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Microsoft Broke One of Its Most Useful Windows 10 Features With Its Latest Update

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Image for article titled Microsoft Broke One of Its Most Useful Windows 10 Features With Its Latest Update
Screenshot: Microsoft

Correction: 6/16/20 11:38 a.m. ET: Thanks to a few astute Windows 10 version 2004 users, we’ve been able to verify that the Fresh Start feature is not actually gone, but rather moved to a totally different location within the Settings. It also looks like Microsoft updated its support page yesterday to reflect this change.

“For version 2004 and after, Fresh start functionality has been moved to Reset this PC. To reset your PC, go to Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started. Then, select Keep my files, choose cloud or local, change your settings, and set Restore preinstalled apps? to No.”


For versions 1909 and earlier, Fresh Start is still located under Device Performance and Health, which in all fairness makes less sense than its new location. But it appears this change was not communicated clearly to Windows Insider users nor users who have been able to upgrade to version 2004 already.

Original article below:

Microsoft has had one heck of a time fixing bugs in its last couple of Windows 10 versions. Many users, myself included, stuck with version 1809 longer than we anticipated because of all the bugs in version 1903 when it rolled out last year. One bug prevented users from upgrading to version 1903 if they had a USB device or SD card connected to their PC. Other bugs affected the Microsoft Game bar.


Most of that has been resolved, and version 1903 is now pretty stable, which is good, because you’ll probably want to stay with it for now. Version 2004, which was released at the end of May, has introduced or reintroduced a host of new bugs that look like they’re not getting fixed any time soon. One of those has broken the Fresh Start feature, which lets you reinstall Windows 10 without losing any of your personal files. That feature is a better option than resetting Windows 10 back to factory default, because it doesn’t reinstall bloatware that OEMs commonly include with their PCs.

Windows Insider users have been reporting the broken Fresh Start feature to Microsoft for the last eight months, Techdows reported, yet Microsoft hasn’t publicly acknowledged the problem—it’s not listed on Microsoft’s site as a known issue. Gizmodo reached out to Microsoft for comment, but has yet to receive a response. We’ll update this article when/if we hear back.

What the Fresh Start page looks like on Windows 10 version 1903.
What the Fresh Start page looks like on Windows 10 version 1903.
Screenshot: Joanna Nelius (Gizmodo)

To access the Fresh Start feature in version 2004, Windows 10 users should go to Settings > Windows Security > Device Performance & Health. But according to Windows Insider users, there is no ‘get started’ button on the latest version, just the option to click on ‘additional info.’ Clicking on that opens up a webpage about the Fresh Start feature. It seems like the real issue is the missing button, and the additional info link works as intended, but is adding to the confusion.


The Windows Update tab on my PC lists the version 2004 update, but apparently my device is not compatible with the update at the moment. According to a Windows blog, Microsoft is “initially limiting availability to...devices running Windows 10, versions 1903 and 1909 who seek the update via Windows Update,” yet I have version 1903 and it’s unavailable for me. It’s not clear why my PC is incompatible with the update at the moment.

But that’s OK—I don’t want it anyway. In addition to Fresh Start missing its ‘get started’ button, other currently known and unresolved issues with version 2004 include: variable refresh rate not working as expected on devices with Intel iGPU; difficulty connecting to more than one Bluetooth device; stop error when plugging or unplugging a Thunderbolt dock; and an issue with older drivers for Nvidia display adapters (GPU).


That’s, uh, a lot. Hopefully, Microsoft can sort out its issues so we can all update without worrying about annoying broken features.