One of the problems with buying a new PC is that it typically comes loaded with junkware—bundled software and free trials you don’t want or need. It might sound harmless, but that software can slow down your computer and chew up memory.
You can try to uninstall each piece of junkware to clean up your PC, but it’s not always an easy process. It takes time to remove everything, and these programs can still leave behind files, registry entries, and other unwanted stuff. Instead of going through the trouble of using a third-party solution, your Windows 10 computer has a handy, built-in tool that can bring your bloated PC back to a pristine state.
Microsoft’s Fresh Start tool purges all applications that don’t come built into Windows 10 by installing a fresh copy of the operating system. That includes all third-party software, like unwanted junkware, but also software you actually want to keep, such as Microsoft Office.
If you decide to run the Fresh Start tool, be sure you have the necessary files to reinstall the programs you want to keep. Your Windows settings are also returned to their default options, so you’ll need to change them back according to your preferences. You can choose to keep all your documents and any other personal files, or remove them completely.
For these reasons, the best time to run the Fresh Start tool on a new machine is as soon as you take it out of the box. This way it’s less work to get a PC unburdened by junkware.
Open Fresh Start
To access this tool in Windows 10, click the Start button and go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Device performance & health.
Click the Additional info link under the Fresh Start section.
The next screen will tell you exactly what will be removed once you start the tool. Click the Get Started button to begin the process.
How to Use Fresh Start
A Fresh Start window pops up to explain the process. Click the Next button to see which apps will be removed. This will help you know which programs will need to be reinstalled once the process is complete. Click Next and click the Start button to begin.
The tool then downloads and installs Windows 10 from scratch. You’ll want to take a nice, loooong coffee break as this process can take awhile to finish.
Finally, Windows delivers you to the Lock screen and then the sign-in screen. Log in as you normally would.
Windows will now set itself up. After the setup completes, you’ll see that Windows 10 has reverted to a clean state with none of the junkware that plagued you before.
Of course, you’ll have to reinstall the apps that were removed and reset the settings that were changed in order to get Windows back to the way you want it. You can kick off this process by opening the Removed Apps desktop icon to see which programs you might want to reinstall.
Some apps may display a link to download them again. If the app you want is not listed, you will have to download it yourself.