RT Cunningham


Restore or Reinstall Windows 10 - You Should Always Be Prepared

Restore or Reinstall Windows

It’s almost inevitable. Windows 10 will crash or become inaccessible. If you’re prepared for it, you can choose to restore a backup or reinstall Windows.

I wrote about some backup and restore options a few short weeks ago. If you’re well-prepared, reinstalling Windows may be a better idea than restoring it.

Backup and Restore Windows 10

There’s a backup tool built into Windows 10, designed for Windows 7 originally. I can’t recommend it over free third-party software packages. I like using Clonezilla on a small, inexpensive USB flash drive. If you can still find a USB flash drive smaller than eight gigabytes, it will probably still be big enough to boot up and run Clonezilla.

Backup and restore utilities won’t do any good if you don’t plan ahead. You need to keep backups up-to-date and on media other than the same hard drive (or SSD) as Windows.

Reinstall Windows 10

Microsoft doesn’t give you the media when you buy a Windows computer anymore. I remember getting floppy disks and then compact discs years ago. The CDs weren’t much more reliable than the floppies. These days, Microsoft provides the software and the instructions without the media. The English download page is where you can get a copy.

Again, it won’t do you much good if you don’t plan ahead. Well, you should at least be able to borrow someone else’s computer long enough to create the installation media if you don’t.

A Plan to Reinstall Windows 10

I’ve thought about it. It would be a lot better, for me, to reinstall Windows instead of restoring it. I already keep my important data on other drives. I keep my software license keys separate as well.

There’s always extra, unwanted software included with Windows on the computers I buy. If I reinstall Windows 10 myself, I don’t have to deal with all that bloat. Hopefully, I won’t have to worry about it. I don’t usually make mistakes when managing drives and partitions. I just want to be prepared in the event I have a lapse in judgment or something.

I’m going to buy another USB flash drive, specifically for the software I intend to reinstall Windows with. I’ll keep it within reach as I get ready to set up a dual boot system. You see, I don’t like any version of Windows. I’m only using it because my laptop came with Windows 10 preinstalled. I already replaced it with Linux on the laptop I’m not using.

I’ll be shrinking the “C” (Windows) drive. removing the Windows RE tools partition, removing the “D” (recovery) partition, and then I’ll create the Linux partitions. Unless I have a coronary during the process, I shouldn’t have a problem. Even so, I’m smart enough to wait until there’s no one around to distract me. It may take me a couple of months.

Your Choice

It doesn’t matter if you prefer to restore or reinstall Windows. You need to be prepared for the eventual moment when Windows 10 craps out on you. Like I said earlier, it’s almost inevitable. I’ve heard of people making it from one version to another without any issues but I think it’s a rarity. Either that, or they’re the type of people who only use their computers a couple of times a month.

If you decide to use the backup and restore option, make sure you keep your backups up-to-date. If you decide to use the reinstall Windows option, you need to have the media on standby and easily accessible. If you decide on neither, then you’re just waiting for an accident to happen.

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RT Cunningham
December 27, 2018
Technology