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How to fix Windows Updates problems by reinstalling Windows - and still keeping your programs and files intact

Learn how to fix deep Windows updates issues by reinstalling your Windows 10 - without losing programs and files!

This tutorial describes the "last resort" option for resolving Windows update failure issues - by reinstalling Windows altogether and installing the latest version (with the updates in place). An important part of this article is that we'll be doing this wipe and reinstall while still keeping programs, profile, settings, emails, documents, pictures, music, movies, favorites and all files (as opposed to getting a blank Windows after the reinstall).

Windows Updates, unfortunately, may fail for a variety of reasons. It may be a soft failure (new updates failing to install), or a more severe issue, which damages basic Windows functionality.

Of course, wiping the computer should not be the first step. It should only be used when you've tried other options. We'd recommend to at least try the Microsoft's troubleshooting article here, which provides basic troubleshooting for more common Windows updates problems (such as error codes 0x80073712, 0x800705B4, 0x80004005, 0x8024402F, 0x80070002, 0x80070643, 0x80070003, 0x8024200B, 0x80070422, 0x80070020).

If you've tried other options, and have come to the conclusion that the only way to fix your Windows Update issue is to reinstall Windows, read on for a guide on how to do that without losing your programs, settings and files.

Step 1: Backup your programs and files

The first step in a reinstall like this is to back up everything you've got. After you reinstall Windows, your programs and data will be gone, and you will need to restore them to get back to normal. The product we will be using for this is Migration Kit Pro, which allows to easily back up, and most importantly easily restore programs, settings and files after reinstalling Windows (even if you are switching to a different Windows version!). Alternatively, you can also use any 3rd party backup product that can perform a full system image backup, although that would only allow you to restore files, not programs.

How to backup your Windows so that you can restore programs, settings and files after the reinstall

Before we begin, the most important part is to have a full, complete backup of your computer. This is crucial - without this step, you will lose your programs and data if you wipe the system clean.

  1. Download and run Zinstall Migration Kit Pro on your computer.
  2. Migration Kit Pro
  3. Use its 3rd option, "Moving from Machine to Container".
  4. Select the C: drive on Source selection, and select a place to store your backup container (it's just a big file) in the Target browse selection.
  5. A good place to store the container is a USB external hard drive, but any place which is outside the computer we are wiping will do fine, such as a network drive, another hard drive in the computer etc.
  6. Start the backup process. This should take a long while, and you will see a message confirming that the container has been created successfully.

Your stuff is now safe, and we can proceed to resetting Windows on this computer.

How to Reinstall Windows and get the latest updates

Once you have your backup, it's time to perform the actual Windows wipe and install the latest Windows release, with updates in place. There are several ways to do it:

Option 1: A less involved option to try is a factory reset of your current Windows, following by running the latest update package. This will work only if Windows is currently not too damaged, of course. Here's how to do that:

Reset Windows 10

  1. Open Start Menu, and select "Settings" (top-left).
  2. Go to the Update & Security menu.
  3. In that menu, select the Recovery tab.
  4. There, look for "Reset this PC", and hit Get Started. This will open the Reset wizard.
  5. Select the option to Remove everything.
  6. Follow the prompts until the wizard starts wiping the computer.
  7. Once Windows is ready, go to the Windows upgrade assistant page and run the upgrade assistant.

The end result of this process should be a clean, fully updated Windows.
Once that is done, proceed to the "Restore your programs, settings and files from backup" section.

Option 1:
If a factory reset is not available, or if Windows is too damaged to run it, you can manually install a fresh copy of Windows 10 on the computer, wiping the previous installation. Here is how to do that:

  1. First, we’ll create a Windows 10 USB installation drive. Here is how:
  2. On any working computer (you can do that on the one you will be wiping), download Microsoft’s Windows 10 Media Creation Tool
  3. The tool is available here:
  4. Once you download it, plug a blank USB stick into the computer.
  5. Then, tell the tool to create an installation media on that USB stick (DO NOT press “Upgrade Now”, since that would upgrade the computer you are doing this on).
  6. Once the tool is done, take the USB stick and plug it into the computer that we are wiping and reinstalling.
  7. Reboot the computer that we are reinstalling so that it runs from the USB stick and starts the Windows 10 installation process.
  8. In the installation process, tell the tool to do a Custom install, and then use the wizard to wipe the existing Windows, and reinstall a new, fresh copy of Windows instead.

Once done, proceed to the "Restore your programs, settings and files from backup" section.

How to Restore your programs and files from backup

  1. Once you have your fresh new Windows installation, it is time to restore your programs, settings and files from the backup you've made before.
  2. To do that, run Zinstall Migration Kit Pro and use the 4th option, "Moving from Container to Machine".
  3. Selective restore
  4. Point it to the backup container you've created in the first section, and it will restore everything, including programs, settings and files, to the new Windows.
  5. If you don't want to restore everything, you can also exclude some programs / folders you don't want to recover.

That's it - you have a successfully reset your computer, and got all your programs and files back where they were!

Ready to go?

Ready to fix your Windows updates problems by reinstalling Windows while keeing your programs and files? Get Zinstall Migration Kit Pro here.

Any questions? Need guidance? Looking for help with your Windows reinstall, backup or recovery? Our expect techs are standing by!

Contact us by email (, phone (877.444.1588), or chat (bottom-right corner of this page).

We are looking forward to assist you.