How to Reinstall Windows 10

How to Reinstall Windows 10

/ Shayne Sherman

If you’ve spent enough time around computers, it goes without saying that you should always back up your data before performing any action on system files. This includes reinstallation of Windows 10. Windows is made to give the user a smooth and enjoyable working experience.

But sometimes, an error or a bug comes along, drags the whole process and spoils it for everyone.


If you’re experiencing similar difficulties with Windows 10, it might be time to consider reinstalling the Operating System.

Windows 10 refresh works

You can use a tool to create an installation media, either a DVD, USB flash drive or an ISO file, and reinstall Windows 10. You can also reinstall the Operating System without the use of installation media by making use of the recovery method. In this article, we will look at all these options.

Method #1: Reinstalling Windows 10 without a CD

This is a viable option if your computer can still boot properly. Windows 10 comes with a Reset This PC feature. This feature gives you the option of choosing whether you’d like to keep your files, or remove them before reinstalling the OS. You don’t even have to download any files, Windows just initiates the setup without even employing the use of an installation media.

Windows 10 Recovery settings

Regarding capability, this method is no different from installing Windows 10 with a CD.

Step #1

Go to “Start menu”, select “Settings” and click on “Update & Security”. Select “Recovery”

Step #2

Look for a “Reset this PC” option, and tap “Get Started”.

Step #3

If you want don’t want to lose your data, choose “Keep my files” and wait for a pop-up dialog informing you that apps have been removed.

Then In “Ready to reset this PC,” click “Reset” to start the reinstallation.

Windows 10 reset this pc settings


Step #4

Select “Remove Everything,” then choose “Remove files” and clean the drive.

Step #5

Click “Reset.” Windows 10 reinstallation begins.

Method #2: Using a Windows installation disk

USB Flash drive

Before beginning this process, please prepare a USB drive with enough size (About 3GB, or larger). This method is used when booting the PC is not possible, when the system has failed to start up.

You’ll need to make use of the media creation tool provided by Microsoft. This tool can help you upgrade your OS, create any installation media and use the ISO file for reinstallation.

Setup Windows 10 installation

Step #1

On a working PC, download the media creation tool from Microsoft. Select a compatible type for your PC, either 32-bit or 64-bit, and run the downloaded tool.

Step #2

Choose “Create installations media” for another PC and click Next.

Step #3

Select the appropriate “Language, Edition and Architecture” for Windows 10 and tap Next.

Windows 10 setup

Step #4

Choose “USB Flash drive.” Insert the USB drive into the PC and click Next.

It will take several minutes for the download process to complete.

Step #5

Afterward, connect the USB installation drive to your PC and run it in explorer.

Step #6

Click “Setup.” The “Ready to install” dialog shows up.

Step #7

On the “Choose what to keep tab,” and select “Nothing.”

Windows 10 Choose what to keep settings

Step #8

Click Next and wait patiently. A clean installation of Windows 10 will take place.

ISO file

If you don’t have an installation media, USB or CD, and you need to keep your files after reinstallation, use the Windows ISO file option. We look at this last option.

If you want to keep your files when the system has failed, try booting the PC several times just so the Operating System can enter the WinRE.

Windows 10 choose option

WinRE is a recovery environment that can be used to repair common causes of unbootable windows systems.

Step #1

Windows 10 Reset pc option

Click “Choose an option” then click “Troubleshoot.” The “Reset this PC” wizard appears. Select it.

After downloading the media creation tool from Microsoft;

Step #2

Open the downloaded tool. From the two available options, select “Create installation media for another PC.”

Windows 10 upgrade tool

(The other option is Upgrade this PC now. It is only suitable if the PC you want to reinstall to has an activated Windows 10 OS).

Step #3

Select the appropriate “Language, edition and architecture” (64-bit or 32-bit) to proceed

Step #4

On the “Choose which media to use” wizard, select “ISO file.”

Windows 10 installation media drive

This action creates an installation ISO.

Step #5

If you want to install Windows 10 directly without an installation media, you can mount the ISO file. Otherwise, you have to burn the ISO to a CD or a DVD much later.

How to mount the ISO file

Step #1

Locate the ISO file, right-click it and select “Properties”

Step #2

Click “Change”, under the “General” tab and select “Windows Explorer” to open this file. Click OK.

Step #3

Right-click this file and tap “Mount.”

Step #4

Afterward, you can double-click the ISO file and view the included files.

Step #5

Finally, double-click the “Setup” to open the setup wizard.

Step #6

Choose to download updates after the installation is done. The updates will assist the installation to complete smoothly. They also contain important drivers and fixes.

Windows 10 Installation Important updates

Step #7

On the License terms, click “Accept.” The Setup will begin downloading updates.

Step #8

When everything is ready, a “Ready to install” screen will appear. Click the linkChange what to keep” to bring three options.

Step #9

Choose “Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings.”

Windows 10 Choose personal files

The setup will go back to the installation screen.

Step #10

ClickInstall” to begin the reinstallation of Windows 10. Afterward, follow instructions to customize your settings.

Command Prompt and ISO file

You can also open the windows setup from the partition containing an ISO file, but by using the Command Prompt.

Windows 10 setup command prompt

This way, you can still install Windows 10 OS without the use of a CD or a USB flash disk. This method has its demerits since it will clean everything from your computer.

Clean reinstallation of Windows 10

A clean installation is usually the last option when all other reinstallation methods have been unsuccessful. This method will return your computer to the same state it was when you first turned it on. It should, therefore, be reserved for the most serious PC problems as a last resort.

Windows 10 setup

All data on your primary drive will be erased, and you will need to back up everything you want to save before you begin. Be prepared to back up your personal files and programs as well.

You need to make sure your computer is booting from either the CD or USB flash drive, depending on where the installation media is. You can customize this in your computer’s BIOS.

Step #1

Insert the installation media and restart the PC.

Be keen to see if your computer has a boot override menu, which is usually accessed by one of the function keys.

Step #2

Once the Setup screen appears, select your settings appropriately. These settings include language, time, currency and input method. Click Next

Step #3

Click the “Install now” tab.

Step #4

Enter the Windows activation key and accept the license agreement.

Windows 10 activation settings

Step #5

Select the “Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced)” option.

Windows 10 custom installation

All your hard disks and partitions will be displayed, and the PC will prompt you to select the primary drive. Since this is a reinstallation, the disks will have data labels such as ‘Recovery,’ ‘System’ and ‘Primary.’

Windows setup disk partition

Step #6

Delete these partitions. Be careful not to delete the partitions with backed up data.

Step #7

Select the correct drive and click “Install.”

Shayne Sherman
Meet the author

Shayne is an expert at all things Microsoft Windows and computer security. As a Windows user of over 30 years, he has been featured on Business Insider, Yahoo, Tech Republic, Hacker Noon, Techopedia, and many other publications. He also enjoys spending time with his family, including his English bulldog, Fergie as well as entertaining at his home theater.