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ISSUE 17.38.F • 2020-09-28

 

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The AskWoody Newsletter
FREE EDITION

In this issue

LANGALIST: Win10’s ever-changing Reset functions

BEST OF THE LOUNGE: Windows XP source code leaked?

Additional articles in the PLUS issue

PATCH WATCH: I’m almost ready for Windows 10 2004 … almost!

SMALL-BUSINESS WEBSITES: Web presence: Business social networking

BEST UTILITIES: Freeware Spotlight — ControlUWP


LANGALIST

Win10’s ever-changing Reset functions

Fred Langa

By Fred Langa

Microsoft has quietly removed one of Win10’s three built-in Reset options.

In Version 2004 (April 2020), the somewhat confusing and redundant Fresh start option is now gone, replaced by an enhanced and clearer Reset/Keep My Files function.

Another improvement: All Win10 Reset controls now let you choose between local or cloud-based reinstallation files.

Making system resets a bit simpler

Windows 10’s highly automated Reset options are the best OS-reinstallation tools Microsoft has ever produced — but they’re still evolving, which has led to some confusion among users.

Prior versions of Win10 included Reset/Remove everything, Reset/Keep my files, and Fresh start. I described each of these options in “Removing bloatware and OEM mods from new machines,” AskWoody Plus 2019-12-09. But I also noted a problem with these choices in that article:

Fresh start is a close cousin to Win8/10’s now-classic Reset this PC/Keep my files. [But] Fresh start and Reset/Keep my files differ in how they’re accessed and in what they claim to do. For example, Reset/Keep my files says it ‘removes apps and settings,’ while Fresh start states that ‘some Windows settings will be kept.’ Despite digging deep into Microsoft’s tech documentation, I could find nothing indicating whether this is actually a significant difference or just sloppy verbiage.”

Refreshing Windows is somewhat simpler with Version 2004. Microsoft not only eliminated Fresh start entirely, it also added new features and better explanatory text to the remaining two Reset options. The former Fresh start functions are now incorporated into an enhanced Reset/Keep my files.

As Microsoft now says on a Windows 10 support page:

“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.”

If you’ve previously used Reset/Keep my files or Reset/Remove everything, you might have noticed some new options in the above instructions.

For example, Reset now lets you choose the source of the operating-system reinstallation files: those present on the system drive in a normal Win10 setup or 100-percent fresh and up-to-date installation files downloaded from Microsoft’s cloud servers. (I’ll come back to this point in a moment.)

The new reset process works mostly as you’d expect — but with a few changes.

  • Start by typing “reset” into the Windows search box and selecting Reset this PC when it’s offered. Or open Settings and click through to Update & Security/Recovery. Either way, you’ll see something similar to Figure 1.

     Access the Reset options
    Figure 1. In Win10 2004, you access the new Reset option the same way as with previous versions.

  • After you click Get started, choose the type of reset you want (Figure 2).

    Choose Reset type
    Figure 2. You can choose to keep your files or remove everything.

    As before, Keep my files strips away non-native Windows software and settings but attempts to leave your user files alone. Remove everything speaks for itself. It carries over virtually nothing from the previous Win10 installation. (For more detail on what these options do, see the references at the end of this article.)

  • Next (and new), you’ll be asked to choose a source for your reinstallation files: “cloud” or “local” (Figure 3).

    Renstallation source
    Figure 3. You now can explicitly select the source of reinstallation files.

    Using freshly downloaded reinstallation files ensures that you’re working with the most up-to-date Windows software possible.

    Selecting local, internal setup files is faster because it avoids the large 4GB or so download from the cloud. But there’s the risk of carrying over an unwanted setting or system file from the current OS setup.

    If you have a fast Internet connection or your system has significant issues, I recommend the Cloud download option.

  • Next, you’ll see new options windows, starting with Additional settings (Figure 4).

    Additional settings
    Figure 4. The Additional settings offered will vary, based on your setup and prior choices.

    Currently, Additional settings feels a little sparse — almost like a placeholder page where new features or functions might be added in the future. The offered choices will depend on how your system was set up and whether you selected Reset/Keep my files or Reset/Remove everything.

    For example, if your PC came from the factory with native Win10 apps preinstalled, you’ll see a Restore preinstalled apps option, whereby you can choose to have those apps automatically reinstalled or not. But if your PC had no preinstalled programs, the option won’t appear. My PC had no such apps, so these screenshots don’t show that option.

    To see available options (if any), click the Change settings link. The window shown in Figure 5 should appear.

    New Reset options
    Figure 5. The new Reset options are useful but currently few in number.

Once you’ve selected and confirmed your options, the Reset process will proceed as before.

If you’re unfamiliar with the rest of the Reset process and options, there’s plenty of information available online. Check the following:

  • “Removing bloatware and OEM mods from new machines” – AskWoody Plus 2019-12-09)
  • “Reinstall Windows 10” – Microsoft Support article
  • “Reset or reinstall Windows 10” – MS Support
  • “Recovery options in Windows 10” – MS Support (scroll down and click the “Reset your PC” link.
  • “Start fresh with a clean installation of Windows 10” – MS Software Download page

Windows 10 is notorious — and rightly so — for its confusing duplication of services and functions (e.g., Fresh start and Reset/Keep my files), and for its seemingly arbitrary distribution of functions between Settings and Control Panel. So any simplification, centralization, and/or clarification of Reset, or other system functions, is surely welcome.

We can only hope that Microsoft brings similar clarity to the rest of the OS.

Send your questions and topic suggestions to Fred at fred@askwoody.com. Feedback on this article is always welcome in the AskWoody Lounge!

Fred Langa has been writing about tech — and, specifically, about personal computing — for as long as there have been PCs. And he is one of the founding members of the original Windows Secrets newsletter. Check out Langa.com for all of Fred’s current projects.


Best of the Lounge

Windows XP source code leaked?

Da Boss woody informs us of a Windows Central story alleging that the original source code for Windows XP might be out in the wild.

Fellow forum members speculate on the importance and ramifications of this news. How much of the old code lives on in newer versions of Windows? Could someone be secretly building a “new” XP? What other Microsoft products have had their source codes leaked?


ANTIVIRUS

There are times when an application is just having a bad day. That might be the upshot when MVP Rick Corbett ran a malware scan with the hugely popular Malwarebytes — and it completed 90 hours later. Fellow Loungers responded that their scans took just a few minutes. Injecting some humor, Rick speculated that a tiny person walked each file to Malwarebytes. Fortunately, an update to the AV tool restored Rick’s system to under-six-minutes scans.


SECURITY

Plus member glnz posted a link to an alarming Ars Technica article titled “Feds issue emergency order for agencies to patch critical Windows flaw.” Our own Patch Lady Susan Bradley and other forum members followed up with more information on the “Zerologon” exploit.


SECURITY

MVP Susan Bradley offers a warning about life on the Internet. While she was reading a news story, a strange message popped up. Was it a problem with a Google DoubleClick link? Fellow Loungers expand the discussion to pop-up blockers.


SCAMS

Plus member dturnidge was caught by a fairly sophisticated social-engineering trick. Dturnidge provided the details so that others might avoid the same fate.


BROWSERS

Da Boss woody installed the new Chromium version of Microsoft Edge some time ago. So why does Microsoft keep pushing updates to install the browser? To add insult to injury, the newly added “Credge” seems to want to really, really ensure that you take a look at it. Fellow Loungers chime in with their take on the “new” Edge and Microsoft’s tactics.


ENTERTAINMENT

Plus member dwallace115 notes that once upon a time, we could share audio over two sets of headphones with a simple splitter. With most headphones now Bluetooth-connected, can two of them share one audio source? If you’ve made it work, let us know how.


If you’re not already a Lounge member, use the quick registration form to sign up for free.

Stories in this week’s PAID AskWoody Plus Newsletter
Become an ASKWOODY PLUS member today!

 

Susan Bradley

PATCH WATCH

I’m almost ready for Windows 10 2004 … almost!

By Susan Bradley

The fall release of Windows 10 — 20H2 — is rolling into the station. But we’re still waiting to board Version 2004.

If you’re a prudent patcher like me, you see a new release of Windows as the call to prepare for the most current release — i.e. Version 2004. As we’ve said more than once, even if you’re not ready to catch 2004, download a copy and save it for later. Next, take stock of your system and acquaint yourself with any Win10 2004 issues.


Will Fastie

SMALL-BUSINESS WEBSITES

Web presence: Business social networking

By Will Fastie

The major-league social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be a big help in establishing your company’s persona on the Web — but often at a cost.

I have an instructive tale about Facebook. The story is a bit dated, and hopefully the world’s mightiest social network has improved somewhat, but it will give you a small perspective into the intricacies of social networking — and the sorts of trouble they can pose.


Deanna McElveen

Best Utilities

Freeware Spotlight — ControlUWP

By Deanna McElveen

Microsoft is slowly moving tools and controls out of Windows 10’s classic Control Panel and placing them (somewhere) in the Settings menus.

Control Panel was never perfect, but in my humble opinion, it’s still far better than the maze that is Win10 Settings. So, you can imagine how excited I was to find a Settings alternative that’s more like Control Panel: the recently released ControlUWP for Windows 10


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