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How to Reinstall Windows 10 Without Losing All of Your Files

As a long-term Windows 10 user, you’ve probably faced frustrating crashes and persistent errors that just won’t go away. Your system might also be slowing down, with performance slower than you’d like. 

Reinstalling Windows 10 can give you a fresh start while keeping your personal files intact. Fortunately, reinstalling Windows 10 is easier than you might think. We’ll walk you through the simplest and most reliable methods to get your system running smoothly again in no time.

Reinstall Windows 10

How to Backup Files on Windows

You can install many useful applications to back up your files, but the built-in backup feature in Windows 10 is the most hassle-free approach. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Windows button on your keyboard and then choose the Settings option with a gear icon above the Power button. 
    choose the Settings on Windows computer
  2. Click on the Update & Security.

    click on the Update & Security on Windows computer

  3. Then, select Backup from the left menu or Files backup.

    Backup or Files backup on Windows computer

  4. It’s time to attach your external hard drive or flash drive to your USB slot. After that, click on the Add a drive button. This will open a small menu where you can choose your attached drive as a backup device.

    click on the Add a drive button Windows computer

  5. Now, on the same page, select More Options.
    select More Options on Windows computer
  6. This takes you to the final page, where you can start backing up the files. The only thing you need to do is click on the Back up now option.
    start the process of backing up the files

Method 1: How to Reset Windows 10

If you’re not locked out of the Windows 10 environment, the best way to reinstall your OS is through the built-in recovery feature.

  1. Click on the Windows button on the keyboard and choose the Settings option in the left corner of the menu.
    choose the Settings option on Windows computer
  2. Then, select Update & Security.
    select Update & Security on Windows computer
  3. Now, click on the Recovery Option from the left menu.
    click on the Recovery in Windows Settings
  4. On the recovery page, you only need to click on the Get started option. There are multiple Get started buttons on the page, so make sure you choose the one in the Reset this PC section.
    click on the Get started optionclick on the Get started option
  5. If you follow the steps right, a blue window will appear on your screen. This is the most important step in reinstalling Windows 10. If you want to keep your personal data after the reinstallation, choose the Keep my files option. This will only delete your PC’s apps and settings.
    Choose the Keep my files option
    Warning: If you select “Remove everything,” all the data will be deleted from your PC.

  6. Now, you’ll be presented with a few pages explaining the process. Click Next on every page, and in the end, select Reset to reboot your PC and complete the reinstallation of Windows 10.
    Select Reset

Method 2: How to Reinstall Windows 10 with Installation Media (USB flash drive or DVD)

Reinstalling Windows 10 with installation media is especially useful when your Windows has severe problems and it won’t completely boot up.

  1. Simply connect your flash drive to the USB port or put your installation disc into the disc drive. A minimum 8GB USB flash drive is recommended, but we recommend using one with 16GB of space for any additional data that needs to be saved. 

    Note 1: Skip steps 2 and 3 if you already have a recovery drive, installation disc, or media for Windows 10.

    Note 2:
    If you can’t access the Windows 10 desktop on your own PC, use another PC for steps 2 and 3.

  2. Go to the Windows 10 download page. In the “Create Windows 10 installation media” section, click the blue “Download Now” button.
    Download Now button in Windows Settings
  3. Double-click on the downloaded .exe file to open it. After a few seconds, you’ll be greeted by Microsoft software license terms. Select the “Accept” button.
    Select the Accept button
  4. On the next page, make sure that the second option named “Create Installation Media” is selected. Then click on the “Next” button.
    click on the Next button
  5. Click on the “Next” button without changing anything. Now, your answer to how to reinstall Windows 10 with a USB is here: On the next page, choose “USB flash drive” and select “Next.” If you want to install it with a DVD, select “ISO file.”choose USB flash drive
  6. Finally, you can select the attached USB drive and click “Next” to start converting the flash drive into a bootable Windows 10 installation media. Depending on your internet speed, downloading Windows 10 files may take a while. When the installation is done and you see “Your USB flash drive is ready,” select the “Finish” button.
    Your USB flash drive is ready
  7. Now, attach the USB drive or installation media to your PC and restart it. Upon startup, the PC will recognize the installation media and start the reinstallation process.
  8. Then, set up your language, time currency format, and keyboard method. Then, click on “Next.”
    At the end, click on Next
  9. Next, simply click on the “Install now” button at the center of the screen.
    click on the Install now
  10. Next, you can activate your Windows 10 using your product key. Simply type your code into the specified area and click “Next.” If you don’t want to do this right now, click “I don’t have a product key” to skip this part.
    I dont have a product key
  11. Now, you must choose the Windows 10 edition installed on your PC.
    Select Windows 10 and click Next
  12. The next page is another license terms notice, which you must accept to do this click “Next.”
    license terms notice
  13. Now click on the second option named “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)”.
    Custom Install Windows only (advanced)
  14. Lastly, pick the drive where Windows 10 was installed to finish the process. Reinstalling Windows 10 will take a few moments, and you’ll be ready to go.
    click next after selecting Drive

How to Reinstall Windows 10 from BIOS

You can’t install Windows 10 from BIOS, but if the installation didn’t start after step 7, you should go to this menu to select the correct installation media. 

You can change your computer’s boot order in the BIOS menu in two ways. 

1. Changing the Boot Order

On most computers, this is how you can change the boot order:

  1. First, you should enter the BIOS. To do this after restarting your computer, you should press a specific key as soon as your PC starts to boot up. For most desktop computers and laptops, the key is “F12” or “F9.” However, depending on the manufacturer of your PC, it can be “F8” or “ESC.”
  2. After opening up BIOS, go to the “Boot” tab. Ensure the “USB” option is at the top of the list. You can move the items on the list with F5 and F6 keys.
    go to the Boot tab

2. UEFI Boot

If you couldn’t find the options in the first method, you can change the boot order by following these steps:

  1. Repeat the first step from the last method.
  2. In the BIOS menu, navigate to the “Security” tab and change the “Secure Boot” setting to “Disabled”.
    navigate to Security tab
  3. Next, go to the “Advanced” tab and click on “System Configuration.” In this menu, change the “Boot Mode” from “UEFI Boot” to “CSM Boot” or “Legacy.” Now, your USB will be recognized, and you can finish the reinstallation.
    change the Boot Mode

Note: Make sure to change back the “Boot Mode” to the original setting after the reinstallation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you reinstall Windows 10 for free?

Yes, you can reinstall Windows 10 for free as many times as you want through different methods without any costs. However, you should purchase the product key to use it after the trial.

How do I factory reset my laptop and reinstall Windows 10?

Click on the Start menu and go to “Settings.” Then select “Update & security,” and after that, choose “Recovery.” Select the “Reset this PC” option and click the “Get started” option. Factory reset means deleting your files and bringing back the initial state of your computer, so here, you should choose “Remove everything.” Next, you will be prompted with two options: “Cloud download” and “local reinstall.” If you choose the first option, your computer will download Windows files from Microsoft’s official servers. If you select “Local reinstall,” your PC will use the files already on your computer for the installation.

Will I lose all of my files if I reinstall Windows 10?

No, you will not lose all of your files if you reinstall Windows 10. You can keep all your personal files while reinstalling Windows 10 by following the abovementioned steps. However, all the apps and settings will be deleted.