When you’re having a problem with your Windows PC, the nuclear option to fix it is often reinstalling the operating system entirely. Sure, this might do the job, but it also means you’ll have to ensure you have a backup (which, to be fair, you should have) and spend time getting all your programs and files back in place.
But in a new Canary version (Build 25905) of the Windows Insider Program, Microsoft is testing a solution — using Windows Update to repair problems, installing a “repair version” of Windows 11 without removing any of your files, settings or programs. Microsoft announced this feature yesterday in an update to the original launch of the build on July 12.
In theory, this should lead to a version of Windows with everything the way you had it, minus any software or OS glitches that showed up along the way. Windows Insider boss Amanda Langowski and senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc wrote in a blog post that “repair content is displayed on the Windows Update Settings page with the title appended with ‘(repair version).’ This capability can be useful in many instances but is intended to be used for keeping the device secure and up to date.”
Those on the Canary builds who want to test the new repair settings can go to Settings > System > Recovery. The option is labeled “Fix problems using Windows Update” and features a reinstall now button.
If it works, this will save frustrated Windows users from getting a bootable USB drive and replacing all their data with copies. But remember, the Canary builds are designed to be “hot off the presses” with limited documentation and may be unstable. So if you’re on the primary machine you rely on for work, consider waiting for this to percolate to the beta build or eventually out to a release version.
Other features in Build 25905 include emoji with a 3D appearance, adding the AI hub to the Microsoft Store, and, surprisingly, getting Zune drivers to install correctly on Windows 11.