Get a Clean Install of Windows 10/11 without the Refresh Tool

by Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina Dinita
Madalina has been a Windows fan ever since she got her hands on her first Windows XP computer. She is interested in all things technology, especially emerging technologies... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Refresh Tool can help you if you want to fix any problems that you may have with your system.
  • Using the reset option is a great way to quickly and easily perform a clean install.
  • If you want to preserve your files, an in-place upgrade is an option that you should definitely consider.

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If you’re experiencing issues on your computer running Windows 10/11, the cause may lie in various bottlenecks, bloatware, and other programs that slow down your computer’s performance.

Luckily, Microsoft had a special tool that allowed you to safely bring your computer to its original state, by performing a clean install of Windows 10.

There have been many changes since the tool was originally released, so today we’re going to answer all your questions regarding the Refresh Tool on Windows.

Is the Windows Refresh tool available for download on Windows 10 and 11?

We couldn’t find this software available on any Microsoft page for download, so it’s safe to say that it’s not available for download.

You may find it on third-party websites, but we advise against it since using unknown software from third-party sources can be dangerous in the long run.

Luckily, there are ways to perform a clean install without having to rely on this software, and today we’ll show you how to do it.

How can I perform a Windows 10/11 clean install without the Refresh Tool?

1. Use the Settings app

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to Update & Security section.
  3. Now go to Recovery and click on Get Started in the Recovrery section.
  4. Choose if you want to keep your personal files or if you want to remove them. We suggest to use the Keep my files option.
  5. Now select what type of reinstallation you want to perform. Local reinstall is usually faster, so we recommend to use it.
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.

Keep in mind that this method will remove your installed apps, but it should keep your personal files.

2. Perform in-place upgrade

  1. Visit the Windows 10 download page.
  2. Click on Download now in the Create Windows 10 installation media section.
  3. Once the file is downloaded, run it.
  4. Select Upgrade this PC now.
  5. The latest version of Windows will now download.
  6. When you get to the Ready to install screen make sure that Keep personal files and apps is checked. If not, go to Change what to keep and enable it.
  7. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the setup process.

By using you’ll refresh Windows 10 without losing programs. Do keep in mind that this method will upgrade your OS to the latest version.

How can I use Refresh Tool on Windows 11?

1. Use the Settings app

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Recovery section.
    System Recovery
  3. Click on Reset PC.
  4. Select Keep my files.
  5. Now pick the reinstall type. We suggest using Local reinstall since it’s faster.
  6. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.

2. Perform an in-place upgrade

  1. Visit Windows 11 download page.
  2. Click on Download now in Create Windows 11 Installation Media section.
  3. Once the download is finished, run the file that you just downloaded.
  4. Select Upgrade this PC.
  5. Wait for the download to complete.
  6. When you get to the Ready to install screen, ensure that Keep personal files and apps is selected.
  7. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the process.

Windows refresh vs reset, what should I use?

Windows refresh is a process in which you reinstall Windows while keeping all your personal files, settings, and Microsoft Store apps.

On the other hand, a reset will remove all your files, and apps, and reinstall Windows completely. In our opinion, the reset option is always a better solution as long as you back up your files and apps beforehand.

Even though the Refresh Tool isn’t available anymore, there are still ways to refresh your PC and perform a clean install.

If Windows Refresh Tool isn’t working, you might want to consider performing a Windows 11 reinstall on your PC.

What is your preferred way to refresh your Windows installation? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • No, you can’t. Starting the upgrade from a previous qualifying version is mandatory. However, once your computer to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer and activates online automatically, clean installing it is possible.

  • Using the Reset This PC feature or using this guide to create a bootable USB drive and starting the PC from it are both viable ways to reinstall Windows 10 for free.

  • Refreshing Windows 10 is recommended when you’ve purchased a new PC with manufacturer-installed bloatware you don’t want. Use this dedicated article to remove bloatware.

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