HomeHow ToHow To: Factory Reset Windows 10 PC

How To: Factory Reset Windows 10 PC

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Windows computers are seldom faster or easier to use than the day they are unboxed. Over time, file congestion, misconfigured settings and other factors slow down and affect program performance. If you find that your applications don’t work as expected and that opening and saving files takes longer than usual, you won’t be the first to want to go back.

You might want to sell or give up your Windows 10 machine (to be able to buy something much more powerful). In this case, you should make sure that all of your personal information and applications are removed to protect your privacy. Fortunately, the Windows 10 Reset feature makes it easy to reboot.

Here’s how to reset Windows 10 at the factory and restore it to its original state.

When Should You Use “Reset this PC”

Reset This PC is almost always the last selected error correction tool. Reset This PC is a very large hammer for very large nails, but maybe too large for smaller nails. In other words, Reset this PC tool is a fantastic choice when Windows is at fault and all other fixes have failed.

Suppose you fix the main problem after updating Windows and Windows 10 stops working properly. You have done your best to solve the problem by seeking online advice and having no ideas. At this point in time, resetting your PC is your lifesaver – a guaranteed solution to a really unpleasant problem.

If a web page doesn’t boot, if a wireless mouse isn’t connected, or if you haven’t even tried to reboot your computer to fix an inconvenient error message, resetting your computer is probably not the best way to proceed.

Reset This PC removes all software, which means that the next task for you is to reinstall the software. This is time consuming and worth it if it means that your computer is running again, but it is a huge waste of time if for instance, you only needed to clear your browser cache.

What Really Happens When You Reset Your PC

When using the “Reset this PC” function in Windows, the factory settings are reset. If you purchased a computer with Windows 10 installed, your computer is in the same state as you received it. All software and drivers installed by the manufacturer and shipped from the PC will be reinstalled. If you have installed Windows 10 yourself, it is a new Windows 10 system without any additional software.

You can save or delete your personal files. However, all installed programs and settings will be uninstalled. This ensures that you have a new system. Any problems caused by third party software, system file corruption, changes to system settings, or malware should be corrected by resetting your computer.

If your computer is pre-installed with Windows, you can also see the third option, “Restore Factory Settings”. This will restore the original version that came with your computer – so if your computer was running Windows 8 and you upgraded to Windows 10, it will return it to Windows 8.

This process is very similar to reinstalling Windows from scratch or using the recovery partition provided by the manufacturer, but it is more convenient.

What’s Under The Hood

Microsoft has explained here what is actually happening under the hood. When you reboot the computer and remove everything:

  • The PC runs under Windows RE, the Windows Recovery Environment.
  • Windows RE deletes and formats Windows partitions before installing a new copy of Windows.
  • The PC restarts in the new Windows copy.
  • If you choose to save files, the same steps are performed. However, before you delete a Windows partition, Windows RE looks for your personal files and settings on your hard drive. It puts them aside, installs a new copy of Windows and places them back where they were found.

Whether you want to save your personal files or not, this process requires a completely new Windows system. That’s why your desktop software is being removed.

Reset or Refresh?

You have two options: Keep my files or Remove everything. The first option resets the default settings and removes all installed applications (such as browsers, Microsoft Office and games), but saves the data. As the name implies, Remove everything returns all the default values and deletes files.

Although the Keep My Files option saves your data, you should still back it up if something is wrong before using it.

When you select the Remove Everything option, Windows asks if you want to clear the drive or just delete the files. If you delete files and erase the drive, it will be safely deleted, making it difficult to recover the data (this will take some time). If you get rid of your PC for any reason, you should choose your PC. Just delete my files if you are keeping the computer.

Otherwise, if you choose to Keep my files, you will see a list of applications that will be deleted when you reset your settings. Once the reset is complete, Windows will save it to your desktop so that you remember that you need to reinstall it.

Before Anything Else: Back up Your Files

Since the reset removes all personal documents from your computer’s hard drive, you must first back up your files. Use the built-in Windows backup utility in your Control Panel or use a third-party application such as Paragon Backup & Recovery or Google Backup and Sync.

Please note that if your PC is seriously infected with malware, backups can be distributed; otherwise, it is important to ensure safe backups of important business data.

To Refresh your PC

  1. Scroll to the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then Change PC settings.
  2. If you are using a mouse, move the cursor to the top right corner of the screen, move it down, click Settings, then Change PC Settings.
  3. Click or press the Update and recovery button, and then click the Recovery button.
  4. In the Refresh your PC section, without affecting the files, click or click Get Started.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.

To Reset your PC

  1. Scroll to the right edge of the screen, tap Settings, and then Change PC settings.
  2. If you are using a mouse, move the cursor to the top right corner of the screen, move it down, click Settings, then Change PC Settings.
  3. Click or press the Update and recovery button, and then press on the Recovery button.
  4. In the Remove everything and reinstall Windows section, click or click Get Started.
  5. Follow the on-screen instructions.

Conclusion

Windows 10 is vulnerable to everything from sudden file failures to issues with update installation. Resetting your computer’s settings or restoring it to its previous state may result in deleting annoying background programs and deleting your computer’s hard drive from unnecessary files.

Hopefully, you will have fewer problems now that you know how to reset your Windows 10 PC.

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