Get a clean install of Windows 10 with the Refresh Tool

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • For those of you who like an automated approach to perform a clean install of Windows 10, the Refresh Tool is a great choice.
  • The fact that it installs the latest build during the setup process is a plus. However, do note that this tool does not give you the option to perform any type of recovery.
  • In that regard, don’t hesitate to use one of the best local data backup software tools to make sure no important data is removed.
  • We share the enthusiasm with all of you who appreciate this slick and smart operating system. If you’re eager to discover more about it, please do keep in mind that we have a detailed How To hub that you may visit next.
How to get a clean install of Windows 10

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

Luckily, Microsoft has a special cleaning tool for Windows 10 allowing you to safely bring your computer to its original state.

Do keep in mind that the application removes all manufacturer’s apps, support apps, personal files, and drivers, but try to look on the bright side. Refresh Tool installs the most recent build of Windows 10 instead.

Therefore, you won’t have to spend any more time worrying about reinstalling downloading the latest version from Windows Update when setup is complete.

To be eligible to use it, note that your computer must be connected to the Internet throughout the entire process. Moreover, it needs to be running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update or later as no prior versions are compatible.

No less important, sufficient data storage available on the computer is required as the download is over 3GB.

All set and ready to wipe out any bloatware and configurations installed by your PC manufacturer? You just need to follow the below steps to complete the process.

How can I perform a Windows 10 clean install with the Refresh Tool?

  1. To start the procedure, use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Click Update & security.
  3. Click Recovery.
  4. Under More recovery options, click the link saying Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows.
  5. Scroll down, then click Download tool now.click Download tool now
  6. Double-click RefreshTool.exe.
  7. Click the Accept button in order to agree to the license terms.click the Accept button
  8. Choose the type of installation that suits your needs. You may Keep personal files only or Keep nothing.
  9. Click Install to start the clean installation. The Refresh Tool will proceed to download and reinstall the latest version of Windows 10 on your computer.start the clean installation
  10. The process is automatic. However, in case you change your mind, you can cancel the process while the Windows 10 Setup dialog window is still shown.

If you’re having trouble opening the Setting app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.


As said before, all applications installed on your PC will be removed, including paid applications. Only standard apps such as Mail and Edge will be kept.

If you want to make sure that important data is not removed, you can use an external storage device to back up data or have your files synced to OneDrive.

The only caveat here is drivers. There are indeed many device drivers available through Windows Update, yet there are times when specific drivers need to be installed manually.

To prevent this from happening in the first place, use the best driver backup software for Windows.

As you may well see, this official tool comes handy when you are having problems with Windows 10 and want to start from scratch. Have you tried it to refresh Windows 10?

Let us know how the procedure went for you in the comments area below.

FAQ: Learn more about reinstalling/refreshing Windows 10

  • Can I do a clean install of Windows 10 with the free upgrade?

Starting the upgrade from a previous qualifying version is mandatory. However, once your computer is updated to Windows 10 using the free upgrade offer and activated, clean installing it is possible.

  • Can I reinstall Windows 10 for free?

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.

  • Is it a good idea to refresh Windows 10?

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.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2016 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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