How to Reinstall Windows 10 without Losing Data (3 Ways)?

Posted by @AOMEI

May 15, 2019

When your Windows 10 is not running smoothly as it should, you may consider reinstalling Windows 10. If you use this method, you can reinstall Windows 10 without losing data or programs.

How does it work?

When your system has issues and you have tried many solutions on the web to no valid, then you should reinstall Windows 10 to get all problems sorted out. By using the method that I am about to show you, you can choose to keep personal files and installed programs, keep personal files only, or keep files in a new location.

If you are certain that all applications are running well and the problem you are facing is not caused by any installed programs, then you can choose to reinstall Windows 10 without losing programs.

In order to keep your files or apps, Windows will scan your C: drive and place all your personal files aside. When the installation complete, Windows will put your personal files and settings back to the original location.

If you are using a genuine Windows 10, Windows 10 will automatically get activated after the reinstallation.

Method 1: Repair Upgrade

If your Windows 10 can boot and you believe all the installed programs are fine, then you can use this method to reinstall Windows 10 without losing files and apps.

1. Download the latest Windows 10 installation ISO file. You can also use Windows Media Creation tool to create an installation ISO.

2. Double click to mount the ISO file (for Windows 7, you need to use other tools to mount it). At the root directory, double-click to run the Setup.exe file.

3. When the Windows 10 Setup is ready, you can whether to download updates or not based on your needs.

Windows 10 Setup

4. In the screen, click "Change what to keep".

What NeedsYour Attention

5. From there. You can select "Keep personal files, apps, and Windows settings" or "Keep personal files only".

Choose What to Keep

6. Click Next to install Windows 10 without losing data.

This may take a while because it will spend extra time scanning your hard drive and moving files. If you just want to keep your files where they are, then try the next method.

Method 2: refresh Windows 10 without losing files

Windows 10 provides the feature "Reset this PC" to help you solve system problems by reinstalling Windows 10. During the process, you can choose whether to keep your personal files or not.

To use the feature, you can go to Settings > Update&Security > Recovery > Reset this PC.

You can also reset Windows 10 from command line. The process are shown below:

1. Type “cmd” in the search box and press Enter.

2. In the listed results, right click on the Command Prompt and select "Run as Administrator".

3. Type “systemreset” (without quotes) in the command prompt window and press Enter. If you need to reinstall Windows 10 and install new updates, you can run command “systemreset -cleanpc”.

Refresh Windows

If your system cannot boot, you can boot into recovery mode and from there, you can reset your PC. You can boot your PC from a recovery drive to reset your Windows 10.

Method 3: Reinstall from USB device or CD Disc

If you prefer installing Windows 10 from USB drive or installation disc, you can also choose to save the files. Before you do, you need to make sure your C: drive has more than 16GB of free space.

1. Insert your installation disc and boot from it. If you do not have one, you can download the Windows Media Creation tool to create one.

2. When it loads, select the language and keyword.

3. At the Setup screen, just select the C: drive and click Next to proceed.

Reinstall Windows 10 without Losing Data

4. Follow the Setup wizard and wait for the installation to complete.

As long as you do not format the C: drive in the Setup, you will not lose your data, but they are moved to another location. After the installation, you can find a folder Windows.old in the root directory of C: drive. All your files are saved there.

After copy all your needed files out from Windows.old folder, you can use Disk Cleanup to delete the Windows.old folder to free up disk space.

You do not have to reinstall Windows 10 to solve system issues

If you choose the first method, you can keep your programs, but it cannot fix the problems that caused by installed programs. If you choose the other two methods, you will lose all your programs. That may be a lot of work to reinstall all your applications.

To avoid such trouble, you can create a system image backup in case system issues that may happen in the future. For simplicity and effectiveness, you can use free backup software AOMEI Backupper Standard to protect your Windows 10 PC.

It does not require much disk space for keeping many backup versions thanks to its medium to high compression level and incremental/differential backup feature.

To create an image backup with AOMEI Backupper:

1. Download and install this free backup software.

2. Within AOMEI Backupper, click the "Backup" tab and choose "System Backup".

System Backup

3. Select a destination location to receive the backup image by clicking "Step2". You can backup to any location (folder) that Windows detects, including external hard drive, NAS network location, local storage, etc.

Backup Location

4. In the next screen, click "Schedule" to configure scheduled backup settings if need be. After that, click "Start Backup" to start the backup.

In a short time, the backup will be created. With a backup, whenever you have problems with your system, you can easily restore from the backup. When your PC fails to boot, you can restore from bootable CD

To reinstall Windows 10 without losing data is surely possibly using these three methods mentioned above, and it can fix system issues that may have. And it is obvious that restoring from a backup is easier and more convenient to solve Windows issues. 

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.