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Windows update to simplify reinstall without deleting files or apps

Windows update to simplify reinstall without deleting files or apps

Many system problems in Windows can be solved with a reinstallation. Microsoft is currently testing a feature that allows users to do this easily without a full reset of the PC. The option would leave files and apps untouched.

The new capability can be found in the latest Insider Preview Build (22635.2915), which has been rolling out since Dec. 14. However, it doesn’t seem to work yet. When announcing its latest Preview build, Microsoft did not name the new feature.

Windows Latest found the option in System > Recovery, where “Fix problems using Windows Update” had appeared. Microsoft already announced the upcoming feature in a blog post in the middle of this year. Insider Preview participants would be able to reinstall the latest update without losing files, settings or applications.

No installation media needed

Some problems with an operating system seem to be resolved only with a reinstallation. One cause for a persistent bug may be a conflict between different DLLs. A complete reset of the PC with a newly installed Windows version can fix this, but it’s a rather drastic step. First, this requires downloading installation media through the Windows Media Creation Tool. This enables a so-called “in-place upgrade” that replaces the installed version of Windows 11. After that, it usually takes hours for the system to complete this reinstallation, which is why Microsoft itself recommends exhausting all Troubleshooting options first.

With the new feature, Microsoft is aiming to ensure that Windows Update makes this course of action unnecessary. The question is, however, whether it will be as effective as a full reset for persistent problems.

Either way, the feature is likely to come to all Windows 11 systems in February 2024. That’s when the cumulative update “Moment 5” will appear. Its predecessor appeared in late September and introduced Copilot functionality for users outside the European Union.

Also read: Windows Mixed Reality dies a quiet death