A new Windows Update feature could be a game-changer for those scared of losing files or pictures when attempting to reinstall or recover their Windows 11 installations. The new feature, “Fix Problems using Windows Update,” lets you reinstall Windows 11 using Windows Update.
Currently, if you want to repair or reinstall the installed version of Windows, you need to perform an “in-place upgrade” using the Media Creation Tool. The process lets you keep all your files, settings and installed apps but reinstall the installed version of Windows or sometimes newer versions without losing files.
Windows in-place upgrades are generally considered a somewhat lengthy and time-consuming process, and some users fear they might lose their files or pictures. Thankfully, Microsoft is aware of the concerns and is adding a new feature called “Fix Problems using Windows Update”.
Microsoft is testing the feature with users in the Beta Channel, and you will find the “Fix Problems using Windows Update” toggle under Settings > System > Recovery, but it doesn’t seem to work at the moment.
With this new recovery tool, you can “reinstall your current version of Windows (your apps, files, and settings will be preserved)”. That’s according to the description of the toggle in the settings app.
This feature lets you reinstall or repair Windows 11 directly using Windows Update
The idea is to repair the existing Windows installation by downloading a fresh copy of the OS from Windows Update. And the best part? It won’t remove any files, settings, or apps, according to a support document from July 2023.
So how is this different from the existing “Reset your PC” or Cloud Reset features? The key difference is that Windows will download the files from Windows Update without OEM bloatware, software, and other junk.
Another notable difference is the new recovery feature won’t delete your data or uninstall apps, unlike the Reset options.
“This feature will download and install a repair version of the OS,” Microsoft noted in a six-month-old blog post spotted by Windows Latest.
Microsoft confirmed it’s still working on the new Windows Update recovery feature, and it could be particularly useful when you want to reinstall, update, or repair the OS without losing files, documents, pictures, videos or apps.
“This operation reinstalls the OS that you have and will not remove any files, settings, or apps. Devices may need to complete in progress updates prior to this process taking effect,” the company explained without telling us anything about its availability in the production channel.
We believe the feature could arrive as early as February/March 2024 as part of the Windows 11 Moment 5 update.