You can perform a clean install of Windows 10 even if you don’t have the original installation DVD.
The advanced recovery environment in Windows 10 is used to diagnose and fix issues with your Windows installation. This includes performing a clean Windows 10 install, too. There are several methods for loading the recovery environment. These methods work even if you don’t have the original Windows 10 installation media you used for your first installation. With these steps, you can use the recovery partition built-in to Windows 10 to reinstall the operating system.
Perform a Clean Install Using Advanced Recovery Options in Windows 10
The advanced recovery environment is used to resolve problems that might prevent your Windows 10 installation from starting. There are several ways you can boot into it.
Option 1: Load the Recovery Environment When You Start Your Computer
This is the most common method because it can be used when you can’t boot to the Windows 10 sign in screen or desktop.
Press the power button to start your computer. Immediately when the Windows 10 splash screen appears, power off the system. Repeat this process two more times. Upon the third try, Windows will load into the recovery environment.
Click Advanced options.
Click Reset this PC.
Click Fully clean the drive.
The rest of the process is just like performing a new install of Windows 10.
Option 2: Load the Recovery Environment at the Sign In Screen
If your Windows 10 installation is able to make it to the sign in screen, but you cannot load the desktop, you can still boot into the recovery environment.
Hold down the shift key on your keyboard while clicking the Power button on the screen.
Keep holding down the shift key while clicking Restart.
Keep holding down the shift key until the Advanced Recovery Options menu loads.
Click Reset this PC.
Choose to Keep my files or perform a clean install and Remove everything.
Windows 10 will then reboot into a second phase.
On the Reset this PC screen, choose whether or not you want to fully clean your drive.
If you plan to keep the device though, Just remove my files should be sufficient. If you are selling or donating your Windows 10 PC, or experiencing issues loading Windows 10 due to a corrupt user profile, Fully clean the drive may be the best option.
Option 3: Load the Recovery Environment from the Desktop
If you are able to boot to your Windows desktop, you can boot into the recovery environment to perform a clean install.
Open Start > Settings > Update & security > Recovery. Under Advanced startup, click Restart now.
Windows will reboot into the recovery environment. Click Troubleshoot. Click Reset this PC then repeat the same steps as described in Option 2.
These are the three best methods for starting a clean installation of Windows 10 from a computer with Windows 10 installed already. These options come in handy if you don’t happen to have any physical reinstall media such as a USB or DVD. Remember you can also create a recovery drive in advance since this can be helpful if your system reserve drive is damaged.
If your computer can’t even boot into the recovery environment, check out our previous article Windows 10 Won’t Boot? Fix it with Startup Repair and BootRec Commands.
Have you had to reinstall Windows 10? What method did you use and how did it go? Share your experience in the comments.