You’re diligent with keeping your PC in good shape. You are on top of safe downloading practices and watch which links you click. And, of course, you know better than to go to questionable websites or open unsolicited emails.
While this is all commendable, you may notice your desktop is still not performing as it should. Slow reaction times, unusual error messages, freezes or crashes — they’re all indicators it‘s time to update your operating system.
But updates carry over your computer’s old files and settings from previous versions, so the updates themselves could be the source of the problem. The remedy? Tap or click here for 10 ways to fix the most common Windows 10 issues. But that’s not all. Sometimes you need a clean install.
Warning: A clean install of Windows will erase everything on your hard drive. To avoid loss of important files and existing programs, create a backup of all data and ensure you have the necessary software installation discs or programs before you begin. This tip is brought to you by IDrive, a sponsor of Kim’s national radio show.
How to back up critical files
There are several options for creating a backup of your files. Although time-consuming, you can manually copy your data to a secondary drive or go with the easier route and sync them to a cloud service such as IDrive. Save 90% on 5 TB of cloud backup now! That’s less than $8 for the first year!
It works with Windows PCs, Macs, iPhones and Androids. You can back up all your devices to one account, so it’s easy to find whatever you need.
Not sure how to perform a backup? Tap or click here for instructions.
Performing a clean install
A clean install should be your last resort. If you’ve exhausted all other troubleshooting options, it’s time to back up your files and programs, then get to the install. Remember: This process will wipe your computer completely clean. There will be no saved images, files or even software.
Your computer will become a chunk of plastic and metal until the new installation is complete. So once you’re confident everything is backed up, begin the clean install.
Because individual steps vary with different operating systems, it is essential you refer to your PC documentation, read all the instructions and maybe even print them out before you begin, or contact a technician for assistance. The following instructions are specifically for Windows 10.
Microsoft’s Refresh Windows Tool
The downloadable Refresh Windows Tool from Microsoft’s website will remove all third-party software and reset your system settings to its default options. It may also wipe digital licenses for applications you’ve installed, so make sure you have copies of these licenses backed up somewhere.
After clicking install, launch Refresh Windows Tool and allow the program to change your system. Accept license terms to continue.
Select your option to either Keep personal files only or Nothing (which will remove everything). To ensure a crystal-clear install, choose Nothing. Click Start to begin the installation. A clean version of Windows 10 will automatically install. You have the option to cancel the process at any point before your PC reboots.
Note: All apps will be removed during the clean install process. Choosing to keep personal files will only keep your personal files intact, not apps.
Once the installation is complete, you can reinstall your applications and your computer should run like new.
Install Windows from scratch
Windows 10 offers an additional built-in option for a clean install called Reset This PC. This convenient method of installing Windows from scratch also allows you to keep or remove personal files.
Note: Regardless of the option you choose, make a backup of all personal files before proceeding to ensure nothing is lost forever.
To use this option, open Settings.
Select Update & Security.
Click Recovery, then Get started.
Choose to either Keep my files or Remove everything.
Apps to be removed will be listed. Click Next.
The reset is ready to begin. Click Reset.
The installation process will take some time, but when it’s done, your computer will be ready for you to reinstall any desired apps. Once that’s done, it’ll be like you have a new PC.
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