How to Format and Reinstall Windows 11 Without Losing Data

If you are wondering how to format and reinstall Windows 11, this article will help you a lot. You can also find free backup software to help you protect your important data before you factory reset Windows 11. Click for more details.


by Jonna Updated on November 20, 2023

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Why Format and Reinstall Your Windows 11 PC?

Under what circumstances would you want to format and reinstall Windows 11. It can be roughly divided into the following situations:

  • After prolonged use, your computer may run slowly or freeze. Resetting your laptop can make it work as smoothly as it was when you just bought it, it’s like new again.
  • A factory reset is often useful when you want to give your computer to a sibling to use or to resell. It can help you delete unwanted junk and personal information at one time, which can also avoid information leakage.

In Windows 11, Microsoft provides you with a feature called "Reset this PC" to keep your personal files or remove them and then reinstall Windows. You can use this feature to perform a clean install without losing data or deleting everything on your computer.

Backup Important Files Before Reinstalling Windows 11

No matter which of the above situations you're in, there's bound to be some data on Windows 11 that you'll want to keep after using it for a while. Although "Reset this PC" may give you the option to keep your files, some users report that it may also cause some data loss. So it is best to use a reliable tool to back up your important data in advance.

Also, if you no longer use this computer, you will definitely choose "Remove Everything" in Reset this PC window. At this time, if you want to keep some important files, you need a free and reliable backup tool.

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a comprehensive Windows backup freeware that can help you backup any data on your computer to different destinations. You can use it to not only store backups to common storage devices such as internal/external disks, SD cards, USB, etc. but also to store backups to network locations, NAS, cloud, etc.

Among them, it's recommended you back up files to AOMEI Cloud, a cloud drive developed by AOMEI Tech, and it offers users 1TB of free cloud storage in 15 days after you register for an AOMEI account. It works well on Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista.

Next, I will show you how to back up your important files on Windows 11 with this free software.

  1. Click the download button below to install it on your computer and launch it. Navigate to Backup -> File Backup. You can also use the System Backup option to backup your Windows OS easily.
Download FreewareWin 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

File Backup

  1. Click Add File or Add Folder according to your needs. Choose the files or folders that you want to backup.

Add File or Add Folder

  1. Click the second box to select backup destination to store your files or folders (It is recommended that you back up to an external disk or cloud). You can then click Start Backup to do so.

Start Backup

Tips✍: You can also customize the backup task by clicking the three options in the bottom left corner of the program before clicking Start Backup.
◑ Options: You can add comments to your backups here. If you upgrade to the Pro version, you can also encrypt your backups for security and privacy.
◑ Schedule Backup: Here you can set up regular backup tasks so you don't miss any changes. You can choose to run backups Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Event triggers, or USB plug in.
◑ Backup Scheme: This option allows you to choose your backup method as needed - Full, Incremental or Differential Backup. The latter two will save disk space at the destination. Note that Differential Backup is available in paid version.

Two Ways to Format and Reinstall Windows 11

When you're ready to format and reinstall Windows 11, there are two ways to initiate Reset this PC on Windows 11.

#1. Factory Reset Windows 11 and Delete Everything from Settings

If your Windows 11 is running fine and you can log into Windows 11, try following the steps below to perform a clean install.

  1. Press Windows + I to open Settings. Select System on the left sidebar and click Recovery on the right panel.


  1. On the Recovery page, scroll until you find the Recovery options section. Click the Reset PC button to the right of Reset this PC.

Reset This PC

  1. Windows 11 then launches the Reset this PC wizard, and the first thing it asks you to do is choose whether you want to keep files or delete everything. Since you want to format and reinstall Windows 11, select Remove everything.

Remove Everything

◈ Note: If you have multiple drives or partitions on your PC, next, Windows 11 will ask you whether to wipe data from only the system drive (where Windows 11 is installed) or from all drives. Choose what you need.

  1. Next, Windows 11 wants to know how you want to reinstall it during the reset process. You can choose one of two ways.

Cloud Download or Local Reinstall

  1. Then, the Reset this PC wizard gets to the Additional settings step. By default, the reset process deletes everything but doesn't clean the drive. If you want to clean the drive, click Change settings.

Additional Settings

  1. Then enable the Clean data switch so the reset cleans up your drive. Then press Confirm. Note that cleaning the Windows 11 drive will take more time to factory reset.

Clean Data

  1. When Windows 11 is ready to reset, it shows you what will happen during this time. To continue, click the Reset button.


  1. After a minute or two during which Windows 11 prepares, your PC will automatically reboot. After restarting your PC, Windows 11 starts the actual factory reset process. This part can take a long time, but that depends on your computer’s hardware configuration.
  2. When Windows 11 finishes installing, you need to customize it, just like when doing a fresh install of the operating system.

#2. Factory Reset Windows 11 and Wipe ALL Data from Windows RE

How to factory reset Windows 11 without settings? You can perform factory restoring Windows 11 from the Windows Recovery Environment comes in handy when you can't log into Windows 11.

  1. Press and hold the Shift key while clicking the Power icon and then click Restart.


  1. After Windows 11 restarts, click Troubleshoot -> Reset this PC.

Reset This PC Windows RE

  1. Next, select Remove everything (Removes all of your personal files, apps, and settings).

Remove Everything Windows RE

  1. Then, Windows 11 wants to know whether you prefer to reinstall it using the Cloud download or Local reinstall method. Select whichever way you like by clicking it.

Cloud Download

  1. Next, you are asked to decide if you want to clean the drive on top of removing your files, click the option you prefer.

Fully Clean the Drive

  1. In the next page, click Reset to perform Windows 11 factory reset from boot and reinstall it easily.

To Sum Up

You can learn 2 ways of how to format and reinstall Windows 11 from this article. If you want to know how to reinstall Windows 11 without losing data, it is recommended that you make a backup of your important files beforehand. With the help of AOMEI Backupper, you can save backups wherever you want. Besides file backup, you can also use it to backup Windows system with simple clicks. When something goes wrong with your computer, you can use this system backup image to restore your computer to a working state.

The software also embeds other features such as cloning, synchronization, restoration, and tools. You can even use its universal restore function to restore data backup to computer with dissimilar hardware.

Also, you can try the free AOMEI Image Deploy if you want to deploy a Windows image to multiple computers at once instead of doing a system restore one by one.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna joined AOMEI in 2021 and has become a professional in the areas of computer backup and restoration, disk cloning, file synchronization, etc. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.