Plus an important thing to do first
In earlier incarnations of Windows, if you wanted to reinstall the system, you needed to be deeply knowledgeable in how the operating system worked. I personally had to get my brother-in-law (who is an IT admin) to do it for me as it was way beyond my skill-set.
But with Windows 10, things suddenly got a LOT easier on the reinstallation front. Suddenly, reinstalling the system is as simple as a few clicks of the mouse.
If you want, the system will keep all of your personal files in place while the actual operating system (and installed software) gets wiped and reinstalled. The whole process from beginning to end took less than thirty minutes (not including reinstalling all of the software I needed).
I did this restore process a few weeks back and my computer instantly went from being an arthritic snail to Wiley Coyote on crystal meth.
First…..Back Up! Back Up!
Although you can choose for Windows to not delete your personal files, it goes without saying that you shouldn’t completely trust a piece of software to do what you tell it.
So before you go any further with this process, back up everything to a portable hard-drive. It’s not worth the risk of neglecting this step, especially if we’re talking about irreplaceable memories, such as your photos.
You should also make a list of all your installed software so you know what to reinstall afterwards. Then again, if you really need it, you’ll remember to install it eventually.
Getting The Reset Ball Rolling
Pull up your Windows menu and click the icon for Settings.
When the Settings box comes up, click on Update & Security.
In the next window, you will see multiple options. Look down to the Recovery option and click on that.
The Recovery page gives you several options. You can roll back to a previous version of Windows 10 if the current one is not working for some reason. Or you can start Windows from a disk or USB stick (using the Media Creation tool I previously wrote about).
But we will be going with the first option – Reset this PC. So click Get started to get the process rolling.
You will first be asked if you want your personal files to be kept on the computer. Or if you want a complete and total wipe of the hard-drive. If you have backed everything up to a portable hard-drive, you may decide the “nuclear option” is a good idea. Entirely up to you.
Your computer will now tell you to wait while it does “something” behind the scenes. A few moments later, you will see the following message. This is your last chance to back out before the process starts.
Read over what will happen and maybe review the list of apps to be removed. When everything is to your satisfaction, click Reset and it will begin.
What Happens Next?
This is one of those things where you need to walk away and let the computer do its thing. For me, it took thirty minutes from beginning to end, but your mileage might vary depending on various factors.
Your computer will reinstall the system and restart several times, before finally arriving at the login screen for you to log in. Now you need to sit and reinstall your software (and check that your files are actually still there).
To avoid this being a tedious process, I would wait and only reinstall something once you actually need it. You might realize that you don’t need something anymore and save some hard-drive space (and speed) in the process.