Fresh start

How to set up a new PC with fresh copy of Windows 10

If you're setting up a new PC, use these steps to start fresh with a clean copy of Windows 10 without bloatware or trailware.

Windows 10 Fresh Start without bloatware

On Windows 10, “Reset this PC,” is a feature that allows you to reinstall the operating system when your device is having problems, or you’re about to recycle it. Although, it’s a convenient tool, unless you install a clean copy Windows 10, the process will reinstall the manufacturer custom image, which may also include bloatware, trialware, and many other software.

If you just bought a new laptop or desktop computer, and you want to set it up properly without junk programs, instead of using the “Reset this PC” feature, you can use the “Fresh Start” feature, which allows you to reinstall Windows 10 using a clean image.

Starting with the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004), Fresh Start is part of the Reset this PC feature, and it’s not longer available from the Windows Security app.

In this guide, you’ll learn the easy steps to quickly reinstall Windows 10 using the Microsoft installation files instead of the factory image from your device manufacturer.

How to use Fresh Start to reset PC on Windows 10 version 2004 and later

To reset device using Fresh Start on Windows 10 version 2004 or later, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Under the “Reset this PC” section, click the Get started button.

    Windows 10 Reset this PC option
    Windows 10 Reset this PC option
  4. Click the Keep my files option.

    Keep my files option
    Keep my files option
    Quick note: You can also select the Remove everything option if it’s a new device or you have a backup of your files.
  5. Click the Cloud download (recommended) or Local reinstall option.

    Cloud download option
    Cloud download option
  6. Under the “Additional settings” section, click the Change settings option.

    Reset this PC Fresh Start option
    Reset this PC Fresh Start option
  7. Under the “Restore preinstalled apps?” option, use the toggle switch, and set it to No.

    Quick tip: The “Restore preinstalled apps?” option is the “Fresh Start” option, and if it’s not available, it’s because the system hasn’t detected any apps from the manufacturer.
  8. Click the Confirm button.

  9. Click the Reset button.

    Windows 10 Fresh Start reset
    Windows 10 Fresh Start reset

Once you complete the steps, the process will take over, and a clean copy of Windows 10 will install without any of the bloatware or trailware that were preinstalled by the manufacturer.

How to Fresh Start to reset PC on Windows 10 version 1909 and earlier

To reset a new device with Fresh Start on Windows 10 version 1909, 1903, 1809, or earlier, use these steps:

Important: This set of instructions assumes that you’re setting up a new computer without any personal data. If the device has any personal data, it’s recommended to make a backup, even though the reset process should preserve your files. Also, using this method, all the programs that your manufacturer included on your device will be removed. If there’s an app or custom driver that you need, you’ll have to reinstall them manually.
  1. Open Windows Security.

  2. Click on Device performance & health.

  3. Under the “Fresh start” section, click the Additional info option.

    Windows Security, Fresh Start option
    Windows Security, Fresh Start option
  4. Click the Get started button.

    Get started with Fresh Start on Windows 10
    Get started with Fresh Start on Windows 10
  5. Click the Next button.

    Fresh Start first step
    Fresh Start first step
  6. Review the apps that will be removed.

  7. Click the Next button.

    Fresh Start second step
    Fresh Start second step
  8. Click the Start button.

    Fresh Start begin process
    Fresh Start begin process

Once you complete the steps, the computer will restart, and Windows 10 will reinstall with the latest update and without bloatware, but your data will be kept.

After the process, you’ll need to reconfigure most of your settings. You’ll need to reinstall apps, such as Office, third-party antivirus, and some drivers as needed (if they’re not recognized by the operating system).

Of course, if you’re up to the challenge, you can also start with a fresh copy of Windows 10 doing a clean installation using a USB bootable media.

Update June 18, 2020: Originally published in November 2018, and now updated to reflect the new changes with the operating system.