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Windows 10 Reset vs Clean Install

Updated on Apr 04, 2019 by Abby Haines to Todo Backup Resource

Reset or clean install Windows 10? Read this page to learn the differences between Windows 10 reset vs clean install. It will help you make a right decision.

Should I reset or clean install Windows 10

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

In case that Windows 10 PC fail to work due to problems caused by third-party software, system file corruption, system settings changes or malware, Microsoft offers two ways: reset Windows 10 or do a clean install from the Windows installation media to fix the problem. When coming here, many users may ask if the System Reset is equal to or work as the same as a clean install. Next, we will talk about what is the difference between the two.

Differences between Windows 10 reset and clean install

Windows 10 reset - Reinstall Windows 10 by restoring to factory default configuration from the recovery image which was created when Windows was installed the first time of the computer. It helps to fix most of the common OS issue and doesn't require the internet connection to work. But sometimes, it fails to help and reporting "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 corruptions. 

At most times, users will not see any difference between Windows 10 reset and clean install. And compared with a clean install, a system reset is faster and more convenient. For these two reasons, most users prefer the former one when there is some problem with their system. But is it really the case? Let's look at how some users said about it. 

"I've done several resets, saving nothing, and they worked but I ended up doing a Clean Install on both after a while. Something must not have been working right." 

"It seems to me that a PC performs better after wiping everything and doing a fresh install from media. Reset can sometimes freeze-up."

We are not sure how "clean" a reset is. But reading here, we advise you don't do a reset if you want to truly clean install Windows 10.

How to Backup files before Windows 10 reset or clean install

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

Step 1. Open EaseUS Todo Backup and select "File Backup".

You may have a large amount of vital data to be protected as time goes on, such as documents, pictures, music, and videos, etc. It is always a good habit to have a backup on a regular basis. File Backup is one of the best choices for you to get over unexpected data loss.

click file backup to back up files

Step 2. Select the files that you want to back up.

If you just want to back up one or some specific file types from one folder, the option at top right corner can help you exclude the other files.

select the file type to back up

Step 3. Select a destination to save your backup file. You'd better create the backup file in some other storage media or in some other drive. If not, there may be a risk of the backup file getting corrupted or destroyed.

select the destination to save your backups

Advanced backup settings are useful when you want to create a flexible and automatic backup plan. 

information about advanced settings

The schedule is to create an automatic backup plan.

what is schedule backup

Backup options are to edit the advanced parameters. 

backup options

Image-reserve strategy is to reserve the limited image as per image retention rule.

image-reserve strategy

Advanced backup settings are for reference only but not a prerequisite for backup.

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