Microsoft is testing a new Windows 10 Tool that allows owners of Windows 10 PCs and mobile devices to reinstall Windows from scratch.
The software, collectively known as bloatware or crapware, was bundled by manufacturers into desktop and laptop computers as part of a deal with software companies or to push out their own apps.
“We’ve heard from many of you that are attempting to perform a clean installation of Windows that it can sometimes be hard to get started. To help, we are providing a new tool that enables an easy and simple way to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows. This tool is now available from the Settings app for Windows Insiders using the latest builds that installs a clean copy of the most recent version of Windows 10 and removes apps that were installed on your PC” Redmond said in a blog post.
Windows 10 Tool wipes out all apps and software that do not come with the operating system’s standard build upon the installation of the fresh copy of Windows 10, which includes bloatware, support apps and drivers. Users can choose to keep personal files on the computer, including the files kept in core folders such as Documents and Picture, or delete everything for a truly refreshed machine.
In both cases, users will need to re-install software such as Microsoft Office and other third-party apps, along with drivers through Windows update or through the official websites of the manufacturer of the computer and its components.
Refresh Windows is a good tool to use for those who have bought a new computer. Before installing anything into the new machine, using the tool first will clean out all the bloatware, preparing the computer for all the software that the user plans to install.
On the flip side, using the Windows 10 Tool on a computer that includes important apps and data is not recommended, as the apps or data could be permanently deleted by using Refresh Windows.
The ability to do a clean install on a computer to remove all bloatware has previously been available through the installation of a clean disk image of Windows. However, only experienced users were able to access this method due to the need to handle disk images. Refresh Windows will make the process somewhat easier by automating the downloading and installation of the clean disk image.
While the Windows 10 Tool will be welcomed by users, it is likely not in good standing with the hardware partners of Microsoft, as bloatware is installed on computers for additional revenue.
Users can expect Refresh Windows to be included in the upcoming Anniversary Update for Windows 10, which will be pushed out in July. The update will introduce several new features and improvements to the operating system, including facial recognition security options and a smarter Cortana.