How to Backup Windows 10 for Fresh Install

Posted by @Cody

January 5, 2018

When you find your computers have issue without knowing why, you can do a fresh install which will fix all Windows issues. You can create a backup before Windows 10 clean install to avoid losing precious data.

Windows 10 fresh install is needed

If your computer has problems, such as running slow, system crash, programs quitting randomly, or some, a fresh install may be the best way to fix it. It is hard to find the real reason behind your system problems, and reinstalling Windows can surely fix these deep-seated problems.

If you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, you may find some system issues. After the upgrade, system may run slowly due to unknown programs taking up much computer resources, some programs abort in the middle of an operation, and other strange behaviors may arise. In that case, you can do a fresh install to fix all that problems.

How to keep the data stored on C: drive when reinstalling

Generally, after fresh Windows 10 installation, all your files and programs saved on C: drive will be lost. Getting rid of system problems is great, but having to reinstall all well functional programs may be cumbersome.

Luckily, there are two ways to still keep data remaining on C: drive when you do a clean install. If your C: drive is larger enough (at least 16GB of free space), you can reinstall Windows 10 on C: drive without formatting C: drive. In that way, Windows will move all data to Windows.old folder. After the fresh install, you can move all your data out of that folder.

You can also create a system backup, then selectively restore some of the files and programs to C: drive after the fresh install.

Backup your Computer before clean install

If you want to clean system drive only and reinstall Windows 10, you can backup only system to avoid data loss. If you want to clean up the entire hard drive and start fresh, you can backup the hard drive.

Considering the need to flexibly restore files from an image backup, you can use free backup and restore software AOMEI Backupper. It allows you to backup system, files, partitions and disks and to retrieve some of the files without restoring the whole image backup.

You can refer the following steps to backup your system or hard drive:

Step 1.  Download this freeware, install and launch it.

Step 2. Click Backup tab and then select System Backup to only backup system. If you want to backup the entire system disk, just select Disk Backup.

System Backup

Step 3. In the next screen, you can see AOMEI Backupper has already included the system related partitions under Step 1, so you just need to click on Step 2 to specify a location to receive the image backup.

Select Destination Path

Step 4. In the Operation Summary screen, click Start Backup to start the backup.

It is recommended to backup Windows 10 to an external hard drive or network attached storage (NAS) since fresh install will delete everything on C: drive.

How to fresh install Windows 10

To reinstall Windows 10 from scratch, you should prepare a Windows 10 installation disc or USB drive. If you do not have one, you download the Windows 10 media creation tool from Microsoft to create one. Then follow the steps below:

Step 1. Connect the Windows 10 installation disk to your computer.

Step 2. Press a specified key (usually Delete or F2) to boot into BIOS and modify the boot order, so your computer will boot from the installation disk.

Step 3. When loaded, select language and other preference, and then click Install Now.

Step 4. When you are asked to enter product key, just click Skip. After fresh installation, Windows 10 will automatically get activated

Step 5. Select Windows 10 installation type: Custom to ensure a clean install.

Custom Install Windows 10

Step 6. Delete C: drive and system reserved partition. Then select the unallocated space and click New to create a new system reserved partition and C: drive. Then select that partition to fresh install Windows 10.

Delete C Drive

Step. 7. When the copying files process is complete or computer restarts, disconnect the Windows 10 installation disk and wait for the installation to complete.

Restore some of the files from system image backup

Now, you should have your fresh Windows 10 installed. Since we have backed up Windows 10 for a fresh install, then you restore files that you like to keep. You can reinstall AMEI Backupper or use AOMEI Backupper bootable media to restore the data.

Within AOMEI Backupper, select Explore Image under Utilities instead of Restore. If you restore the whole system image, then the fresh install is for nothing.

Explore Image

Then follow the instruction to select the backup image and mount it to virtual partition(s). When the process is complete, you can view all the files in Windows File Explorer.

Assign Drive Letter

Any files you still want to keep, just copy them to the corresponding location. To avoid potential problems, you should save them as the original location path.

If you even need a fresh install, you should backup Windows 10 for fresh install to avoid data loss or potential issues. As you can see, AOMEI Backupper is suitable for backing up your computer data. Besides, AOMEI Backupper Standard can also help you clone hard drive to SSD, copy partitions, sync file or folders disk, etc.