What will Windows 10 restore after a clean installation or after setting up a new PC?

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Windows Central Question

I did a clean install of Windows 10--not an upgrade--and I just want to describe what I've had to do so far, and find out if there is a better way to do a clean install. My old laptop was running Windows 10 Pro, the Fall Creators Update, and it seems like it is having hardware problems; it is eight years old and to me, it has reached the end of its life. I pre-ordered a Surface Pro with LTE from my local Microsoft Store (there's a location near me), and it will be available for pickup on May 1st, and my mom gave me her old laptop, which she isn't using anymore, so that I would have something to use until then. Her laptop is a bit more recent than mine, but it came with Windows 7, and I need Windows 10 in order to have access to my library of apps from the Microsoft Store, which obviously won't run on Windows 7. I bought a boxed copy of Windows 10 Home from my local Microsoft Store. I booted Mom's laptop from the Windows 10 USB drive that came in the Windows 10 Home box, deleted all partitions on the hard drive, and did a clean install of Windows 10.
There are a few things that did not happen during the installation process, and I'd like to find out if any of them can be made to happen the next time I do a clean installation or when I get a new PC, such as my Surface Pro.
1. First, the Windows 10 installation did not put the latest version of Windows 10 on my PC: it installed the Creators Update, not the Fall Creators Update. I didn't realize this until a day or two later, because I didn't think to check for updates (because I assumed that the Windows 10 installer would simply install the latest version) and I never got any notifications from Action Center saying that an update is available (at least, none that popped up on my screen; there may be a hidden notification in Action Center that I haven't seen yet).
1. a. Why didn't the installer simply put the latest version of Windows 10 on my PC? If I recall correctly, during installation, the installer asked me to select a wifi access point; I thought that it was necessary to establish network access early on so that the installer can download the latest version of Windows 10 from Microsoft's servers.
1. b. Why didn't I get any popup notifications from Action Center? (the kind that pop up on your screen and don't go away until you interact with them)
2. Since on my old PC I was running Windows 10, and my Windows profile was tied to my Microsoft account, and I'd set up OneDrive, Office 365 (Personal edition), and had installed apps and games from the Microsoft Store, I thought that upon doing a clean install of Windows 10, or setting up a new PC that's running Windows 10, upon me entering my Microsoft account login credentials, Microsoft would automatically set up my PC for me with all of the system settings, files from OneDrive, and apps from the Store that were on my old laptop. Here is what *actually* happened: when Windows finished installing, only the apps that come with Windows 10 were installed, and my Start menu layout was as Microsoft made it, not the way that *I* had made it on my old laptop. My Edge favorites and reading list were synced, and if I recall correctly, Cortana showed me a few web sites I had been to on my old laptop, in case I wanted to pick up from where I had left off (I'm not positive that Cortana did this, but I THINK that she did). However, my history has not been synced. Not all of my Edge settings were restored: on my old laptop I made Google my default search engine, while after this clean installation, it is Bing. I'll probably find other things that have not been preserved; those things that I mentioned above are what I've found so far.
2. a. Obviously, Microsoft would not go to third-party websites to download and install the apps I had previously downloaded from outside of the Store. I just wish that there was a way to quickly restore all of the Store apps that had been installed the last time I used my old laptop.

Note: before I installed Windows 10 on my mom's laptop, I replaced mom's laptop's hard drive with my old laptop's hard drive, because my old laptop's hard drive is actually bigger than my mom's laptop's hard drive. Next, with Mom's laptop still off, I inserted the Windows 10 USB drive that came in the Windows 10 Home box, turned on Mom's laptop, pressed the ESC key to enter the boot options menu, and selected the USB drive as the device to boot from. (HP's splash screen said to press ESC to enter the boot options menu, so that is how I knew which key to press.) When the installer got to the part where I needed to select which partition to install Windows 10 on, I selected each partition and then selected 'delete'. I deleted each partition, one after another, until all that was left was "unallocated space". Then, I clicked on that unallocated space, and then clicked the button to install Windows 10 on that. Which means that the installer created whatever partitions Windows 10 needs.


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Aug 2, 2015
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The USB Windows installer only comes with what ever version that was on there from the factory, which may be several builds behind. Similar to those old OEM or retail Windows CDs.

Usually after installing Windows, I'd apend another several hours downloading updates.

when you signed into Windows and create your Microsoft Account, it doesn't actually activate Windows user account syncing nor sign in and auto download OneDrive data. You have to do that manually afaik. I do not dosettings sync. I manually access OneDrive in File Explorer and it asks me to sign in. Then it will sync your data.

Notifications may not populate correctly due to unit being freshly restored and it's playing catch up. Or maybe you may need to enable notifications. Give it seems time.

At this time, I do not believe there are any features nor mechanism that does an "app snapshot" to record your current list of apps on any computer system nor platform. the only thing remotely close would be a system image. but that wouldnt be a clean install.

afaik, Edge does not sync history, because your browsing sessions change from PC to PC. I wouldn't want my history stored anyways for privacy reasons. I have Edge clear them out upon exiting.

hope this helps she'd some light. when I do a fresh clean install, it's a clean install from ground zero with no expectations. then slowly build it back up. updates first. apps. edge sync, OneDriverive sync. win32 apps. chstomize options such as notification s, night light, blue light, etc...pretty much in that order.

EDIT: I've noticed on ocassionally after a refesh or restore point of Windows, it will create a list of apps that got nuked in the process, so you can reinstall the apps you are missing.

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