The latest Canary build of Windows 11, the bleeding-edge developer version delivered to Windows Insider program participants, has a little surprise waiting inside. A new “Fix problems using Windows Update” option has appeared in the System > Recovery menu, giving users a less harrowing option for fixing everyday issues like drivers causing startup conflicts. It’s essentially a way of soft reinstalling Windows without touching the programs and files you have on your current system.
The tool installs a “repair version” of Windows 11, after which it will apply default settings to the operating system and attempt to reboot without touching any of your personal programs or storage. This less traumatic alternative to the Windows reset tool (or a full-on OS wipe) is being introduced in Preview Build 25905, but as always, it’s anyone’s guess as to when or if it will roll out to the general Windows userbase.
According to the Windows Insider Blog (spotted by Tom’s Hardware), the new option is meant to keep the device secure and up to date, and can fix smaller issues at the same time as applying the latest patches via Windows Update. For my money, I’m having a hard time differentiating between the generic “fix problems without resetting your PC,” the now-standard reset option, and this somewhat middle ground. But then, having a bunch of unclear options for solving a specific issue is practically Windows tradition at this point.
The build also includes the usual bug fixes and tweaks, dropped support for Arm32 apps (Arm64 still works fine), updated emoji art, and…support for Zune drivers. Yes, the Zune is back, apparently as a Guardians of the Galaxy promotion. But you still can’t buy one, at least without going on an Ebay hunt.