There are several reasons for wanting to reset a PC or perform a clean install of Windows. For example, some PC manufacturers bundle various programs and extras with their computers, but the items included are not always wanted. In fact, some people dislike them and call it bloatware.
There have been some really bad Windows PCs in the past and bloatware has made them slow and troublesome. It can take a couple of hours to clean up a PC like this. A clean fresh start with just the core Windows files and none of the bloat will solve the problem.
After you have had your computer for a few years, junk fills the disk and software, particularly programs that auto-start with Windows, consume the memory and the once-fast computer becomes slow and buggy.
A clean install of Windows refreshes the PC, restores the original performance, cleans up the disk and memory. It is like getting a new computer.
Reset this PC
Windows 10 has some obvious ways to reset the PC and you can open the Settings app, click Update & security, and then select Recovery on the left. On the right are options to Reset this PC and Go back to an earlier build.
More recovery options
There is one more option at the bottom called More recovery options. Click the link Learn how to start afresh with a clean installation of Windows.
This opens a web browser window and goes to the Microsoft website where there is a software download. It provides a tool for resetting the PC and performing a clean install of Windows 10. No DVD is required.
The utility removes all apps that are not standard in Windows. This includes app you have installed yourself and apps that your PC supplier has added.
It also removes any software you have, so you need to be able to reinstall anything you want to keep. You will need the original download and your license if it is commercial software.
If you have just bought a new or second hand PC and simple want to clean it up, and you haven’t yet installed anything yourself, then go ahead. If you have valuable software installed then think carefully about whether you can easily reinstall it.
Click the button at the bottom of the page, Download tool now. Save it to disk.
When the download is complete (it is a tiny tool and takes just seconds to download), run it from the Downloads folder.
Refresh and reinstall clean Windows
Click through the license screen and this screen appears:
You have two choices and you can either keep your personal files (photos, documents, music, videos) or nothing. Selecting Nothing erases everything, but even if you choose to keep your personal files, it would be wise to make a copy of anything you want to keep on an external USB disk drive.
As well as removing unwanted bloatware or refreshing an old PC, it could be a useful option if you are selling a computer. You can reset it and erase everything that was on it before handing it over to someone else.
If you are selling or giving away your computer, it would also be a good idea to erase the free space on the disk after resetting it. Ccleaner can do this and it would prevent anyone from recovering deleted software and personal files.