Refresh Windows program for Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 16, 2016
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Refresh Windows is a new program for Windows 10 that enables you to reset Windows by downloading it and installing it on the PC.

Microsoft revealed back in May 2016 that it was working on a new tool to refresh an installation of Windows.

The only built-in option that Windows 10 features prior to this Summer's Anniversary Update is to "reset this PC".

You find the option in the Settings application under Update & Security > Recovery. The feature will reinstall Windows on the machine, and the only option provided is to keep files. The process remove all setings, installed programs and other modifications

All settings, installed programs and other modifications are removed or reset during the process.

Refresh Windows is provided as a standalone application for Windows 10 on Microsoft's website. The program works only on recent Insider Builds and not current stable builds of Windows 10. This suggest that Microsoft plans to launch it around the time of the Anniversary Update for Windows 10.

Refresh Windows

The program displays an UAC prompt on start, and after that Microsoft's Software license terms.

The next page reveals what the tool does -- install a clean copy of the most recent version of Windows and remove apps that were installed on this PC -- and provides you with options to keep personal files, or nothing.

This is identical to what "refresh this PC" offers when you select it to start over.

Once you have made the selection, Refresh PC will download the latest image of Windows 10 from Microsoft before the new installation of the operating system commences.

It is interesting to note that Refresh Windows does not add anything to the process that is not available already.

The Media Creation Tool for instance downloads an ISO image of Windows 10 and installs the operating system afterwards on the computer.

One of the downsides of Refresh Windows is that you cannot select an ISO image that is already available locally. The tool will download Windows 10 from Microsoft regardless of that.

The core difference between Reset Windows and Refresh This PC is that the former downloads the latest image of Windows 10 from the Internet, while the latter uses what is on the computer to install the operating system anew.

Closing Words

Refresh Windows is not out yet and is only available for Windows 10 Insider Builds and not stable versions of the operating system.

For now, it does not really add any new option to Windows 10 that is not already there in one form or the other.

The tool may have its uses if the "refresh this PC" option does not work correctly, or when you prefer to install the latest version of Windows 10 as part of the reset so that you don't have to endure a lengthy updating process.

Now You: Fresh install or reset, which method do you prefer? (via Deskmodder)

Refresh Windows program for Windows 10
Article Name
Refresh Windows program for Windows 10
Refresh Windows is a new program for Windows 10 that enables you to reset Windows by downloading it and installing it on the PC.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Pierre said on June 16, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    ?? It already exists in my stable version !

    1. Decent60 said on June 17, 2016 at 8:49 am

      I currently have RESET while the new one is REFRESH.
      Might want to double check yours, as it’s easy to get them mixed up in the article.

  2. Tom said on June 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm



    I honestly thought you made up that word – Its great.

    But it actually is a word.

    Thanks for expanding my vocabulary!

    1. Kruno said on June 16, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Ups, auto-correct. :D It “suppressed” me too not that you mentioned it. Hahaha. Oh, well.

  3. Tim said on June 16, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    Bit confused what the purpose of this standalone tool is, other than to confuse everyone.

    As mentioned in the article the Media Creation Tool already allows you to create a Windows ISO, DVD or USB Stick that will allow you to run it from a running desktop by clicking on setup.exe (which also gives the option to keep personal files or delete everything), or by booting from DVD or USB Stick to carry out a complete clean install. Why another tool which does the same thing? It even looks the same.

    If anything, the ‘Recovery’ section in ‘Settings’ should just include everything from the Media Creation Tool, therefore eliminating the need to separately download and install the Media Creation Tool in the first place. If the image it created included all versions of Windows (Home, Pro, 32-bit, 64-bit), the ISO, DVD or USB Stick could still be used on any PC. Come to think of it, why do Microsoft still have separate Home and Pro versions of Windows anyway. Bit archaic.

    1. seeprime said on June 16, 2016 at 8:42 pm

      The Media Creation tool currently downloads version 1511. The new tool will download the latest ISO that Microsoft has on their server. Until it’s actually used after the upcoming “anniversary update” is installed, we won’t know if there is no difference in functionality or if this is just another tool added to the pile.

  4. Kruno said on June 16, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    This looks like something that has been around since I think Windows 8, it just came as as an option on the DVD installation Disk or USB drive. It basically allows three options. One is clean reinstall, that is like starting over. One is to refresh the Windows by copying the main system files and putting all the third party program installations into Windows.old folder. They no longer work but this process at least keeps the documents and pictures intact. And third option is to refresh windows, keep the documents and pictures intact and most importunately keeps all the third party programs intact and working as before. It would seem that this new tool does that but comes as a stand along app, which is not that much of a new thing really.

    1. seeprime said on June 16, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      The existing tools only use what is stored on the local drive. The upcoming tool will download from Microsoft’s website.

  5. Jeff said on June 16, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I wouldn’t use any tool if I wanted to do a reset/clean install. I would get the latest ISO manually and format and install myself.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.