Microsoft is making Windows 10 available as a free upgrade for just about anyone running Windows 7 or later. Just upgrade by July 29th, 2016 and you don’t have to pay a penny.
But what if you want a clean install of Windows 10 that doesn’t carry over all of your settings and data from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1?
You can do that… but you’ll have to upgrade first.
Microsoft’s Gabe Aul responded to a question on Twitter confirming that you can take the following steps to perform a clean install:
- Upgrade to Windows 10
- Find the “Reset this PC” option in the Update & Security section of the Windows 10 Settings app.
- Click “Get Started” and then choose whether to keep your files or remove everything. Either option will remove apps and settings, but you can choose not to have Windows erase your files.
That’s pretty much it. Your Windows license will remain effective, but the operating system will be reinstalled just as if you were setting up a new computer.
This shouldn’t be a big surprise: Windows has had a reset option for a while: In the Windows 8.1 Settings menu you can choose “Recovery” from the “Update and recovery” menu and then decide whether to “refresh your PC” or “remove everything.”
But since Microsoft is offering Windows 10 as a free upgrade, some folks had wondered if they’d lose their license after performing a fresh install. Aul says you can perform a clean reinstall any time… which means that even after July 29th, 2016 you’ll be able to reinstall Windows without losing your license.