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Introducing Refresh Windows on-demand option This thread is locked from future replies

If your PC is running slow, crashes or is unable to update your Windows, this option may help you.

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.

Before you begin

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.

We always recommend that you to back up your files before making changes to your PC, including refreshing Windows.

Run the option

Follow these instructions to invoke Refresh Windows option.

  1. Click Start menu
  2. Scroll down and run ‘Windows Defender’ app
  3. Click Device performance & health icon in the dashboard
  4. Click ‘Refresh Windows’ link
  5. Click ‘Get started’ button on the page (Title: Refresh Windows)
  6. Click ‘Yes’ in User Account Control prompt
  7. Click through Refresh Windows wizard
  8. Click ‘Start’ button at the last page




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Is this different from 'Reset this PC' under 'Update & Security > Recovery'?

They look alike.

XPS 15 9550
Dual Boot: Windows 10 and Fedora 25

So this is the same RefreshWindowsTool that's now been incorporated into the OS itself, or are there any differences in how it functions?

Is its location under Windows Defender final? Seems like a strange place for the feature.


I am in 15002 now, but I cannot find the "Device performance & health icon" as your words, is it anything different between the editions?

I am in 15002 now, but I cannot find the "Device performance & health icon" as your words, is it anything different between the editions?

I guess you opened the old desktop app. The option lies in the new UWP app. You can find the UWP app if you wait for awhile after updating to this build(or maybe try for a few restarts).

XPS 15 9550
Dual Boot: Windows 10 and Fedora 25

Sounds good, but what's the difference with this and the normal Refresh Windows option found in Recovery Settings?

Awsome!I did not know that Windows Defender have the UWP edition... Thank you very much~

I completely agree that having the option for Refresh Windows in Windows Defender is rare. Please provide minimum a crosslink from Recovery option in Settings, like there is a one to Defender (for whatever reason to a Desktop version, not a UWA).

Neither I see any difference from Reset Windows with personal files stored.


I must say I am a bit disappointing that this is offered as something 'new'. 

As already has been stated, this no different than a normal recovery without removing any personal files.

But what we actually need, is a way to the 'clean' Windows without having to reinstall every inch of software. This Refresh-thingy is nice for regular users.... maybe... but for heavy users like myself it takes literally days to get every piece of software up and running again, with all the customization. 

I'd imagine that all the brains at Microsoft should be able to come up with a better solution than this?

A way to clear start-menu - erase non-existing software from the 'software and application list' - reset some of the settings to default and remove all non-microsoft hardware drivers (and files).

That would be nice.


Road Tripper is exactly correct. Anyone who is a significant user knows the problem of reinstalling and customizing all applications far outweighs the effort required to do a clean windows install.  what we need is a method to fix Windows when it gets stuck or broken but that does not require removing and reinstalling and re-customizing all user software.

Why not get all the settings locked in then image the drive?

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Discussion Info

Views: 226379 Last updated: February 22, 2018 Applies to: