In Windows 10 version 2004, Microsoft moved the functionality of the Fresh Start feature into Reset this PC and forgot to tell anyone about it.
In prior versions of the operating system, Windows 10 included two features that could be used to reset a PC back to defaults; the Reset this PC and Fresh Start features.
While they both reinstall Windows, there are differences between the two features.
Reset this PC would allow you to reinstall Windows and keep or wipe your data, depending on your chosen options. This feature, though, would reinstall any software preinstalled by your device’s manufacturer.
The Fresh Start feature would allow you to perform a ‘clean’ install of Windows 10 that lets you keep your data, but does not reinstall preinstalled software.
As we reported earlier this week, it is no longer possible to launch the Fresh Start feature in Windows 10 2004 via the usual methods. While there are ways to run Fresh Start still, when trying to access it via settings, you are brought to a support bulletin on Microsoft’s site instead.
Microsoft merged Fresh start with Reset this PC
As first spotted by Techdows.com, in an update to the support bulletin yesterday, Microsoft now states that Fresh Start is no longer an independent feature and has instead been merged with the Reset this PC feature.
“Fresh start is available for Windows 10 versions prior to 2004. For version 2004 and after, Fresh start functionality has been moved to Reset this PC. To reset your PC, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started. Then select Keep my files, choose cloud or local, change your settings, and set Restore preinstalled apps? to No. “
The problem is that Microsoft removed the feature and didn’t bother to tell anyone until a week after the release of Windows 10 2004.
Now when users run Reset this PC, Windows 10 will perform a clean install of Windows where you can retain or wipe your data if no preinstalled apps are detected.
If preinstalled applications are detected, Windows 10 will display an additional screen asking if you would like to “Restore preinstalled apps?”
If you select No, then Reset this PC will function exactly like the Fresh Start feature and perform a clean install of Windows 10.