Windows Security (previously known as Windows Defender Security Center) is a great start to see that your Windows 10 device is running smoothly. Under Windows Security, Device performance & health helps you keep your devices refreshed and up to date. Device health advisor keeps tabs on your Windows 10 device and gives you recommendations to avoid issues with your storage, battery, device drivers, or Windows Update.
Device performance & health also includes "Fresh start," which is a feature that refreshes your device by re-installing and updating Windows 10. Fresh start is necessary for situations where your Windows 10 device has serious performance issues or is cluttered with too many unnecessary apps. Microsoft has important warnings for new Windows 10 users to know before you use Fresh start.
- Back up your files before making changes, including installing a clean installation of Windows to your device.
- Fresh start will remove all apps that don't come standard with Windows, these apps include other Microsoft apps such as Office, third-party antivirus software, and desktop apps that came pre-installed on your device. Fresh start will also remove all other Windows Desktop apps installed by your Windows 10 device manufacturer, including their support apps and device drivers. You cannot recover these apps and you will need to manually re-install these apps if you want to keep using them.
- You may lose your digital licenses, digital content associated with apps, or other digital entitlements for apps, which may impact your ability to use apps or app-related content you paid for.
- Make sure that you have access to all reinstallation media (such as CDs), product keys, license or login information, or other materials needed to manually reinstall and reactivate the apps or app-related content you want to keep using.
Here's what you need to do to perform a Fresh Start installation.
- Go to Settings.
- Go to Update & Security.
- Go to Windows Security.
- Choose Device performance & health. The Windows Security app will automatically open.
- Under Fresh start, choose Additional Info. The Fresh start welcome screen will appear.
- Choose "Get started" and say yes to the UAC (User Account Control) prompt to initiate Fresh start.
Alternatively, you don't need to go through Settings to open Windows Security. You can also search for the app in your app list or through the Cortana search bar and the app will appear. Unless this is the first time you are using Fresh start on your Windows 10 device, you can also see the last time you ran Fresh start.
The Windows 10 re-installation and update process takes about 20 minutes to complete. Fresh start will give you a list of the apps that were removed so you know which apps to reinstall when you are done re-installing a clean version of Windows 10. Now you have a "fresh start" with a clean installation of Windows 10!