Things To Consider... Before You Reinstall Windows
Windows Help & Advice|February 2020
Keep lists of installed programs, and their activation keys, to rapidly make your old PC feel like new again

Reinstalling Windows 10 is a fairly trivial task. Put in the right media, boot from it, grind away the old OS, and replace it with the pristine bits of a shiny new install. This can be a painless, if time-consuming, procedure that leaves you with a like-new PC, or perhaps an even better one if you were unlucky enough to buy a PC burdened with preinstalled trashware.

Before you do this, make sure you’ve checked offa few prerequisites, all of which are good practice even if you’re not planning to wipe everything and start again.

First, keep a record of your product key (if you have one – most likely if you’ve upgraded from a previous version of Windows), or make sure your digital licence is well looked after. If you’ve bought a PC in the last few years, you’re probably using a digital licence rather than a key. Check Settings > Update & Security > Activation. If you see the message “Windows is activated with a digital licence,” this means you’re digitally signed, but you should link that license to your Microsoft account in case of installation issues or future hardware changes. Head to Settings > Accounts > Your Info, sign in with your Microsoft account details, and the message should change to “Windows is activated with a digital licence associated with your Microsoft account.”

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