How often do you "clean reset"/"clean install" your OS?


Level 32
Content Creator
Jun 24, 2016
Something I've noticed in the IT/geek world, most users clean re-install their Windows copy more times than it breaks. Meaning, they usually format their OS and clean install it just to get a cleaner, more stable OS.

I, personally, find myself clean installing Windows 10 latest build every one year aproximately, unless I need to do it sooner because of a major season update issue. By a year of clean installing is when I notice Windows is buggy enough due to leftovers, registry issues, etc.

What about you? Do you clean install more often? Do you not clean reinstall at all? When was the last time you clean installed Windows?


Level 9
Jan 17, 2014
I never do a clean reset/reinstall unless I absolutely have to and I've never really ran into many stability issues as some people say they do. Maybe its just the way I use my PC or maybe I'm just used to using unstable PC's from when I was growing up. But I've never really had issues that called for it.


Level 33
Apr 1, 2019
I only do a clean install if I’m having issues. I don’t do a lot of installing and uninstalling outside of games. On my last PC I went 4 years before a clean install, and it wasn’t due to performance. I think it’s largely unnecessary as a preventative measure, but a good step if issues crop up.

edit: This applies only to Windows 7 and later. Anything prior and a fresh install made a world of difference after long periods for me.


Level 5
Aug 7, 2017
I used to perform a clean install every 6-8 months when I participated in the W10 Insider program. But frankly I got bored of it and now that Windows is heck of a lot more stable than previous versions (even 7 IMO) I reinstall the OS only once a year or if something really gets messed up whichever is sooner.


Level 26
Aug 4, 2016
It was around a year ago then a week ago - i don't do a clean install unless I'm having issues, this time it was Windows Update - I think you are more inclined to do a clean install if you have few programs, it takes me quite a while as I use quite a few - Running well now this PC is.

Edit: Yoda speak :)


Level 27
May 10, 2019
I do a clean installation of Windows, run a full system backup after installing Windows updates, install my programmes, and then make another full system backup. I do run some incremental and differential backups afterwards so that I will always be able to revert to a better state of Windows if anything goes wrong. If I want to change my antivirus, I just restore the first clean image (which is basically clean install of Windows with updates installed).


Level 74
Content Creator
Malware Hunter
Aug 17, 2014
My way for "clean-install" Windows is usually twice per year, after major upgrade of Windows. I prefer to use system backups (Macrium Reflect) in case of issues caused by any software or more common by Windows Cumulative Updates...


Level 14
Jan 21, 2018
More often than I want to!

On one machine at home the 20H2 update version has seriously messed with it, three times. MS obviously believe it to be capable of working on as it keeps getting offered. I hold back from updating to a new Win 10 version as I don't have the time to mess around fixing issues caused by bugs, I normally hold off for a month or two. The first two times I tried to update to 20H2 the machine was screwed with no way to revert back using a reset, or any backup software that i use, so that was two fresh installs that i could have done with out. The third time was this week and somehow it messed with the BitLocker settings, the BitLocker Recovery key wasn't recognised, for about 10 hours! I'd messed around trying to access the C:\ drive in various ways and then tried the key again, this time it worked. I have no idea why or what I might have done to re-enable it and I don't have the time to investigate fully. But, glass-half full it now seems to work well with 20H2, not that I can see much to shout about 20H2, aside from the security fixes etc.

This is why I have Linux machines too! I've had so many run-ins with MS OSs over the years that I know not to rely on it 100%

If it is left entirely down to me as to how often I do a clean install of Win 10, its about once a year that I do it currently on the other machines here. I do it because I notice the machines run faster, probably due to clearing out a lot of left over files from software testing.
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Level 24
May 3, 2015
I have a computer that has not seem a fresh install in 4 years and Windows 10 is still stable , another is going to complete 3 years soon. Windows 10 is much better at self-repair than previous versions. I had to restore from image twice in 4 years because 3rd party programs messed Windows to a point it was faster restoring than repairing.


Level 31
Content Creator
May 13, 2017
Usually at least 4 times a year but since MS will release a major version only once a year, it will be probable only twice.
I install RTM as soon as it is available, test tweaks, break something, customize setup and the clean install it for real.
I made batch files that will install apps and setup everything, so OS is ready within an hour since booting OS setup.


Level 31
Jan 28, 2018
I would also note that I noticed far fewer issues over extended periods when I did not use a third party AV.
I feel the same way.
I sometimes think that third party software in general, not just AV, can weaken Windows.
That's why I think the MS Store needs to do more!:p

As for the old desktop pc's I use, I do clean installs on a regular basis. I don't have any particular problems with it, but it gives me the exhilarating feeling of cleaning the dust off the back of the furniture.