Can You Reinstall Windows Without Losing Programs (Check the Answer!)

Can you reinstall windows without losing programs? Do you want to know the answer? If so, you are coming to the right page. This article will tell you three ways to reinstall windows without losing programs.

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Updated on Feb 26, 2024

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After a computer has been used for a long time, its running speed may become slower and slower. Reinstalling the operating system (OS) will help make the computer's performance better. Can you reinstall Windows without losing programs? And do you know how to reinstall Windows 10 without losing programs? This article will tell you the answer.

When & Why Do You Need to Reinstall Windows

A computer, sometimes, will have some problems that may cause the computer not to run smoothly. But when do you need to reinstall your computer? Here, I have listed some situations:

  • A problem occurs after the Windows update.
  • When you move the mouse, it takes a long time for the computer to react.
  • Opening or closing a program is very slow.
  • You need to forcibly shut down your computer before you can use it as usual.

reinstall windows

But why do you need to reinstall Windows? There are many reasons why a computer user wants to reinstall Windows. Except for a feeling of sluggishness in computer performance, fixing system problems that cannot be fully diagnosed, or removing malware, ransomware, or bloatware, there are many reasons why someone wants to reinstall Windows. Reinstalling Windows can speed up the computer and remove viruses from the operating system. In addition, performing a fresh install Windows system can clean up system garbage.

Does Reinstalling Windows Delete Programs or Files

Knowing when and why you need to reinstall a Windows computer, you may wonder if you can reinstall Windows without any data loss. Well, it depends on the method you use.

Reinstalling Windows is a good option and can help keep your files or programs intact. However, when reinstalling Windows, the files and programs on the system drive may be formatted and lost. Therefore, creating a backup of your programs and files is essential to ensure that your data is secure in case something goes wrong in the installation process.

Fortunately, you do not need to worry. A few methods can help you reinstall Windows without losing programs. And in the next section, we will discuss these methods.

Three Ways to Reinstall Windows Without Losing Programs

There are three ways to reinstall Windows without losing your existing programs. Reinstalling Windows without losing programs is easy and simple with these methods. And you will not lose data or installed programs for Windows installation if you follow all steps without any deviations. Let's see how the three ways work:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Method 1. Using Professional Backup Software If you plan to reinstall Windows, it is a good idea to back up...Full steps
Method 2. Using Windows Built-in Tool Microsoft Windows also offers a tool for its users to create...Full steps
Method 3. Creating Windows ISO Image File Windows 10 Media Creator Tool enables computer users to create...Full steps

Method 1. Using Professional Backup Software

If you plan to reinstall Windows, it is a good idea to back up your programs first. Then, you can restore them when the reinstallation is complete. There are many ways to back up programs on Windows. For example, you can use third-party backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup. This software can help create a system image or disk image, including programs, on your Windows computer. Let's take a close look at what this software can offer you.

EaseUS Todo Backup Home is an all-in-one backup tool for a computer running Windows 11/10/8/7. It allows you to automatically back up files to external hard drives and back up disks, systems, partitions, etc. More importantly, it offers 250G of free cloud storage, which meets your diverse storage needs. There are some other highlighted features of this backup utility:

  • Store the backups in multiple locations, including local drives, security zone, NAS devices, and the cloud.
  • Create automatic, scheduled, full, incremental and differential backups.
  • Clone a bootable hard drive and migrate Windows 10 from HDD to SSD.

The following are the detailed steps to create a system backup on a Windows computer.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup on your computer, and click Create Backup on the home screen and then hit the big question mark to select backup contents.

backup outlook mail step1

Step 2. To back up your Windows operating system, click "OS" to begin the backup task.

backup outlook mail step2

Step 3. Your Windows operating system information and all system related files and partitions will be automatically selected so you don't need to do any manual selection at this step. Next, you'll need to choose a location to save the system image backup by clicking the illustrated area.

system backup

Step 4. The backup location can be another local drive on your computer, an external hard drive, network, cloud or NAS. Generally, we recommend you use an external physical drive or cloud to preserve the system backup files. 

backup outlook mail step4

Step 5. Customiztion settings like enabling an automatic backup schedule in daily, weekly, monthly, or upon an event, and making a differential and incremental backup are available in the Options button if you're interested. Click "Backup Now", and the Windows system backup process will begin. The completed backup task will display on the left side in a card style.

backup outlook mail step 5

The following are steps to restoring the system image to a different computer.

* To perform system recovery on a none-bootable machine, try to boot the computer through the EaseUS Todo Backup emergency disk.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup, click "Browse to Recover".

Click Browse to Recover

Step 2. Guide to your backup destination, choose the system backup file you need. (The backup file created by EaseUS Todo Backup is a pbd file.)

System recovery step2

Step 3. Choose the recovery disk. Make sure that the partition style of the source disk and the recovery disk are the same.

system recovery step3

Step 4. You can customize the disk layout according to your needs. Then click "Proceed" to start system backup recovery.

Sytem recovery step4

Method 2. Using Windows Built-in Tool

Microsoft Windows also offers a tool for its users to create a system image. And this built-in tool is Backup and Restore (Windows 7), which allows users to back up and restore files via a system image. You can use Backup and Restore to back up programs to prevent data loss.

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How to Use Backup and Restore in Windows 7/10

In this article, you can learn what is Backup and Restore and how it works.

windows backup and restore

Method 3. Creating Windows ISO Image File

Windows 10 Media Creator Tool enables computer users to create an ISO image of their Windows 10. Windows 10 users can download this tool from Microsoft's official site to create a bootable Windows 10 USB stick or create the Windows 10 ISO image. This method also allows you to reinstall Windows 10 while keeping programs.

Step 1. Download and install the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and follow the guide to the following page. Then, select Create installation media for another PC, and click Next.

creating windows iso image file-1

Step 2. Select the Language, Windows Edition, and Architecture for creating the installation media. Then click Next.

creating windows iso image file-2

Step 3. Select media storage device. Here, I select a USB flash drive. Then click Next.

creating windows iso image file-3

Step 4. Select a USB drive to create Windows 10 installation media and click Next.

creating windows iso image file-4

Step 5. It will start downloading Windows 10 installation files on your computer.

creating windows iso image file-5

Step 6. When the download is complete, it will start creating Windows 10 media.

Step 7. Once done, click Finish.

creating windows iso image file-6

Now, you can use the USB drive to boot up the computer and reinstall Windows 10.

?You can also read this article to learn how to create an ISO image from your operating system.

Best Way to Reinstall Windows Without Losing Data

Can you reinstall Windows without losing programs? Do you get your answer now? You can use any method this article offers to reinstall windows without losing programs or files. In short, you can use EaseUS Todo Backup, Backup and Restore, and Windows 10 Media Creation Tool to do a fresh install Windows while keeping programs. 

Among the three methods, I suggest you use EaseUS Todo Backup since Backup and Restore cannot offer you advanced options to manage your backups, and Windows 10 Media Creation Tool is only compatible with Windows 10/11. Fortunately, these problems will no longer be the case with EaseUS Todo Backup. Besides, it also allows you to perform other backup and recovery tasks. Just try it; it will not let you down!


1. Can I reset my PC without losing everything?

Refresh your computer to reinstall Windows and keep your files and settings. Refresh also keeps apps coming with your computer and the installed apps from the Microsoft Store. Resetting your PC to reinstall Windows will delete your files, settings, and apps, except for the apps coming with your PC.

2. What happens if I reinstall Windows 10?

Although you will keep your files and software, the Windows reinstallation will delete certain items, such as custom fonts, system icons, and Wi-Fi credentials. However, as part of the process, the setup will also create a Windows. Old. Windows folder, which should have everything from your previous installation.

3. Is cloud download better than local reinstall?

If you have an Internet connection with fast speed and enough data, it is recommended to choose cloud download. It can help you save time. If your connection speed is slow or you want to avoid additional downloads, choose local reinstall. It can help you avoid unnecessary downloads.

4. Will installing Windows erase my hard drive?

Yes, it will format a hard drive before installation starts. Anything on the drive you want to keep should be backed up to another drive beforehand.

EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS Todo Backup is a dependable and professional data backup solution capable of backing up files, folders, drives, APP data and creating a system image. It also makes it easy to clone HDD/SSD, transfer the system to different hardware, and create bootable WinPE bootable disks.

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    Daisy is the Senior editor of the writing team for EaseUS. She has been working at EaseUS for over ten years, starting as a technical writer and moving on to being a team leader of the content group. As a professional author for over ten years, she writes a lot to help people overcome their tech troubles.…
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