Clean Up PC – A New Reset feature in Windows 10 Creators Update

Windows 10 gives you two reset options namely “Keep my files” (“Refresh”) and “Remove everything” (also known as “Reset”).

clean up pc system reset option

Now, the Windows 10 Creators Update Preview Build 14986 seems to have introduced a third system reset option named “Clean up and update this PC”. And the corresponding GUI option for this feature may be added in the upcoming builds or in the Windows 10 Creators Update (final) which is due for release in March 2017.

Note that this new “Cleanup” feature may be incomplete or still in development, and that’s probably why Microsoft didn’t add the option to the “Reset My PC” Settings user interface. If you wish to test this feature, it’s a good idea to do it in a virtual machine environment, or after creating a full image backup.

For now, the “Clean up and update this PC” option can only be invoked by running the following command-line, either from the Run dialog or Command Prompt:

systemreset -cleanpc

clean up pc system reset option

clean up pc system reset option

The “Clean Up” dialog says it does the following things:

  • Remove all apps and programs installed on the system.
  • Change settings back to their defaults.
  • Update your PC to the latest version of Windows without removing your personal files.

This new and hidden feature was first discovered by Inside Windows.

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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded in 2005.

4 thoughts on “Clean Up PC – A New Reset feature in Windows 10 Creators Update”

  1. I am comparing descriptions and it seems to me that this new addition is the same as “Keep my files” except it updates Windows too.

  2. This is a from Windows 8(or 8.1?) that they did away with in Windows 10. I put several hours into trying to port the feature to 10, to no avail. Though at the time I didn’t have the patience for sticking my firewire cards back into my machines, the realtime kernel debugging might have done the trick.
    This is a pretty surprising turnaround, as I had settled on the assumption that MS nixed the Refresh because it was preventing the need for the old migrate-what-you-can-into-fresh-install routine; my repetitions of which since diving into Windows 10 previews is likely in the triple digits. My assumption was also solidified when they released the “Refresh Windows” tool, as that was the same name as the option in Windows 8, which is in the metro UI settings right above ‘Reset’, sporting the exact same icon as the Refresh tool which basically performed the same function as the Reset. This struck me as a strategic burying of references to the Windows 8 feature in search results.
    So as far as your thought about it not being ready… ah- I just scrolled back up to reread that statement verbatim, and noticed the paragraph under the last two screenshots that I skipped over..
    So, this is -not- a return of the feature from Windows 8. The Refresh feature in Windows 8 reset all settings to defaults, and restored all system files to a ‘fresh’ install state, but -magically left all programs and apps installed!-.
    Maybe it -is- time to dust off my only Apple creations(and pretty much the only thing Apple ever actually created) and debug a Windows 8 refresh..

  3. Sorry, I was remembering Unicorns when it was really just Clydesdales(Awesome, but not magic.)
    Here’s a tidbit from an article written during the purple age of Windows 8:
    Refresh and Reset are two different options to recover Windows 8. Refresh keeps your personal files and settings intact, but replaces Windows system files. Apps that came with your PC and apps you installed from the Windows Store will be re-installed. Other apps that you installed from other websites or CD will get deleted, but Windows puts a list of the names of those apps on desktop.
    Note that, if your PC was originally shipped with Windows 8, then refreshing your PC will restore Windows 8. You will need to upgrade to Windows 8.1 after the refresh has finished.


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