devices without drivers.
  4. Source: Windows Central. If you have one or more devices with missing drivers, check the computer manufacturer support website to download and install the latest drivers available.

    The last thing left to do is to reinstall any app previously installed on your computer (if applicable).

  5. To use the reset feature removing everything on a computer that you use for working at home or gaming, use these steps:.

    Click on System. Click the Recovery page on the right side.

  6. Source: Windows Central.
  7. Under the "Recovery options" section, click the Reset PC button for the "Reset this PC" feature.

    Source: Windows Central.

  8. Click the Remove everything option.
  9. Source: Windows Central. Select the Cloud download or Local reinstall, depending on how you want to reset the system.
  10. Source: Windows Central. (Optional) Click the Change settings option.

    Source: Windows Central.

  11. Turn on the Data erasure toggle switch.
  12. Quick note: Use this option if you are preparing the computer for sale.

    Otherwise, if you are trying to refresh the installation, the default reset settings are recommended.

  13. (Optional) Turn on the Data drives toggle switch to erase the Windows 11 installation drive and any other storage drive connected to your computer.
  14. Click the Confirm button.

Source: Windows Central. Review the apps to reinstall after the reset to factory settings. Click the Next button.

Restore files from backup

Click the Reset button. Source: Windows Central. After you complete the steps, the process will erase the drives depending on your configuration and install a clean copy of Windows 11.

  1. If you are selling the device, you don't need to do anything else.
  2. However, in the case that you are starting over with the device, there are some extra steps, including checking for updates and missing drivers, and you want to reinstall your applications and restore your files from backup.
  3. To install updates for Windows 11, use these steps:.
  4. Click on Windows Update. Click the Check for updates button. Source: Windows Central.

    Once you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and install any missing updates and drivers (if available).

  5. To check for missing drivers after the "Reset this PC," use these steps:.
  6. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.

    Confirm that there's no branch called "Other devices," which usually lists devices without drivers.

  7. Source: Windows Central. If you have components without drivers, check the computer manufacturer support website to download and install the latest drivers available.
  8. If you have a backup of your files, now is time to restore them.

The recovery process will be different depending on the file backup method. For example, if you use OneDrive, the files may already be syncing on the computer; however, if they are not, you may need to reconfigure the app again.

Checking for updates

If you backed up your files manually to an external drive, connect the portable drive, and use these steps:. Open File Explorer. Click on This PC from the left pane. Under the "Devices and drives" section, double-click the storage with the file backup.

Source: Windows Central. Select the files and folders. Click the Copy button. Source: Windows Central. Open the destination folder.

How to create USB for clean install of Windows 11

Click the Paste button. Source: Windows Central. Once you complete the steps, you may need to repeat the steps to restore additional files.

Create Windows 11 USB with Media Creation Tool

If you are missing any application, now is the time to install them.

  1. For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 11 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:.
  2. Under the "Create Windows 11 Installation Media" section, click the Download now button to save the file on the device.

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Double-click the MediaCreationToolW11.exe file to launch the tool.
  4. Click the Accept button to agree to the terms.
  5. (Optional) Clear the Use the recommended options for this PC option.

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Select the correct language and edition of Windows 11.
  7. Click the Next button.
  8. Select the USB flash drive option.

    Source: Windows Central

  9. Click the Next button
  10. Select the USB flash drive.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If the device is not in the list, click the "Refresh drive list" option to make it available.

  11. Click the Next button.
  12. Click the Finish button.

After you complete the steps, the application will download the files and create an installation media, which you can then use to boot the device and proceed with a fresh copy of Windows 11.

Create Windows 11 USB with Rufus

You can also use the Rufus tool to create the installation media. Rufus is a free tool with many options to help you create a bootable media of Windows 11, 10, or 8.1 faster. However, it's important to remember that it's a third-party option, which Microsoft does not support. As such, use it at your own risk.

To use Rufus to create a Windows 11 USB installer, connect a flash drive of at least 8GB of space, and then use these steps:

  1. Open Rufus download page.
  2. Under the "Download" section, click the link to save the latest release on your device.

    Source: Windows Central

  3. Double-click the Rufus-x.xx.exe file to launch the tool.
  4. Click the Settings button (third button from the left) at the bottom of the page.

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Under the "Settings" section, use the Check for updates drop-down menu and select the Daily option.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: These steps are necessary to enable the ISO download feature.

  6. Click the Close button.
  7. Close the Rufus tool.
  8. Relaunch the Rufus tool.
  9. Under the "Device" section, use the drop-down menu to select the USB flash drive.
  10. Under the "Boot selection" section, click the down arrow button on the right and select the Download option.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If you already have an ISO file, click the Select button, select the Windows 11 ISO file, and continue with step No. 24.

  11. Click the Download button.
  12. Use the "Version" drop-down menu and select the Windows 11 option.
  13. Click the Continue button.
  14. Select the latest build – for example, 21H2 (build 22000.194 - 2021.10).

    Source: Windows Central

  15. Click the Continue button.
  16. Use the "Edition" drop-down menu and select the Windows 11 Home/Pro option.
  17. Click the Continue button.
  18. Use the "Language" drop-down menu and select your installation language.

    Quick tip: If you are in the United States, select the "English" option, not "English International."

  19. Click the Continue button.
  20. Use the "Architecture" drop-down menu and select the 64-bit since Windows 11 doesn't come in 32-bit.
  21. Click the Download button.
  22. Select a folder location to download the ISO file.
  23. Click the Save button.
  24. Use the "Image option" drop-down menu to select the Standard Windows installation option.
  25. Use the "Partition scheme" drop-down menu to select the GPT option.
  26. Use the "Target system" drop-down menu to select the UEFI (non CSM) option.

    Source: Windows Central

  27. Under the "Show Advanced drive properties" section, don't change the default settings.
  28. Under the "Volume label" field, enter a descriptive name for the drive — for example, "win11_usb."
  29. Don't change the default settings under the "File system" and "Cluster size" sections.
  30. Click the Show advanced format options button.
  31. Select the Quick format and Create extended label and icon files options.
  32. Click the Start button.
  33. Click the OK button to confirm.
  34. Click the Close button.

Once you complete the steps, Rufus will download the ISO file from the Microsoft servers and create the bootable installation media.

How to perform clean install of Windows 11

The Windows 11 installation has two parts, like on Windows 10. First is the setup, and second is the out-of-box experience (OOBE). In the first part, you will configure some basic settings, select the target drive, configure the partitions, and begin the clean installation process.

The second part happens after the installation, and it is where you will choose your settings (such as region, keyboard, network), create an account, and confirm your privacy settings.

Windows 11 clean install process

After the preparation instructions, you can proceed with the clean install of Windows 11, which is straightforward.

Warning: This is another friendly reminder that this process will erase everything on the computer. Before proceeding, it's always recommended to make a temporary full backup of your PC.

To do a clean installation of Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Start the PC with Windows 11 USB flash drive.
  2. On prompt, press any key to boot from the device.
  3. On the "Windows Setup," click the Next button.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If your language, time and currency, and keyboard are different from the default selections, make sure to select the correct settings before continuing.

  4. Click the Install now button.

    Source: Windows Central

  5. If this is a reinstallation, click the I don't have a product key option to continue. Otherwise, in the case that this is your first time installing Windows 11, enter the product key.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: In either case, you can always complete the installation and then activate using the Settings app.

  6. Click the Next button.
  7. Select the edition of Windows 11 (If applicable).

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: The selection has to match the edition that the product key activates. If you do not select the correct edition, Windows 11 won't activate, and you will have to redo the entire process again.

  8. Click the Next button.
  9. Select the I accept the license terms option to continue.
  10. Click the Next button.
  11. Click the Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced) option to continue with a clean installation.

    Source: Windows Central

  12. Select the partition with the current installation (usually "Drive 0"), and click the Delete button.

    Quick tip: If "Drive 0" has multiple partitions, you have to select and delete each partition to allow the setup to use the entire hard drive for the new setup. The Windows 11 setup will create the required partitions automatically during the process. Also, it is not necessary to delete the partitions on secondary drives.

  13. Click the Yes button.
  14. Select the empty drive (Drive 0 Unallocated Space).

    Source: Windows Central

  15. Click the Next button.

After you complete the steps, the setup will install a fresh copy of Windows 11 on the laptop or desktop computer.

If you plan to get rid of the device, you can stop now and let the new owner go through the out-of-box experience. However, you are upgrading the system, continue with the instructions below.

Windows 11 out-of-box experience

After the installation, you have to continue with the OOBE to choose your preferences and create a new account.

To complete the out-of-box experience on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Select your region.

    Source: Windows Central

  2. Click the Next button.
  3. Select your keyboard layout setting.

    Source: Windows Central

  4. Click the Yes button.
  5. Click the Skip button unless you need to select a second layout.

    Source: Windows Central

  6. Connect to the Wi-Fi network (if applicable).

    Quick note: If you are using an Ethernet connection, the device will connect automatically.

  7. (Optional) Confirm a name for the device.

    Source: Windows Central

  8. Click the Next button.

    Quick note: If you proceed with this step, the device will restart automatically, but you will be able to pick up where you left off.

  9. Select the Set up for personal use option on Windows 11 Pro. Windows 11 Home does not have this option.

    Source: Windows Central

  10. Click the Next button.
  11. Confirm your Microsoft account to create an account.

    Source: Windows Central

  12. Click the Next button.
  13. Confirm your account password.
  14. Click the Next button.
  15. Click the Create PIN button.

    Source: Windows Central

  16. Create a four-digit PIN to log in without a password.

    Source: Windows Central

  17. Click the OK button.
  18. Select the Set up as new device option.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick note: If you use the same Microsoft account associated with other Windows installations, you can select to restore your settings from a previous installation. However, if you want to start fresh, you should choose to set up a new device.

  19. Click the Next button.
  20. Choose your privacy settings.
  21. Click the Next button.

    Source: Windows Central

  22. Click the Next button again.
  23. Click the Accept button.
  24. Select one or more ways you plan to use the device to allow the setup to suggest tools, services, and ads throughout your Windows 11 experience.
  25. Click the Accept or Skip button to skip this configuration.

    Source: Windows Central

  26. Select the Back up my files with OneDrive option to automatically upload the Desktop, Pictures, and Documents folders to the cloud. Or Select the Only save file to this PC option to keep your files on your device.

    Source: Windows Central

  27. Click the Next button.
  28. Click the No, thanks button to skip the Microsoft Office installation unless you have a subscription.

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the process will continue and finish setting up the computer automatically.

How to complete setup after install of Windows 11

After the installation, you should download any available system and driver updates and confirm that Windows 11 is properly activated.

Install updates

To check for updates on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Check for updates button.

    Source: Windows Central

Once you complete the steps, the available updates will download and install automatically.

Check missing drivers

To determine whether device drivers are missing, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Confirm that none of the devices have a yellow or red mark, and make sure nothing is listed as unknown.

    Source: Windows Central

If multiple devices have problems, you may need to manually download and install the latest drivers from your computer manufacturer's support website.

Install missing drivers

Windows Update may also include updates for drivers, but these might be optional installs. If the device is missing one or multiple drivers, you may be able to download them from Windows Update.

To download missing drivers using Windows Update, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Windows Update.
  3. Click the Advanced options page.
  4. Under the "Additional options" section, click the Optional updates option.

    Source: Windows Central

    Quick tip: If the option isn't available, it means that Windows Update doesn't have any driver updates for your device at that time.

  5. Click the Driver updates section.
  6. Select the missing driver.
  7. Click the Download and install button.

After you complete the steps, Windows Update will download and install the missing drivers automatically.

Confirm activation

To confirm Windows 11 was activated correctly, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on System.
  3. Click the Activation page on the right-side.
  4. Click the Activation state setting.
  5. If Windows 11 is activated successfully, one of the following messages would appear:

    • Windows is activated with a digital license: The installation has been activated, but it isn't linked to your Microsoft account.
    • Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account: The installation has been activated, and the license is linked to your Microsoft account.

    Source: Windows Central

If the installation is not activated, the system will try to reactivate at a later time.

Reinstall apps

Once you complete the post-installation steps, it's time to reinstall your applications, including your favorite web browser, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Opera to browse the web if different from Microsoft Edge.

If you use Spotify or iTunes to listen to tunes while working or surfing the internet, you can download these apps and other from the Microsoft Store.

Also, you should now download and install the suite of Office apps to start working with Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Restore files from backup

If you created a backup, you could now restore the files on the new installation. In the case you are using OneDrive, the files should already be syncing to your device. However, if the app did not configure automatically, you can use this guide.

In the case that the backup you created is located on an external storage, then connect the drive to the computer and restore the data.

To restore files from a previous backup on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Under the This PC section in the left pane, select the external drive with the files backup.
  3. Select the folders with the file that you want to restore.

    Quick tip: If you backed the profile folders (Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc.) manually, it's best to open each folder, select the contents, and then restore them inside the corresponding folder in the new installation.

  4. Right-click the selection and choose the Copy option.

    Source: Windows Central

  5. Navigate to the destination folder to restore the files — for example, the Documents folder.
  6. Right-click on an empty space and select the Paste option.

    Source: Windows Central

After you complete the steps, the files will restore in the location you specified.

While there are multiple ways to approach a clean installation, such as using the Media Creation Tool or the Reset this PC feature, these methods are limited and don't always work as expected.

More Windows resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10 and Windows 11, visit the following resources:

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

⚠️MAX⚠️

Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX headset review: Maximum compatibility

The Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 MAX boasts truly absurd 40-hour battery life, and some of the most impressive cross-platform capabilities in the biz. Is this $200 headset worth the asking price, though? We went ears on to find out.