If your Windows 10 machine isn’t working as well as it should be, it might be time to restore the computer to its out-of-the-box settings. Here’s how to factory reset your PC.
If your Windows 10 machine is acting up, it may be time for a tune up. You may also just need to clear out all that new PC junkware using Microsoft’s Refresh Windows tool. However, it could also be something more serious that software can’t fix.
If you don’t think your computer is running as well as it should be, or you’re getting worrying error messages, it might be time to reset your PC to its factory settings. Before choosing the nuclear option, make sure to back up your files before the big reset so you don’t lose anything. Once everything has been fixed, you can then customize your settings, reinstall your apps, and migrate your files back.
Follow the directions below to perform a factory reset in Windows 10, and (hopefully) get your computer running smoothly again.
Click the Start Menu and select the gear icon in the lower left to open up the Settings window. You can also select the Settings app from the app list. Under Settings, click Update & Security to continue.
Choose Recovery Options
Click the Recovery tab and select Get started under Reset this PC. If you’re looking to recover your instance of Windows 10 from an external source, you may want to look into a Recovery Drive.
Save or Remove Files
At this point, you have two options. You can either choose to keep your personal files and only remove downloaded apps and settings, or you can wipe everything and start from scratch. Each choice will also give you an additional setting to change.
If you choose Keep my files, apps and settings will default to what they were when the PC was brand new. This setting can be turned off by clicking the Change settings link and switching it off. If you choose Remove everything, there’s also a way to remove your personal files while saving apps and settings. Click the Change settings link and toggle the Data erasure option to on.
If you’re looking to get rid of your PC, Windows 10 recommends that you wipe the drive completely, making it much harder to recover lost files.
Reset Your Computer
Once you decide what should be removed from the computer, hit Next and Windows will tell you what will be deleted before you make a final decision. If you selected Keep my files, you can look at a list of apps that will be removed with the reset.
Finally, click Reset to actually commit. Your computer will restart, and after several minutes, it will boot back up again. When you return to Windows 10, you’ll see that whatever you selected to be removed has been wiped from the machine. If you backed up your files, they can now be restored to the machine.
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If your Windows 10 PC is running slow or acting abnormally, one of the most surefire ways of fixing the issue is by performing a factory reset. This is also recommended if you’re selling your computer. Here’s how.
Before you begin the factory reset process, be sure to back up your files. Otherwise, some important data may be irretrievably lost.
When you’re ready to factory reset your Windows 10 PC, open the Windows Settings menu by clicking on the Start button and then selecting the Gear icon.
The Settings window will now appear. Here, select the “Update & Security” option found at the bottom of the window.
A list of Update & Security options will now appear in the left-hand pane. Here, select “Recovery.”
Now you’ll be in the Recovery window. Under “Reset This PC”, carefully read the description and then select the “Get Started” button.
Once selected, the “Reset This PC” window will appear. You’ll have two options to choose from:
- Keep my files: This option will keep all of your personal files while removing installed apps and system settings.
- Remove everything: This will completely wipe your Windows 10 PC.
Choose the option that works best for you.
In the next window, you’ll see a message showing you what will happen when you reset your computer. This message will be different, depending on which method you chose in the previous step.
When you’re ready, select the “Reset” button.
Your Windows 10 PC will now begin to factory reset. This may take several minutes, so be patient. When the process is finished, your computer will reboot.
tutorial by Daniel Parchisanu published on 03/13/2019
If you receive a computer with Windows 10 from someone else, and you want to start using it like it was new, making sure there are no leftovers, a Remove Everything type of reset is what you need. You may also want to reset your Windows 10 PC and wipe out all data on it when you want to sell it or give it to someone else. If you are sure that the data in your Windows 10 PC is no longer needed, here is how to reset Windows 10 to its factory settings:
NOTE: If you want to reset Windows 10 and keep your files, we recommend: How to reset Windows 10 without losing your files.
Why would you want to reset your Windows 10 PC?
In Windows 10, the Remove Everything way of making a reset is the most drastic you can perform. It is the equivalent of a fresh installation of Windows 10. There will be no traces left of the previous activity. It includes the deletion of all personal files, all applications, and all the settings changes made in Windows 10.
If you are sure that this is what you want, and you are ready to reset your Windows 10 installation, you are left with one more choice: “Just remove my files” or “Remove files and clean the drive.” The second option does what the first one is doing (removing the files), and it adds a cleaning operation that prevents anyone else in the future from recovering your data.
When you or someone else starts using the PC, the reset results are the same. The difference appears when someone is using a file recovery tool. Common recovery tools are not able to find your old files and settings. Keep in mind that the clean the drive comes with a longer time taken to reset your PC. The cleaning of the drive is a tedious operation that involves rewriting over your data several times. Depending on the performance of your PC, this cleaning can add several hours to the reset process.
When you are ready to start, there are two ways to initiate the reset of your Windows 10. We cover them both, in the next two sections of this tutorial. The second method may be useful if you have trouble signing into Windows 10.
How to reset Windows 10 to its factory settings and wipe all data from the Settings app
The first thing you do is open the Settings app. A fast way to do that is to press the Windows+ I keys on your keyboard. In the Settings app, go to the Update & security category.
On the left side of the window, click or tap Recovery. On the right side of the Settings window, Windows 10 displays a section called Reset this PC which tells you that “If your PC isn’t running well, resetting it might help. This lets you choose to keep your files or remove them, and then reinstalls Windows”. It is what you are looking for. Click or tap the Get started button.
Windows 10 asks whether you want to keep your personal files or remove everything on the PC. Because you want a factory settings reset, choose “Remove everything (Removes all of your personal files, apps, and settings).”
If you have a computer with multiple partitions, you are also asked whether you want to remove the files only from the drive where Windows is installed, or from all drives. Make the choice that best suits your situation.
The next option asks you to decide if you want to clean the drive on top of removing your files. The cleaning provides more security for the confidentiality of your data (it makes it nearly impossible for someone to restore your files). The downside is a much longer time spent by Windows resetting your PC. When you are sure of your decision, click or tap the one you want.
Then, Windows 10 needs a few moments to get everything ready.
When it is ready, Windows 10 lets you know about it and shows you the impact of the reset process. Resetting removes:
- All the personal files and user accounts on this PC
- All apps and programs
- Any changes made to settings
If you are still sure that you want to reset, click or tap the Reset button once more. However, take note that this is the last moment in which you can change your mind and cancel the process.
Windows 10 needs another minute or two to prepare things. When it is done, it automatically reboots your PC.
Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and wait for Windows 10 to reset itself. Depending on your computer’s hardware configuration, this step might take a while.
After a while, Windows 10 begins to reinstall itself.
When the initial installation is done, Windows starts asking you to customize the installation. You have to set things like the language and keyboard layout, and to create user accounts, just like on a new PC with Windows 10 freshly installed. If you need help with the personalization process, read how to install Windows 10 starting with the third section named “How to customize your Windows 10 installation.”
How to reset Windows 10 to its factory settings and wipe all data from the Login screen
This method is especially useful when you have trouble signing into Windows 10. On the sign-in screen, press and hold the Shift key while you click the Power icon and then Restart
After Windows 10 restarts, click or tap Troubleshoot.
Then, choose “Reset this PC.”
Choose “Remove everything (Removes all of your personal files, apps, and settings).”
If you have a computer with multiple partitions, you are also asked whether you want to remove files only from the drive where Windows 10 is installed, or from all drives. Make the choice that best suits your needs. Your PC needs a few moments to get everything ready, so be patient while it restarts and gets things ready.
You are asked to decide if you want to clean the drive on top of removing your files. The cleaning provides more security for the confidentiality of your data, and it makes it nearly impossible for someone else to restore your files. The downside is a much longer time spent by Windows 10 resetting your PC. When you are sure of your decision, click or tap the option you prefer.
If you are still sure that you want to reset it, click or tap the Reset button. However, take note that this is the last moment in which you can change your mind and cancel the reset.
Wait for a few minutes for Windows 10 to reset your PC. Depending on your computer’s hardware, this step might take a while.
After a while, Windows 10 begins to reinstall itself.
When the initial installation is done, Windows starts asking you to customize the installation. The steps are the same as when performing a fresh installation of Windows 10. You have to specify things like the language used and the keyboard layout, and create user accounts. Read how to install Windows 10, starting with the third section named “How to customize your Windows 10 installation,” for more details on the personalization process.
Have you reset your Windows 10?
We hope that this tutorial has helped you make a successful and complete reset of your Windows PC or device and that it works just like new. Before closing this tutorial, tell us why you have performed a complete reset of Windows 10, and you wiped all the data. Is it because you want to sell your PC or give it to someone else?
Source: Windows Central
On Windows 10, Reset this PC is a handy feature that allows you to reset your device to the factory default settings using a locally available or cloud download image to fix installation problems, such as performance issues, excessive memory usage, unexpected battery drainage, and more.
However, if you have a computer running the Windows 10 May 2020 Update (version 2004), and you try to use the “Reset this PC” feature, you may end up with the “There was a problem when resetting your PC. No changes were made” error message that will prevent you from completing the reset. According to the company support website (via BleepingComputer), there’s a problem with certain hardware configurations that causes the feature to fail on devices running this particular release.
If you are dealing with this known issue, the company is recommending users to use the Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line tool with Command Prompt to repair the current installation, and therefore the “Reset this PC” feature. DISM is a tool built into Windows 10 that allows administrators to prepare, modify, and repair system images, including Windows Recovery Environment, Windows Setup, and Windows PE (WinPE), but anyone can use it to repair common system problems.
In this Windows 10 guide, we’ll walk you through the workaround that Microsoft is recommending to the problem with the factory reset feature.
How to fix error attempting to reset PC to defaults on Windows 10
To repair the “Reset this PC” feature on Windows 10 version 2004, use these steps:
- Open Start.
- Search for Command Prompt, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.
Type the following command to fix the reset feature and press Enter:
dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
Source: Windows Central
Once you complete the steps, you should be able to use the “Reset this PC” feature to reset the device to factory default settings.
Although the May 2020 Update and October 2020 Update share the same core and file system, it appears that problem is only affecting computers running version 2004.
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There are many reasons to learn how to factory reset a Windows 10 computer. Perhaps you’re selling an old computer, and you don’t want the new owner to have access to your files. Or maybe your computer is no longer working as smoothly as it used to, and you want to make it work like new. No matter your reason, it’s important to follow the proper steps. Read the guide below to find out how:
Warning: Before you conduct a total restore, be sure to backup your personal files.
How to Factory Reset Windows 10 Using Settings
- Click the Start Windows button.
- Go to Settings.
- Under Settings, select Update & Security.
- Click Recovery in the left panel.
- Under Reset this PC, click Get started.
- Choose “Remove Everything” from the pop-up window.
- Click change settings to choose what data to erase and which drives to erase.
Under the data erasure option, you can choose between two ways that your computer will handle your files:
- Just remove my files – this is a faster method and is less secure
- Remove files and clean the drive – this will take a few hours but is recommended if you’re selling your computer.
Under the data drives option, you can choose between erasing the drive that Windows is installed on, or all the drives on your computer. This option only matters to people who have more than one drive on their computer.
How to Factory Reset a Windows 10 Computer Using a USB Recovery Drive
The steps below will show you how to reset Windows 10 to its factory settings using a thumb drive.
- Format your drive to exFAT.
- Open File Explorer and navigate to “This PC.”
- Right-click the drive and select Format.
- Under File system, choose exFAT.
- Select Start.
- Create a recovery drive. You will need to format this drive to exFAT in order to reset your computer. Here are the steps to create one:
- Connect your USB drive to your PC.
- Click the magnifying glass in your taskbar and search for “Create a recovery drive.”
- Check the box next to “Back up system files to the recovery drive” and click Next.
- Select your USB drive from the list, and then click Next.
- Then select Create.
- The drive will be renamed “RECOVERY” when done.
- Go to the login screen. You can do this by restarting or by pressing the Windows key + L.
- Then click Shutdown
- Hold the Shift key while clicking the Restart option. This will restart your PC in the Windows Recovery Environment
- Click Use a Device in the “Choose an Option” panel.
- Select your drive.
- Windows will restart and boot from your USB drive.
How To Conduct a Total Restore of Windows 10 Using an Installation CD
If your computer won’t start, this method will reset Windows 10 so you can get back to work.
- Go to theMicrosoft software download website. Do this on a separate, functional PC.
- Download and run the Windows 10 media creation tool.
- Select “Create installation media” for another PC.
- Choose your edition, language, and whether you have a 64-bit or 32-bit architecture.
- Follow steps to create the media and click Finish.
- Plug the installation media you created into the non-working PC.
- Turn on your PC.
- Enter preferences on the initial setup screen and click Next.
- Select Repair your computer.
- Select Reset this PC under Choose an option. This will remove the apps and drivers in your PC but you will be given options to keep or remove your personal files. Choose the “remove” option if you are selling your PC or giving it away.
The methods above should help you in resetting your Windows 10 PC to its factory settings. If you want to know how to downgrade your Windows 10 computer, check out our previous article here.
Is your computer running more slowly than usual? Do certain programs not run properly? Well, that may be due to an issue with your computer. Instead of bringing it to your local computer repair place, you might be able to fix things by performing a factory reset.
If so, you can save money on repair costs, all while keeping your computer in peak condition.
What Is Factory Resetting?
Techopedia defines factory reset as removing user data from an electronic device and restoring it back to factory settings. Usually, people factory reset their computer to either fix a problem or remove all their data from the machine.
Why Factory Reset Your Computer
While most people only factory reset their computer when they experience problems or no longer need it, there is a case for doing it more often, like every six months.
As you use your computer, it stores all sorts of data to use during operation. Some data, like Word or Google documents and spreadsheets and downloaded photos, we choose to store. However, there’s a long list of data our computers store without us even knowing. This includes:
- Browsing history
- Search history
- Social media shares
- Document autosaves
- Temporary backup files
While storing all this data may be beneficial to the running of your computer, it can lead to some problems. Over time, the accumulation of data will slow your whole system down, which can lead to some frustration. However, frustration is the least of your worries as this data is more vulnerable to being stolen by malware, spyware or hackers.
As such, regularly doing a hard reset of your computer can improve its performance and security.
Factory Resetting Windows 10
Since factory resetting your computer will wipe all of your data, it’s best to back up said data before starting the reset.
Once you back up all your data, follow these steps to reset your desktop or laptop in Microsoft Windows 10:
- Press the Start button, which is the Windows logo found at the front end of the taskbar, to open the Start menu.
- Select the Settings gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the Start menu. This will open a Settings window.
- Select the Update & Security option in the Settings window.
- Select the Recovery tab from the left-hand column. This will open the Recovery page in the Settings window.
- Press the Get Started button under the Reset this PC heading. This will open a Reset this PC window.
- On the Reset this PC window, you will see two options: Keep my files and Remove everything. The Keep my files option will leave your personalized files intact while reverting apps and settings to their default configuration. The Remove everything option will return Windows 10 to its factory settings.
- After selecting to keep or remove your files, the Reset this PC window will display what will happen once you confirm the reset. Select Next to continue with the process. Select Back to return to the previous choice. Select Cancel to terminate the process.
- Select Reset to initiate the factory reset.
If you’re locked out of your computer or Windows isn’t booting properly, you can get to the Reset this PC window by selecting “Troubleshoot” in the Advanced Startup Tool. You can reach the Advanced Startup Tool by either:
- Restarting the computer while holding the Shift key or
- Power-cycling the computer three times
How Long Should It Take?
The time a factory reset takes will vary depending on how much data needs to be reset. Despite this variance, TechRepublic estimates two hours when selecting the Keep my files option and up to four hours if you select the Remove everything option.
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If your PC is getting slower and tried everything or selling out your PC then the last option remain is to wipe out everything. But before wipe out the important documents you must have the backup of all the important stuff that you have on your PC. Here you will see 2 ways by which you can factory reset Windows 10 PC. By this, you have an option of partially clean up your PC or a complete wipe.
Why reset Windows 10 to factory reset?
There are so many reasons to reset Windows 10, you might facing slow speed or maybe selling your PC so that no data remain left on your PC. I have noticed the efficiency of your PC is improved so much after a factory reset. Always make sure you have a backup of all your important data before taking any further step, otherwise, you may lose data forever.
How to Factory Reset Windows 10 PC
To reset your Windows 10 to factory reset you have two options, let us see both methods individually.
STEP 1: Go to start menu and type settings.
STEP 2: Click on Settings option and choose Update & security.
STEP 3: On the left side option, click on the Recovery option. Here you will see Reset this PC option on the right side, click on Get started.
STEP 4: Now two options will be there
- Keep my files: This option keeps your personal files safe but deletes all the apps you have downloaded.
- Remove everything: This option wipes out everything even your personal files, so before choosing this has a nice backup of important stuff on your PC.
STEP 5: Now you will see again two option on your screen for cleaning your drive if you have chosen the second option stated above.
- Just remove my files: This method is quicker and only removes your files and documents from your PC.
- Remove files and clean the drive: This option consumes more time may take hours to finish the process. I recommend you to go for this option if you are setting your PC so that nothing left on your PC.
STEP 6: After selecting one of the above options your PC will start resetting, wait till the process gets completed and use your PC once it gets completed.
Now let us see another method which works the same as above but the procedure is different.
STEP 1: Open Start menu, tap the power button. Now press and hold the shift key and click on Restart option.
STEP 2: Now your PC will restart and the different option will be displayed on your screen. Click on Troubleshoot option.
STEP 3: Now select Reset this PC option.
STEP 4: Here again you will see the same options as seen in the first method.
- Keep my files
- Remove everything
STEP 5: Just wait for the PC getting complete reset.
These are the simplest methods of all, you can easily wipe out everything either partially or completely. But always have a back up of all your important files, data or whatever important to you. If you are selling your PC then I recommend you to choose completely clean your drive so that nothing left.
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From time to time as we add and delete files to our computers, Windows can start to behave a bit funny, where every now and then we might run into an error or two, or where it stops running the way it is supposed to. This is where a factory reset of your computer might come in handy return it into a “brand new” state.
It can also be useful if you’re looking to sell off your computer and want to reset everything for the next user. So, if you’re looking for how to factory reset Windows 10 back to its default settings, here’s how you can do it.
How To Factory Reset Windows 10
- Press the Win key and select Settings
- Select Update & Security
- Select Recovery from the left navigation bar
- Under Reset this PC, click Get started
- Select either Keep my Files or Remove everything, depending on what you want the factory reset to accomplish
- If you have more than one hard drive, you will be presented with options to factory reset only the drive Windows 10 is installed on, or all drives
- If you were to select Remove everything, choose one of the two options presented to you
- Just remove my files: This is a quicker reset process but it is less secure as there is potential that your files could still be recovered despite it being deleted.
- Remove files and clean the drive: As per Microsoft’s description, the second option will take considerably longer where it might run for a couple of hours. This is because this process is meant to scrub the hard drive of your files in a more thorough manner, which makes it harder for someone else to recover them. If you are planning on selling your Windows 10 PC, then this option would be a safer choice even if it takes longer.
- Microsoft will then prompt users with a warning that lets you know that resetting this PC will reinstall Windows 10, and that it won’t revert you back to older builds
- Click Next
- Click Reset and let the process run its course
- Once the reset process is complete, follow the instructions to reinstall Windows 10
When Windows 10 has finished setting up, you might want to give it a quick once over to double check to make sure that all your files and settings have been deleted and reverted back to default. There shouldn’t be an issue with this process and depending on your choices, it could be done in less than 30 minutes, or it could take a couple of hours.
As always, do make sure that you have all your files and documents backed up to a separate hard drive or to the cloud. This is because once the reset process is complete, and depending on which option you chose, your files might be deleted from the computer.
Simple guide to show how to factory reset Windows 10 without losing your personal files or data.
Sometimes our Windows 10 PC crashes because of :
Some Registry errors or malware attacks or program-incompatibility issues. So getting rid off this crash or Windows 10 errors we go for reinstalling the OS which usually compel us to format our hard disk.
Since to reinstall Windows 10, we need installation media or Windows 10 free download ISO file in our CD/USB drive. And most of us don’t have it. But their is a hidden option in Windows 10 – which help you to reinstall Windows without installation CD or USB drive.
Yes you heard it right :
You can reinstall Windows 10 without installation media – also while keeping your personal files such as documents, music, etc. intact. …
So this Windows 10 hidden feature will work like a factory reset which deletes all the user installed programs without touching your personal data.
So lets start the guide :
How to factory reset Windows 10
Let me explain what exactly factory reset Windows 10 means :
- Resetting will delete all user files in Windows partition.
- Resetting will remove all apps and programs that didn’t come with PC.
- Resetting will change your Windows 10 PC settings back to their defaults.
So before factory reset Windows 10, make sure you already moved your personal data or files from “C: Drive” or Windows partition. So checkout if their is any personal files like images,videos,pdf..etc in Desktop or Download folders. If yes – then move those files to another partition.
Because factory resetting Windows 10 PC means clearing user files or user installed programs – cleaning your Windows 10 partition.
After moving your personal files follow these steps to factory reset Windows 10 :
First navigate to Windows 10 settings or hit ” + I ”
Now you can see all available Windows 10 settings, there choose ” Update & security ”
Choose Windows Recovery option from left panel and click “ Get Started ” button under ” Reset this PC “.
Windows Recovery option >>” Get Started ” button under ” Reset this PC”
Now a window will popup asking two options – how you want to handle Windows 10 reset :
Choose “Keep my files”
If you like to reinstall Windows 10 without deleting your personal files – choose first option ” Keep my files ” or if you want to wipe your data from hard disk and then reinstall Windows 10 – choose second option ” Remove everything “.
Here we are choosing first option because the whole tutorial is about resetting Windows 10 without losing personal data.
So after choosing first option, now a new window will open – which will show all the installed programs in your Windows 10 PC which is going to be removed during factory reset Windows 10.
List of programs going to removed
Don’t worry you will get list of removed programs in your Desktop once resets completes, so that you can reinstall them again.
Now hit ” Next ” button.
Again a new window will open to ask final confirmation about factory reset Windows 10. So click ” Reset “.
Now Windows 10 will restart to process factory reset. Wait several minutes to complete the process.
That’s it….. this is how yo reinstall Windows 10 without Windows ISO and keep your file intact during reset. If you got stuck during any steps, feel free to comment below and also let us know do resetting Windows 10 resolves your crashing issue?