A Look At Files Kept After A Windows 10 Reset

The Windows Registry is one of those essential components of Windows that you shouldn’t tweak too much. If you mess with it, your apps might stop working or Windows might start giving you trouble. That’s precisely why you shouldn’t edit the registry unless you know what you’re doing. It’s also why you should back it up before you edit it. There’s no tool that lets you reset the Windows registry. In fact, if your Windows installation has become particularly buggy you’re going to have to do a fresh install. The only exception is with Windows 10. Windows 10 has a neat reset feature that fixes most, if not all problems. When you reset Windows 10, you can do a full reset that removed everything or you can keep your files. What’s important is files kept after a Windows 10 reset.

Reset Windows 10

To reset Windows 10, open the Settings app. Go to the Update & Security group of settings. Select the Recovery tab and click ‘Get Started’ under the ‘Reset  this PC section.

You have two options for resetting Windows 10; Keep my files, and Remove everything. The ‘Remove everything’ option is pretty obvious. Everything, your files, your apps, and your settings are removed. You get a fresh Windows 10 installation. The ‘Keep my files’ option needs a little more detail.

Files Kept After A Windows 10 Reset

You will not have to activate Windows 10 again. If you had a duly activated copy of Windows 10, it will be activated automatically after the reset. If you want to be extra careful, you can find your Windows 10 product key before the reset and have it on-hand for later use.

Third-party apps: All third-party apps that you installed will be removed. This means, you will have to install them again when you start using your system. If your apps have licenses that you need in order to use them, you should back them up or make sure you have them.

Files in other drives: The reset does not remove files from drives that your OS is not installed on. If you’ve installed Windows 10 on your C drive, and have files on your D drive, they will be untouched.

Your User  Folder: Files in this folder are not removed when you reset Windows 10 and choose the Keep my files option. This includes the files you have in your Windows libraries i.e., the Document, Music, Pictures, etc., libraries.

Files On Your OS Drive: If you have files and folders saved to you OS drive, they will not be removed. For example, if you have driver files on your C drive, they will still be there after a system reset.

AppData: Everything in this folder will be moved to a Windows.old folder. This folder is created at the root of your OS drive.

Public Profile Folder: Files in your public folder are moved to the Windows.old folder.

Remember that apps will be removed so your Program Files and Program Files (86) folders will be much thinner if not completely empty. Any and all files related to these apps, such as settings files, will be removed.

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About Kelli Smith

Kelli Smith
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.

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