This is the least invasive option officially supported by Windows for repairing any major issues with your Windows installation. This will leave any files stored on your computer intact, but it will uninstall any software that you have installed, except for those you’ve installed from the Windows App Store.
If you’re having a few minor problems with your Windows install, and just want to undo some changes that might have been made to core operating system files, this may be a good option. It’s relatively noninvasive and lets you keep any saved files on your computer. You will have to reinstall a lot of software, so it’s recommended that prior to conducting a refresh, you backup any important files associated with the software you have installed, like game save files or configuration files.
To access the option to refresh your Windows 10 installation, open “Windows Security”, which you can access from the Start menu. From here, go to the “Device performance & health” tab, and select “Additional info” from the “Fresh Start” section.
From there, you’ll be taken to the “Fresh Start” screen, which will give you some details about the process, and give you the option to “Get started”. Once you’ve backup up any important files associated with software that will be uninstalled during this process, you should be ready to select “Get started”.
Windows will then guide you through the step by step process to complete a refresh. Windows says that this process will take 20 minutes in total, but it will depend on your hardware configuration and other factors.
Upon completion, you’ll have a Windows install that has been cleaned of harmful elements or misconfigured settings.
This is not a total system wipe, and whilst it will reliably get rid of the vast majority of malware, due to some files remaining untouched during this process, there are other options that offer a more comprehensive solution for wiping your computer clean for a new start.