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Sometimes, a Windows installation simply goes off the rails. Menus don’t open properly, icons start moving around the desktop, File Explorer acts up, and so forth and so on. Enough things can go wrong, or turn strange, that it’s important to understand various basic Windows repair strategies. Over the past few years, one of the chief strategies in my repair arsenal for Windows 10 has become what’s sometimes called an “in-place upgrade install” or an “upgrade repair install.” Before going into the details of how to perform such a maneuver, let’s start with a definition and some explanation. What is an in-place upgrade install? An in-place upgrade install involves using the Windows OS installer to replace all the operating system files for Windows 10 on a PC. Basically, you’re using the setup.exe program to reinstall the same OS back over itself. This leaves user files entirely alone, retains many settings and preferences and, best of all, leaves already-installed apps and applications unchanged. It does, however, overwrite operating system files more or less completely. And in so doing, it often repairs a balky or misbehaving OS and returns it to normal, working condition. Most of the time, it takes less than 15 minutes to perform an in-place upgrade install. This maneuver doesn’t require much post-installation cleanup, tweaking or follow-up activity, either.
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