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Windows 10 Reset vs Clean Install

Updated by Gemma on Mar 25, 2021
Written by Roxanne

Should I Reset or Clean Install Windows 10?

"I have upgraded my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 10. But now it cannot work smoothly as it used to be. So, I would like to get a fresh system to get better performance. Should I just reset Windows 10 or do a clean install?"

In case that Windows 10 fails to work due to problems caused by system file corruption or malware, Microsoft offers two ways: reset Windows 10 or do a clean install to fix the problem. When coming here, many users may ask if the System Reset works the same as a clean install. In the next part, we will talk about what is the difference between the two.

Differences between Windows 10 Reset and Clean Install

At most times, users will not see any difference between Windows 10 reset and clean install. Here we list the features of these two options to help you have a better understanding of these two patterns. And you can decide which one to choose.

Windows 10 Reset - Reinstall Windows 10 by restoring to the factory default configuration from the recovery image created when you first installed Windows on your computer. It helps to fix most of the common OS issues and doesn't require an internet connection to work. And it has no effect on your personal files and data. But sometimes, it would fail and report a "there was a problem resetting your PC" error.

Clean Install - Reinstall Windows 10 by downloading and burning the latest Windows installation files from Microsoft on a USB. It offers users a fresh system without any hidden problems or corruption. And as the name implies, a clean install will remove all apps that do not come standard with Windows, including other Microsoft apps such as Office. It will also remove most apps installed by your PC's manufacturer, such as your manufacturer's apps, support apps, and drivers.

In summary, Windows 10 Reset is more likely to be a basic troubleshooting method, while a Clean Install is an advanced solution for more complex problems. If you don't know which method to apply, first have a try on Windows Reset, if it doesn't help, fully backup your computer data, and then perform a Clean Install.

How to Make A Windows 10 Reset

In this part, we will tell you the detailed steps, which are approved by Microsoft's official support of making a Windows Reset. 

Step 1. Type "Settings" and click the best match to enter Windows Settings.

Step 2. Click "Update & Security".

Click Update and Security

Step 3. Find and choose "Recovery".

Choose Recovery

Step 4. There are two ways. The first one - Reset this PC, is used to refresh your computer when it isn't running well. Click "Get Started" to start.

Get started

Step 5. Then Windows gives you two options, choose the first one to remove all the apps and settings, but keeps your personal files.

Keep my files

How to Clean Install Windows 10

If resetting Windows 10 can't solve your problem, you might need to have a clean installation. Once again, this method will remove all your apps, personal files and data. If you want to apply this method, we strongly recommend you make a full backup first.

Backup files before Windows 10 clean install

Both Windows 10 reset and clean install will erase all your installed programs and their settings. To keep all the data and applications, download EaseUS backup software to create a backup image.

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Support Windows 11/10/8/7

Step 1: Open EaseUS Todo Backup and select "File" as the backup mode.

click the file mode to back up files

Step 2: Select the files that you want to back up. You can quickly locate the desired files, folders or directories under the "User Defined" mode or "File Type" mode.

click file backup to back up files

Step 3: Next, click the Browse area to select a destination to save your backup file. EaseUS Todo Backup allows for a variety of backup locations that are available to you, including an internal and external storage drive, a cloud drive or a NAS drive. Among all the backup options, we recommend you the most secure and convenient to reach location - EaseUS Cloud.

choose easeus cloud to backup files

You can directly login the cloud drive with your account and password. If it's the first time you use the cloud drive, use your email to sign up.

log in easeus cloud to backup files

Step 4: Click "Proceed" to execute your operation.

Steps to make a clean install

Step 1. Download the Refresh Windows Tool from Microsoft: Download from Here.

Step 2. Launch the tool. Review and Accept the Licence Terms.

Step 3. Choose the Keep personal files only option or if you want to remove everything, choose the Nothing option.

Step 4. Select the "OK" button to start the installation. The rest of the process will be automatic, but if you need to, you can postpone it until your PC reboots.

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Updated by Gemma

Gemma is member of EaseUS team and has been committed to creating valuable content in fields about file recovery, partition management, and data backup etc for many years. She loves to help users solve various types of computer related issues.

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Written by Roxanne

Roxanne is one of the main contributors to EaseUS and has created multiple posts on digital devices like PCs, Mobile phones, tablets, Mac, etc. She loves to share ideas with people of the same interest.

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Product Reviews

TrustScore 4.7 | 47 reviews
  • Taking everything into consideration, we can say that EaseUS Todo Backup Home can offer you a little extra sense of security with a set of advanced tools. The interface provides quick adaptation, every process guiding you all the way through so you don't get stuck or further damage your system rather than keeping it safe.

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  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free lets you create backups of your important files or your entire computer through its streamlined interface. Just choose the backup type you'd like to get started, and let the program do the reset.

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  • EaseUS includes all the features I expect from backup software like versioning, incremental backups, and scheduling. For more advanced users, EaseUS allows you to install a pre-boot environment onto your hard drive so you can use it to restore files without burning a CD or putting it on an external USB drive.

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