Reinstalling an operating system takes time and requires you to configure many options according to your machine. However, reinstalling is a good idea if you have been experiencing some problems with your computer, or if you are probably giving away your computer, or perhaps in the case you want to get rid of bloatware and malware that have made your PC their beloved home.
4 Ways to Reinstall Windows
If you have never reinstalled Windows before, your confusion is legit. Since there are multiple ways to reinstall Windows, choosing which one suits you better can be a bit of a process. However, we have listed almost every process to reinstall the operating system, and you can choose whichever tickles your pickle.
- Reinstall Windows From a Bootable USB
- Reinstall Windows From Settings
- Reintall Windows From Recovery Mode
- Reinstall Windows by Mounting an ISO File
Reinstall Windows 11 From a Bootable USB
Creating a bootable USB to fresh install Windows has been one of the most tried and tested ways for quite some time, and with the use of many software, creating one is much easier than ever.
- Windows 11 ISO File
- Minimum 8GB USB Flashdrive
- A Windows Computer
Create a Bootable USB
There is much software available to create a bootable USB; however, we will use ‘Rufus’ to create one for this guide.
To do so, first, go to the rufus.ie website and click on the latest version of Rufus from the ‘Download’ section of the website.
After downloading, double-click to run the Rufus from the download directory of your PC. If you have not set any custom directory, the ‘Downloads’ folder is your default directory.
Note: Rufus is an executable file and needs no installation on your computer.
Next, plug in your USB if you haven’t till now. If only a single USB drive is connected, Rufus will automatically select it. Otherwise, choose your desired drive by clicking on the drop-down menu under the ‘Device’ section.
Next, click on the drop-down menu under the ‘Boot Selection’ field and click on the ‘Disk or ISO image’ option. Then, click on the ‘SELECT’ button to browse and choose the Windows 11 ISO file from your local storage.
After that, click on the drop-down menu under the ‘Image option’ field and select ‘Standard Windows installation option.
Select ‘GPT’ under the ‘Partition scheme’ section if the target machine is in UEFI BIOS Mode, or select ‘MBR’ if the targeted machine runs on the ‘Legacy’ BIOS system.
Then, Rufus will auto-populate the name for your drive and the file system and cluster size for your bootable USB drive. Finally, click on the ‘Start’ button to create a bootable USB drive.
After that, read the alert and click ‘OK’ to start the process.
It will take Rufus some time to configure the Windows 11 bootable USB.
Install Windows 11 from Bootable USB
Once you have created the Windows 11 USB bootable USB. Let’s now install Windows 11 from it.
To do so, first power off the targeted machine and power on again. Then, click the F12 key on your keyboard as soon as the display lights up to enter the ‘BIOS Menu’. You might see an indicator on your screen as the machine is preparing to enter the BIOS menu.
Once in the BIOS menu, select the ‘USB Storage Device’ option by navigating from the keyboard’s arrow keys and press Enter under the boot menu present on your screen.
Your targeted machine might take from a few seconds to a few minutes to get things going. Do NOT turn off your system even if the system feels to be stuck. You shall see the Windows Setup screen in some time.
Choose your language, Time format, and keyboard layout from the Windows Setup screen by clicking on the individual dropdown menu. Then, click on the ‘Next’ button from the bottom right corner of the window.
Next, click on the ‘Install Now’ button present in the center of the screen.
Since you are reinstalling Windows, click on the ‘I don’t have a product key’ option from the bottom section of the screen. If you wish to change your Windows version, you can enter your new product key in the space provided and click on the ‘Next’ button from the bottom right corner.
Then, choose the version of Windows 11 you wish to install by either navigating from arrow keys on your keyboard or using the mouse cursor. After that, click on the ‘Next’ button present on the screen.
Now, read the ‘End User License Agreement (EULA)’ from Microsoft. Then, tick the checkbox preceding the ‘I accept the license terms’ situated on the bottom left side of the screen. And then, click on the ‘Next’ button situated on the bottom right corner of the screen.
On the next screen, you will need to choose between two types of Installation. If you wish to remove all your personal files, folder and apps, click on the ‘Custom: Install Windows only’ option. If you wish to keep your files and folder intact, click on the ‘Upgrade: Install Windows and keep files, settings, and application’ option.
Now, select the partition you want to reinstall Windows by navigating using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Then, click the ‘Next’ button present on the screen.
After that, an alert will appear regarding the information of your files. Read it, and then click on the ‘OK’ button.
Windows will now start installing on your computer. This process might take several hours, and your computer might restart many times, which is normal behavior when reinstalling Windows.
Reinstall Windows 11 From Windows Settings
If you do not wish to create a bootable USB, you can also reinstall Windows from within the system ‘Settings’.
To do so, first, go to the ‘Settings’ app from the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can also press the Windows+I shortcut on your keyboard to launch the Settings app.
After that, click on the ‘System’ tab from the left panel on the screen.
Now, scroll down and click on the ‘Recovery’ tab present on the screen.
Then, click on the ‘Reset PC’ option on the ‘Recovery Setting’ screen.
After clicking the ‘Reset PC’, a separate window will open.
On this separate window, choose the ‘Keep my files’ option if you do not remove your personal files and folders. However, if you want to have a clean reinstall, click on the ‘Remove everything’ option. (We are choosing the ‘Remove everything’ option here.)
You will need to choose between a ‘Cloud Install’ or ‘Local reinstall’ on the next screen. Click on ‘Cloud Install’ if you wish to download new Windows system files from Microsoft servers. Otherwise, click on ‘Local reinstall’ to let your OS gather and reinstall the Windows using the files already present on your local storage. We are choosing the ‘Local reinstall option here.)
(The ‘Cloud download’ option is believed to be more reliable and provide a relatively stable performance to ‘Local reinstall’ as there can be a possibility where the local storage files and damaged or corrupted. However, the ‘Cloud download’ option will consume at least 4GB of your data.)
Note: Neither of the options would require you to plug in any external installation media.
After that, you will be able to see all your current settings for resetting the PC. If you wish to change those, click on the ‘Change settings’ option. Otherwise, click on the ‘Next’ button present on the screen.
Note: If you do not wish to change any settings and have clicked on the ‘Next’ button, please skip the next step.
After clicking on the ‘Change settings’ option, you will be able to change settings regarding keeping or removing your personal files, making them unrecoverable in case you are doing away with your computer, and you can also switch from ‘cloud download’ to ‘Local reinstall’ and vice versa should you need to by clicking on the toggle switches present under each option.
Once you have toggled the settings according to your preferences, click on the ‘Confirm’ button to proceed. Again, we are not opting to change any setting and are going with the default options for the reinstall.
After that, a list of the impact of resetting will be displayed on your screen. Read it and then click on the ‘Reset’ button to start the process on your machine.
Resetting will take a few hours to complete, and your machine might restart more than once to complete the process.
Reinstall Windows from Recovery Mode
If your PC is acting up as soon as you sign in to your device or have forgotten the password for your device, you can reinstall Windows straight from the recovery mode as well.
To boot your PC into recovery mode, from the sign-in screen, click the power button from the bottom right corner and then press and hold the Shift key while you click the ‘Restart’ option in the Power menu.
Your Windows 11 PC will now restart and boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).
Once you are into Recovery Environment, select the ‘Troubleshoot’ option by either navigating using the arrow keys on your keyboard and press Enter to select or click on the option using your mouse.
Then, click on the ‘Reset this PC’ option from the ‘Troubleshoot’ screen.
After that, choose the ‘Remove everything’ option if you want to remove all your personal files, apps, and settings. Otherwise, click on the ‘keep my files’ option present on the screen.
Next, choose ‘Cloud download’ if you prefer to download fresh system files from the Microsoft servers or click on the ‘Local’ reinstall’ option to use the files present on your local storage. (If you have been having problems with your system, choosing the ‘Cloud download’ option is preferable. However, it will require a stable internet connection and consume at least 4 GB of data.)
Note: None of the options on this screen would need you to insert an external installation media for reinstalling the Windows.
On the next screen, choose the ‘Only the drive where Windows is installed’ option to format only the Windows installer drive. If you wish to format all your drives, click on the ‘All drives’ option present on the screen.
After that, click on the ‘Just remove my files’ option to delete your files. If you do not want your personal files to be recoverable, click on the ‘Fully clean the drive’ option.
Finally, Windows will list down all the impacts of resetting your machine according to your preferred settings. Read them and click on the ‘Reset’ button situated on the bottom right corner to commit to the process.
Reinstall Windows 11 by Mounting ISO File
Reinstalling Windows by mounting the ISO file on your personal computer is a very straightforward process. Also, this process provides you with an option to keep all your files and settings as is, along with reinstalling Windows.
- Windows 11 ISO File
- A Windows Computer
Install Windows 11 Using ISO File
Before starting the installation, you will have to mount the ISO file onto your system.
To do that, locate the Windows 11 ISO file in your local storage and then right-click on the file. Next, choose the ‘Mount’ option from the context menu.
Now, navigate to the mounted drive and double-click on the
setup.exe file to run the setup.
After clicking the file, a separate setup window will open. Click on the ‘Next’ button from the bottom right corner of the window to proceed.
Now, the Windows setup will check for the available updates. Give it a minute as the process runs in the background.
Next, read the ‘End User License Agreement’ from Microsoft and then click on the ‘Accept’ button present on the bottom right corner of the window.
Windows setup might again check for the updates needed according to your PC.
Once the updates have been downloaded, please wait for a few minutes as the installation wizard configures itself.
Then, the setup wizard will list down the version of Windows it will install along with the type of files to be kept as is. If you wish to change the types of files you want to keep, click on the ‘Change what to keep’ option.
On the next screen, you will have three options to choose from. To have a clean install of Windows 11, click on the ‘Nothing’ option. Next, choose the ‘Keep personal files only’ option to delete your apps and settings but keep your files. Otherwise, click on ‘Keep personal files and apps’ only to reset the Windows settings. Once done, click the ‘Next’ button at the bottom right of the window.
After that, Windows will list down the settings you have chosen to reinstall Windows, read it and then click on the ‘Install’ button to commence the installation.
Windows 11 First Boot Setup
After completing Windows 11 installation, when your machine boots up for the first time, you will have to configure Windows 11 to be set according to your needs.
On the first screen, you will have to choose the country/region you reside in. To do so, either navigate using arrow keys or scroll and click using your mouse to navigate and select your country from the list. Then click on the ‘Yes’ button from the bottom right corner to confirm and proceed.
Similarly, select the keyboard layout for your machine by either navigating using arrow keys or using the mouse. Once selected, click on the ‘Yes’ button from the bottom right corner of the screen.
Now, if you would like to add a second keyboard layout, click on ‘Add layout’, otherwise click on ‘Skip’, and proceed further. We are not adding another keyboard layout here, hence choosing the ‘Skip’ option.
On the next connect to your WiFi. First, click on your WiFi name, then click on the ‘Connect’ button and enter your password. Once entered, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
After connecting to your WiFi, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed further.
If you do not wish to connect to a network at this stage, click on the ‘I don’t have internet’ option from the bottom section of the screen.
Now, enter an appropriate name for your PC in the space provided. Then click on the ‘Next’ button from the bottom right corner of the screen. If you do not want to add a name for your PC, click on the ‘Skip for now’ option.
On the next screen, click on the ‘Set up for personal use’ if it is your personal machine. Otherwise, if you wish to use the machine for your organization or educational institution, click on the ‘Set up for work or school’ option present on the screen and click the ‘Next’ button.
After that, Sign in with your Microsoft account by entering your credentials in the space provided and click on the ‘Next’ button present on the bottom right of the screen.
Once you have signed in, click on ‘Set up as new device’ if you do not wish to restore your settings and apps from the Windows version you previously ran on your machine. Otherwise, click on the ‘Restore from <your machine name>’ to restore your settings and apps. Then, click on the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
Then, read and toggle the privacy settings using the toggle switch present under each setting as per your preference, and click on the ‘Accept’ button to proceed further.
Next, you can select the categories by clicking the checkbox present on their individual tabs to receive tips, tools, and suggestions from Microsoft to use your computer better. Once chosen, click on the ‘Accept’ button. If you do not wish to receive tips and tricks, click on the ‘Skip’ button to proceed.
After that, Choose the ‘Only store files on this device’ option if you do not use the’OneDrive’ service to store your files on the cloud. Otherwise, click on the ‘Automatically store my files in OneDrive’ option and then click the ‘Next’ button to proceed.
If you wish to use the ‘Microsoft 365’ service, click on the ‘Try for free’ button. Otherwise, click on the ‘No, thanks’ button from the bottom of the screen.
Your setup for Windows 11 is now complete. However, your PC might require a few minutes to complete the process and load the desktop. So sit back while the setup is being completed in the background.
Well, now you know everything about reinstalling Windows and even setting up Windows 11 on its first boot.