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How to: Perform a clean install using Reset this PC in Windows 10

Technical Level : Basic


If you have been running Windows 10 for a while and you would like perform clean or you plan to recycle a PC (giveaway to a friend, charity or resell), you should use the Reset this PC function. Previously we looked at using the Recovery Drive function which provides the same functions but it is intended more for situations where your PC might not be functioning or if you want to reinstall Windows 10 on a new hard disk. If your Windows 10 PC is working just fine, the Reset this PC function is all that you need in most cases. In this article we take a look at using it to perform a clean install.


Note: No product key is required when using the Recovery Drive to reinstall Windows 10. Once the recovery drive is created on a computer that is already activated, everything should be ok.

To find out your Activation Status: Click Start > Settings > Update & security > Activation

Click Start > Settings (or press Windows key + i) > click Update & security

Click Recovery then click Get Started under Reset this PC

Since we are performing a clean install, I will be selecting the option Remove everything, if you don't want to do that, you can click Keep my files

Reset offers two types of clean installs:

Just remove my files - this option is quicker and recommended if you just want a fresh start and you plan to keep the computer.

Remove files and clean the drive - if you plan to giveaway or resell your computer, this option ensures the computer is cleaned properly. Its takes a bit longer, but it is recommended if you plan to no longer use this computer.

Since I will be using this computer, I will choose the first option.

Click Reset to begin

Windows 10 will restart

Preparing to perform a reset

Resetting - this might take some time depending on the amount of data

Windows will check the drive for errors and fix them.

Windows 10 performs a clean install again

Out of Box Experience (OOBE)

The Out of Box Experience assist with personlizing your Windows experience such as creating a user account, connect to a wireless network and adjust privacy settings.

Choose your country, language, keyboard layout and time zone then click Next

Read and accept the End User License Agreement

If you want to customize your privacy settings, you can do so now. Please note, you can always do this after setup (Start > Settings > Privacy). For now, lets use Use Express settings

Wait while Windows 10 restarts

Don't be alarmed, this is just temporary

Setup your username, password and a hint then click Next

This too shall pass

There you have it, a clean installation of Windows


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