Windows 10 recovery, revisited: How to perform a clean install in 2004

Windows 10 version 2004 removed the “start fresh” recovery option, and its replacement doesn’t currently work. Here’s how to work around it.

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Windows 10 has always offered multiple methods for attempting OS recovery. But with the release of Windows 10 version 2004 on May 27, 2020, one of those recovery methods disappeared from its previous home in Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.

What Windows 10 1909 offers that 2004 doesn’t

In version 2004, you will no longer see the “More recovery options” item with subsidiary text that reads “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows” in version 1909. Here’s a screen capture from 1909 that shows this information (boxed in red, at bottom of image):

win10 recover v1909 freshstart IDG

This option no longer appears in Windows 10 2004 (nor will it in later Windows 10 versions).

As it happens, Microsoft has removed this item to simplify Windows 10’s recovery options. The company explains this change in a support note last updated on June 16, 2020. There’s an entry labeled “Note” about two-thirds down that page that reads:

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