There comes a time in every Windows user’s life when things start to feel slower. Perhaps you’ve been installing and uninstalling a ton of applications, or you’ve been mucking around with obscure Windows settings (or worse, the registry). Maybe you even decided to live life on the wild side, like me, and signed up for Microsoft’s Windows Insider program, which recently caused my desktop system to screech to a halt. Whoops.
No matter the reason, it never hurts to give Windows 10 a top-to-bottom refresh—a new, clean installation of the OS, that is. Yes, you’ll have to reinstall your apps and set up your accounts again, but that doesn’t take as much time as you think. And there are plenty of ways to make this process as painless as possible.
If you’re forgetful, make a list of your installed programs
My annual (or whenever) Windows 10 reinstall is a great time to clean house. I tend to avoid writing down or generating lists of the programs I’ve installed on my system prior to the wipe-and-reinstall. Why? If I can’t remember to install an app when I’m staring at a fresh copy of Windows 10, I probably didn’t need it that badly—or forgot it even existed.
If you know you’ve installed some obscure programs that you don’t need that often, but you’d rather not say goodbye to them forever, that’s fine. It’s easy to generate a list of everything you’ve previously put on your PC. Pull up Powershell by clicking on the Start button and typing that in, and then copy and paste this into the prompt:
Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Select-Object DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, InstallDate | Format-Table –AutoSize
You can copy and paste the result into a text file, or you can have Powershell generate one itself via this command:
Get-ItemProperty HKLM:\Software\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\* | Select-Object DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, InstallDate | Format-Table –AutoSize > *****
You’ll want to replace the ***** with a location for the text file, like:c:\Users\David\Desktop\Stuff.txt
You can also export a list of your installed applications via the Command Prompt. Pull that up, similar to how you loaded Powershell, and type in “wmic” and hit Enter. Then, enter this string:
output:C:\Users\Davem\Desktop\InstalledProgramsWMIC.txt product get name,version ;; Enter Windows 10 Pro Product Keys You have.
Obviously, you’ll want to replace my location with yours. You’ll get a prompt that you messed this up if you copy and paste that line of code (unless you happen to also use “davem” as your folder name).