How to Refresh in Windows 11: A Quick and Easy Guide

Refreshing your Windows 11 computer is a simple way to resolve minor issues, improve performance, and ensure your system runs smoothly. Whether you’re experiencing slow performance or just want a fresh start, refreshing your system can make a significant difference. Here’s a quick guide to help you understand the process and get it done in no time.

How to Refresh in Windows 11

Refreshing your Windows 11 system will reinstall Windows but keep your personal files and some Windows settings. This process can help resolve issues and improve system performance without losing your important data. Follow these steps to refresh your Windows 11 computer.

Step 1: Open Settings

To begin, click on the Start menu and select the Settings icon.

Opening the Settings menu is your first step toward refreshing your system. The Settings icon looks like a gear and is located in the Start menu, typically on the left side.

Step 2: Go to ‘System’

In the Settings window, click on ‘System.’

The ‘System’ section contains many settings related to your computer’s basic operations, including the option to refresh your system.

Step 3: Select ‘Recovery’

Under the System menu, click on ‘Recovery.’

The Recovery option will take you to various tools designed to help you restore, reset, or refresh your system.

Step 4: Click on ‘Reset this PC’

Under the Recovery options, click on ‘Reset this PC’ and then select ‘Keep my files.’

This step is crucial. Choosing ‘Keep my files’ ensures that while Windows is reinstalled, your personal files and settings will remain intact.

Step 5: Follow the On-Screen Instructions

After selecting ‘Keep my files,’ follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Windows will guide you through the remaining steps, which include confirming your choice and beginning the refresh process. Your computer will restart, and the refresh will commence.

Once the refresh is complete, your computer will reboot and you’ll see a fresh installation of Windows 11. Your personal files will be right where you left them, but you may need to reinstall some apps.

Tips for Refreshing in Windows 11

  • Backup Important Files: Always back up your important files before starting the refresh process, just to be safe.
  • Check for Updates: Make sure your system is up to date to avoid any issues during the refresh.
  • Free Up Space: Having enough free space on your hard drive can help the refresh process go smoothly.
  • Uninstall Unnecessary Programs: Before refreshing, uninstall programs you no longer need to streamline the process.
  • Keep Your License Key Handy: If you need to reinstall some software, you might need the license keys.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to my files when I refresh Windows 11?

Your personal files and some settings are kept, but apps that didn’t come with your PC will be removed.

Do I need an internet connection to refresh Windows 11?

No, you don’t need an internet connection to refresh your PC, but having one can help with updates post-refresh.

How long does the refresh process take?

The time can vary, but it usually takes between 20 minutes to an hour.

Can I cancel the refresh once it starts?

No, once the refresh process starts, it cannot be canceled without potentially causing issues.

Will refreshing Windows 11 remove my apps?

Yes, apps that didn’t come with your PC will be removed, but your personal files and some settings will be kept.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Go to ‘System.’
  3. Select ‘Recovery.’
  4. Click on ‘Reset this PC.’
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.


Refreshing your Windows 11 computer can be a lifesaver when your system is sluggish or acting up. By following these simple steps, you can give your PC a new lease on life without losing your important files. Remember to back up your data, check for updates, and free up space before you start. After the refresh, your computer should run more smoothly, and you’ll be back to your regular activities in no time.

For more detailed guidance and tips, Microsoft’s official support page is a great resource. Refreshing your system is like giving it a fresh coat of paint—sometimes, it’s just what you need to get everything running perfectly again. So go ahead, follow these steps, and enjoy a refreshed Windows 11 experience!