Windows 10 v2004 breaks Fresh Start

[German]Microsoft has apparently broken the Refresh Windows Fresh-Start feature in the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004). Here is the information I could find out so far.


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What’s Windows 10 Fresh Start?

First, a few words about Fresh-Starting Windows 10, I’ve never used it, but it was probably introduced with the Windows 10 Creators update. The Windows 10 Creators Update provides a feature called ‘Clean Start’ (Fresh-Start), which allows you to perform a clean installation of Windows 10 while keeping your data intact.

This feature is available if you go to the Security Center e.g. use the Settings page to go to the Update and Security category and then select Windows Security in the subcategory and click the Open Windows Security button.

Windows 10 über Sauberer Start auffrischen
(Windows 10 ‘Fresh Start’ (German)

In the category Device Performance & Health should be the entry Fresh start. After clicking a button, the Fresh Start has to be confirmed in a popup. Windows 10 then goes through a cleanup process that removes all apps and programs that aren’t included with the standard Windows package. The Windows installation and data are retained. This is one way to set up Windows 10 systems without third-party apps and bloatware, while retaining your data.

It is formally different from a clean reinstall from an installation image, where Windows 10 is set up completely new. Techrepublic describes this feature in this blog post from June 2017, and another post from 2018 can be found at How To Geek. Microsoft has set up the Windows 10 Start Fresh page here, where you can download a tool that promises the same process. I never used this feature myself.


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Windows 10 Version 2004: Fresh-Start is broken

Since the release of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (Version 2004), new bugs have come to light again and again. Woody Leonhard has started to collect a list of bugs here. Some hours ago I found a note at Windows Latest that the upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004 destroys exactly this ‘Fresh Start’ feature, based on this post at askwoody.com.

Windows Latest writes that the Fresh Start integration in Windows 10 version 2004 seems to be broken. If you click on the link Further Information at Fresh Start, you will be redirected to a Microsoft support post in your browser. This is the same here with Windows 10 version 1909. But the First Steps button seems to have no effect in Windows 10 version 2004.

Fresh-Start not working (Feedback)
(Fresh-Start not working, Source: Insider Feedback-Hub, Techdows)

Techdows noticed, that the bug was already reported by Windows insiders (see screenshot above), but Microsoft ignored it and did not fix it in the final of Windows 10 version 2004. Techdows has collected more messages from the hub in this article.

This is another case where reported bugs are not processed and fixed in the Insider Preview. The list of serious bugs in Windows 10 version 2004 is growing and growing. I myself don’t have a Windows 10 Version 2004 installation available here (for these reasons), but I probably wouldn’t have noticed the bug either. Does Fresh Start work on your Windows 10 version 2004?

Addendum: Bleeping Computer has covered this issue here and found that in an administrative command prompt, you can use the command systemreset.exe -cleanpc to call the feature.

Microsoft updated it’s support page

Microsoft has updates this support page one day after my blog post (June 16, 2020). They write:

Fresh start is available for Windows 10 versions prior to 2004. For version 2004 and after, Fresh start functionality has been moved to Reset this PC.

They removed the button to launch the feature in Windows Security, but left the category and the explaining text without a notification, that something has moved. It’s alwas the same mess: They add a new feature, talk broadly about it, and removes it silently some time later – but forget to document and clean up things. I don’t see any product advantage in this Windows 10 ‘as a service’ – the amount of collateral damages, broken updates or changed things are fairly to high for ordinary users (they like to use Windows as a foundation to do their daily work).

Similar articles:
Windows 10 Version 2004/Windows Server 2004 released
Windows 10 Version 2004: Deprecated/removed features
Windows 10 version 2004: Graphics issues with multi monitor and f.lux
Windows 10 2004: ADMX templates available
Windows 10 Version 2004: External display turns black
Windows 10 Version 2004: Issues with DVBViewer drivers
Windows 10 2004: Upgrade fail due to drive letter on boot partition
Windows 10 Version 2004: Issue with Optane Systems
Windows 10 V2004: Office365 Sync issues with iCloud
Windows 10 V2004: Downloads removed from disk cleanup
Windows 10 Version 2004: Forced upgrade without user consent
Windows 10 Version 2004 Upgrade Issues with Surfaces
Upgrade Block to Windows 10 2004 for devices with Core isolation (HVCI)


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2 Responses to Windows 10 v2004 breaks Fresh Start

  1. Chris Pugson says:

    Microsoft has done far worse than breaking Fresh-Start in 2004. SSD trimming is in chaos as a result of the reports of the issue by Microsoft Insiders in April have been ignored by Microsoft with the consequent possibilities of damage being done to SSD devices in use in systems running Windows 10 2004. It appears that there is a risk of SSDs being DEFRAGGED like an HDD!!! Microsoft is becoming an absolute disgrace.

    My concerns that feature quantity taking priority over quality at Microsoft seem to be confirmed. Mr Nadella is presiding over chaos it seems.

    The issue is decribed here: –
    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/all/windows-10-2004-optimizationdefrag-bug/4c5498b9-04fe-41c9-8535-ed10313b6f33

    How much worse than Microsoft get?

    • guenni says:

      Thx for feedback – I recognized the SSD defrag bug – hadn’t the time to blog about yet. Will write probably a blog post this night.

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