Re­pair, not re­in­stall

Windows Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

Cre­at­ing a fresh in­stall of Win­dows is of­ten seen as the ul­ti­mate so­lu­tion to any prob­lem – whether it’s hard­ware, soft­ware or Win­dows in­stall-re­lated.

How­ever, com­pletely re­in­stalling Win­dows maybe overkill if the prob­lem is sim­ply with Win­dows it­self. If your PC is func­tion­ing per­fectly other than in spe­cific in­stances – such as Mi­crosoft Edge no longer work­ing after the Fall Cre­ators Up­date, for ex­am­ple – a re­pair in­stall may be a bet­ter op­tion.

Re­pair in­stalls sim­ply over­write the Win­dows files on your ma­chine – leav­ing your apps, pro­grams (in­clud­ing set­tings), and any data on your sys­tem drive un­touched, at least in the­ory. Per­form­ing a re­pair in­stall varies be­tween each ver­sion of Win­dows, but each pro­ce­dure shares one com­mon char­ac­ter­is­tic: You have to be able to boot into Win­dows to launch the re­pair from the Win­dows desk­top.

If you’re us­ing ei­ther Win­dows 7 or 10, you can can in­sert your Win­dows in­stall me­dia and launch the in­stal­la­tion process from there. When prompted, choose the Cus­tom op­tion to ‘up­grade’ your ex­ist­ing in­stal­la­tion. If your Win­dows 10 me­dia isn’t the lat­est ver­sion, run the Me­dia Cre­ation Tool in­stead, and choose the Up­grade op­tion from there – make sure you select the op­tion to keep per­sonal files and apps be­fore click­ing In­stall.

Win­dows 8.1 pro­vides a handy ‘re­fresh’ op­tion, which en­ables you to re­in­stall Win­dows over the top of it­self – ac­cess this from ‘Change PC set­tings’ > ‘Up­date and re­cov­ery’ > Re­cov­ery, then click ‘Get started’ un­der Re­fresh.

The in­stal­la­tion process is iden­ti­cal to per­form­ing a full re­in­stall, but at the end of it, your pro­grams and data are un­touched; only Win­dows gets re­freshed, hope­fully re­solv­ing what­ever prob­lems you’ve been hav­ing. Note: It’s a lengthy process, so be pre­pared to wait an hour or more, de­pend­ing on the speed and state of your com­puter.

Don’t for­get to re­store your file backup post-re­in­stall.

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