Windows 10 version 2004: Fresh Start is not gone, it is just somewhere else
Some Windows 10 users noticed that the operating system's Fresh Start option was not there anymore after the upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004. The company introduced Fresh Start back in 2016 to install a clean version of the operating system right from the Settings application. Fresh Start installed Windows 10 and did not migrate any of the user installed applications; this meant that any user-installed program, e.g. antivirus software, firewalls, web browsers, or other programs were not available anymore after the operation was completed successfully by the operating system.
Microsoft updated a support page, Track your device and performance health in Windows Security, recently that explains what happened to Fresh Start. According to the information published there, Fresh Start has not been removed from the operating system but moved to another location.
Microsoft does not publish full changelogs when it releases a new version of Windows 10; some changes are not documented at all, and it appears that the moving of Fresh Start falls into that category.
The company notes:
Fresh start is available for Windows 10 versions prior to 2004. For version 2004 and after, Fresh start functionality has been moved to Reset this PC.
You need to open Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started to use Fresh Start on devices running Windows 10 version 2004 or later.
Select "Keep my files" when asked, pick whether you want Windows installed from local or cloud sources, change settings, and select no when asked to restore preinstalled apps. Note that the option to restore preinstalled apps is only displayed if Windows 10 found any installed apps on the device.
The moved Fresh Start option is available on Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro devices. Users need to have elevated rights to use the functionality at all.
The Reset This PC option has three main options that administrators may select:
- Remove Everything -- This gets rid of any personal files and settings, as well as installed applications or drivers. It will also remove software installed by the manufacturer of the PC. Option to erase data is available. If selected under "change settings", it will remove files and clean the hard drive. It makes it harder for others to recover files.
- Keep My Files and Preinstalled Applications -- This keeps personal files as well as applications installed by the manufacturer of the PC. It will remove user-installed programs and drivers, and undo any changes to the Settings.
- Keep My Files but no Preinstalled Applications -- Same as above but won't restore any manufacturer-installed applications either.
Obviously, it is also possible to install Windows 10 anew using installation media but not all options may be available if you use it.
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