How to Clean Up and Update PC to Refresh Windows 10
InformationStarting with Windows 10 Creators Update build 14986, Microsoft has added a new Clean up and update this PC feature.
Starting with Windows 10 build 15002, Microsoft is rebranding this feature as Refresh Windows on-demand in the Windows Defender dashboard app.
This option starts fresh by reinstalling and updating Windows. This will keep your personal files and some Windows settings and remove most of your apps.
Review the following important notes:
- Using this option will remove all apps that do not come standard with Windows, including other Microsoft apps such as Office. It will also remove Windows Desktop apps installed by your PC’s manufacturer such as your manufacturer’s apps, pre-installed third-party anti-virus software, and support apps. You will not be able to recover removed apps and will need to manually reinstall them later if you want to keep using them
- Before proceeding, please confirm that you have access to all the reinstallation media (such as CDs), product keys, license or login information, or other materials needed to re-install and re-activate the apps you want to keep using.
- You may lose your digital licenses, digital content associated with applications, or other digital entitlements for applications which may impact your ability to use apps you paid for or app-related content you paid for.
For details, see: Introducing Refresh Windows on-demand option - Microsoft Community
This tutorial will show you how to use the clean up and update this PC feature to Refresh Windows 10 on-demand.
You must be signed in as an administrator to use the clean up and update this PC feature.
1. Do step 2 (commmand) or step 3 (Windows Defender) below for how you would like to start to Refresh Windows on-demand.
2. Open Run (Win+R) or command prompt, enter the command below, press Enter, and go to step 4 below.
3. Open the Windows Defender dashboard app.
A) Click/tap on the Device performance & health icon. (see screenshot below)
B) Click/tap on the Refresh Windows link. (see screenshot below)
C) Click/tap on Get started. (see screenshot below)
D) Click/tap on Yes to confirm, and go to step 4 below. (see screenshot below)
4. Click/tap on Next. (see screenshot below)
5. You will now see a list of apps that will be removed. Click/tap on Next when ready. (see screenshot below)
NoteIf you haven't installed any apps, you will not see this.
6. If you have just recently upgraded to Windows 10, then you will get a warning like below letting you know that you will not be able to go back to the previous version of Windows afterwards. Click/tap on Next when ready. (see screenshot below)
7. When ready to start, click/tap on Start. (see screenshot below)
8. Refreshing Windows 10 will now start. This will take a while to finish, and your PC will restart a few times during the process. (see screenshots below)
9. When finished, sign in to Windows 10. (see screenshot below)
NoteEach user that signs in for the first time after the refresh will go through first startup again before seeing their desktop.
If you had apps removed, you will see a Removed Apps.html file on your desktop that contains a list of apps removed while resetting your PC.
- How to Refresh Windows 10
- How to Reset Windows 10
- How to Clean Install Windows 10
- How to Reinstall Windows 10 with this media
- How to 'Recover from a drive' to Reset Windows 10
- How to Go Back to Previous Version of Windows in Windows 10
- How to Do a Repair Install of Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade
- How to Start Fresh with Clean Install of Windows 10 using Refresh Windows Tool
This might be useful for virtual machine users, as, then the activated unique machine ID is retained, but you can basically start from scratch again if you haven't exported your VM before and need a clean slate.
Another reason to either upload all your (updated)installers to OneDrive, zipped of course, or put them in a folder in Documents(I do both).