How To Copy And Paste On Dell Laptop By default, when you need to reinstall Windows 11 due to critical errors or performance issues, the built-in recovery option will preserve your personal files but wipe out all your installed applications. However, there’s a solution to keep your apps intact during the reinstallation process. Here, we’ll guide you through two methods to repair Windows 11 without losing any data or applications.
Method 1: Reinstall Windows 11 Using a Bootable USB Drive or ISO Image
If you have a bootable USB drive or an ISO image, you can perform an in-place upgrade to reinstall Windows 11 without deleting your data and apps. Follow these steps:
- Connect the bootable USB drive to your PC.
- Once detected, open File Explorer and access the USB drive.
- Locate and double-click the setup.exe file to launch the Windows setup. Click Yes when prompted by User Account Control.
- In the “Install Windows 11” window, click on “Change how Setup downloads updates.”
- Select “Not at the moment.”
- Click “Accept” to agree to the terms. The setup wizard will run some checks to ensure readiness.
- In the “Choose what to keep” window, select “Keep personal files and apps.”
- Click Next to continue.
- Review your settings in the “Ready to install” window. If needed, click “Change what to keep.”
- Click the “Install” button to start the Windows 11 repair installation. This process may take some time, so leave your system idle and connected to a power source.
- After the installation is complete, log in with your local user account or Microsoft Account.
Method 2: Repair Install Windows 11 Using an ISO Image
Alternatively, you can use a Windows 11 ISO image to perform an in-place upgrade and reinstall the OS if you don’t have a spare USB flash drive with sufficient storage for creating installation media. Follow these steps:
- Download a Windows 11 ISO file and save it to your PC.
- Once the download is complete, right-click on the ISO file and select “Mount.” You can also double-click the file to mount it to your PC.
- In File Explorer, navigate to “This PC” > “Devices and drives” and double-click on the newly mounted virtual drive. This will launch the Windows 11 setup wizard.
- In the Windows 11 Setup window, click on “Change how to set up downloads updates.”
- Select “Not at the moment” and click Next.
- Click “Accept” to continue.
- Click “OK” if a warning related to your display language appears.
- In the “Ready to install” window, click “Change what to keep.”
- Select “Keep personal files and apps” and click Next. Remember that you won’t be able to use your PC during installation, so save your work and close apps.
- Click the “Install” button to begin the process. The upgrade process will take some time to complete.
After the upgrade is finished, your PC will restart automatically. Go to “Settings” > “Apps” > “Apps and Features,” and you should find all your previously installed apps and games.
The next step is to install any missing updates. Go to “Settings” > “Windows update” and click “Check for updates” to install pending Windows and third-party updates.
Reinstalling Windows 11 Without Removing Apps
Microsoft’s in-place upgrade feature is a valuable tool for troubleshooting system issues without losing your applications. However, in cases where Windows is severely damaged and unable to boot or repair itself, you’ll need to use a recovery drive or System Repair Disc to rescue your system.