Windows Insiders can now play with Microsoft's fresh install tool

— 3:23 PM on June 17, 2016

Microsoft has a new tool in testing for Windows Insiders that purports to make fresh OS installs as painless as possible. The life of an Insider can apparently be a tumultuous one. Broken new features and buggy updates mean that it's probably good to make a fresh start every so often, and this tool could go a long way toward automating that tedious process. The new tool doesn't have an official name, but Microsoft seems to be using the phrase "start fresh" to manage communications about it.

Essentially, Windows Insider testers can download the tool and run it to automatically download and install a fresh copy of the Windows 10 Insider Preview. The tool isn't guaranteed to install the latest version, but Microsoft says it should be a "recent" version. Users will be prompted to "Keep personal files only" or "Keep nothing," much like the Windows 10 upgrade process. After a bit of automated work behind the scenes, the machine will boot back to the Windows desktop.

No software is kept at all, including hardware drivers, which might lead one to ask, "why would I use this instead of simply doing a clean install?" The biggest difference is the network-based nature of the tool. Instead of having to track down an install image and create your own install media, the tool will do it all for you. The "start fresh" tool also gives the option to automatically preserve user files, but we'd probably keep a backup or two just in case.

Right now, the tool is only available for Windows Insiders on Preview builds, but that's because the tool itself is not a final product. Microsoft intends to bring the tool to the general Windows user audience with the Anniversary Update. This tool could be good news for anyone looking to slap a fresh copy of Windows on a branded PC loaded down with bloatware when it becomes available to the general public.

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