Will Reinstalling Windows Wipe My Hard Drive?

Will reinstall Windows wipe my hard drive? If you want to reinstall Windows but also wish to keep all data, this post will help you a lot.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Does reinstalling Windows wipe everything on hard drive?

Reinstalling Windows is a nice choice when your Windows PC confronts some problems like blue screen, black screen, boot frozen, etc. And sometimes, people choose to reinstall the newest version of Windows to update the OS. But, many people are still confused. Will reinstall Windows wipe my hard drive? Will reinstall Windows 10 deleting files on other drives?

Somehow, once users think about reinstalling, the first thing that jumps out might be that it’s the last choice if there’re no other options to solve problems they meet.

Indeed, reinstalling Windows will format the drive, but it also depends on your exact needs.

Case 1
Since SSD is more affordable, many users would like to do a system disk upgrade. SSD is substantially quicker than regular hard drives. If you have a sluggish HDD startup procedure or constantly use a laptop for business, it is a good idea to reinstall Windows 10 to SSD.
Instead of cloning, some people prefer to reinstall Windows on the new SSD and keep the old HDD as a data storage disk.

Case 2
As we’ve mentioned, reinstalling Windows may solve some PC glitches. In this case, users will reinstall Windows on one drive on the current disk. During the installation process, you’ll be asked to select a disk or drive to install the system. And you can choose to refresh, delete, or format the drive.

Steps of safely reinstalling Windows

In this part, we’ll show you how to safely reinstall Windows based on the 2 cases we discussed.

Situation 1. Reinstall Windows on a new disk

Method 1. Use installation media

If you have a Windows installation media, USB, or CD/DVD, you can directly reinstall Windows with it.

Step 1. Plug the installation media into your computer. Shut down your computer, open its case, remove the old hard disk, and insert the new disk into the drive bay.

Step 2. Turn on your computer and press a specific key to boot into BIOS and modify the boot order to make your computer boot from the installation disk.

Step 3. When loaded, you need to verify “language to install”, “time and currency format”, and “keyboard or input method”. Then click “Next”> “Install now”.

Step 4. In this window, you will be asked to input the license key, type one, or skip it by clicking "I don't have a product key" and activate it after the Windows install completes.

Step 5. When asked “Which type of installation do you want?”, choose “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced).”

Windows only

Step 6. Select your SSD which you plan to reinstall Windows 10 and click “Next”. Then Windows will start the installation process automatically.

Select disk

Method 2. Reinstall Windows without installation media

According to the preceding, performing a clean install on your new drive necessitates using Windows installation media. If you don't have it, you may be seeking a way to reinstall Windows 10 on an SSD without it. You may accomplish it easily with the aid of the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

It's a disk and partition management application for Windows that includes the "Migrate OS to SSD Wizard," which allows you to directly migrate Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, and Vista from HDD to SSD drive with a safe boot. Furthermore, the "Disk Clone Wizard" may clone the entire disk to another disk.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Note: If the current disk is an MBR disk and you wish to migrate to a GPT disk, make sure your motherboard supports UEFI boot mode.

Step 1. Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro on your Windows 10 computer. Click "Clone"> “Migrate OS” in the top panel and click “Next”. 

Migrate OS

Step 2. Now, you need to choose an unallocated space on the SSD drive and click “Next” to continue. If you have an old SSD, and you can accept cleaning it to use as the system disk, please tick the line “I want to delete all…”.

Select place

Step 3. In this window, you are allowed to resize the partition or specify the location of the partition created on the SSD drive. Then, click “Next”.


Step 4. Here is a brief note on how to boot OS from SSD or HDD after migration, read it and then click “Finish”.


Step 5. In the main interface, click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.


Since this tool employs the hot clone way to migrate OS, you don’t need to restart your PC immediately. You can continue your work during the migration process. After the OS migration, you can wipe your HDD. When you boot your computer next time, you need to enter BIOS to choose the SSD as the boot disk.

Situation 2. Reinstall Windows on the current disk

Reinstalling Windows on the current disk without data loss has almost the same steps as reinstalling Windows on a new disk. Only one step you need to pay attention to.

Step 1. Insert your installation media and boot from it.

Step 2. When it loads, select the language and keyboard, then click "Next".

Step 3. Click "Install Now".

Step 4. Type your product key or skip it. Usually, your computer will be activated automatically when it's connected to a network if your install the same version of Windows 10 as before.

Step 5. Select the installation type "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)".

Step 6. When you select a drive, select the C: drive and click Next to proceed. Then, wait patiently until the installation is complete 100%.

Select C drive

You will not lose your data if you do not format the C: drive in the Setup, but it will be transferred to another location. Following installation, look for the folder Windows.old in the C: drive's root directory. Your files are all preserved there.

After transferring all of your required files from Windows.old folder, use Disk Cleanup to remove the Windows.old folder to free up drive space.

Wrap things up

Does reinstalling Windows wipe everything? Now you know the answer. It depends on your needs and operation. AOMEI Partition Assistant is a versatile tool, besides the OS migration and clone disk, you can also move installed programs, convert the disk to GPT/MBR without data loss, and so on. And it has the Server Edition to help you manage your Server computers efficiently.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.