Re-install W10 and keep your files/app data intact

Discussion in 'User Contributed Articles' started by Wolfie, Jan 9, 2018.

  1. Wolfie

    Wolfie

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    BACK UP ALL YOUR FILES ON TO AN EXTERNAL DRIVE (OR OTHER PARTITION) BEFORE YOU START TO RESET YOUR PC!.

    Hi all,

    This is a quick run-down of how to reset W10 and keep your files/data intact, you will have to do a little work but you will find all your files, data and app settings in a folder called "Windows.old".

    Reset via the on-board tool:

    Open Settings > Updates & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC, you have two options, one is to do a direct reset of W10 without the need for any installation media, the second option is using a USB drive or DVD.

    reset options.jpg

    Option 1: Reset this PC, you will be given the chance to choose whether or not you wish to keep your files, if you choose "Don't keep my files", it will wipe all traces of your data and app settings, the obvious choice is to keep your files/data, the choice is yours.

    Option 2: Advanced start-up will want you to put a USB stick or DVD in and upon reboot, you will have to go through the normal install process, it is important to know a couple of things before you start with this option.

    1: Where it ask for your licence key, simply click on "I don't have a product key" (Your copy of W10 has a digital signature and the key is not necessary when doing a fresh re-install unless you are using a different version of W10!).

    activate windows.jpg

    2: When you get to the following window, click on "Upgrade" and this will ensure that your files are left untouched and you won't need to search your back-up drives for your docs and pics Etc.

    windows 10 setup upgrade.jpg

    Despite the fact that Windows says it will keep not only your files but your applications too, this is sadly not the case and you will have to install your preferred apps again!. :( (App settings will be saved in the "Windows.old" folder under "User(s) > AppData > Local data"). The path given in brackets may vary depending so you may have to search around a little!:

    The old user information will be saved in a folder called "User Profile" or something similar within the "Windows.old" folder. It contains your old bookmarks, pics, docs, and basically all your app settings for your re-installed apps which you will need to do on an app by app basis and re-apply them to the newly installed apps.

    DO NOT SELECT YOUR C: DRIVE FOR FORMATTING OR DELETION WHEN USING THE SECOND OPTION!.

    You can install a lot of apps in a couple of clicks here:


    https://ninite.com/

    I hope this is of use to you and please feel free to comment below if there is something written wrong or you simply cannot get your head around the info. Start a new thread if you wish to discuss any problems you may have. :)

    Another alternative is to go back to an earlier point of restore on your PC, you need to make sure that System Restore is switched on and active as it isn't activated by default!. (It may be but you should check anyway):

    https://www.windows10forums.com/articles/system-restore-in-windows-10.36/

    Regards from Wolfie. :):):)

    See also:

    https://www.windows10forums.com/threads/how-to-upgrade-windows-10-to-the-latest-version.13015/

    From Microsoft:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12415/windows-10-recovery-options ;)

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10startfresh :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018 at 4:50 PM
    Wolfie, Jan 9, 2018
    #1
    Ian likes this.
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