4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer

By | April 6, 2022

Want to know how to factory reset your PC? Here are the best methods to reset a Windows computer.

Factory reset is the ultimate solution for many Windows problems. If your computer is much slower than before, you have a malware infection that won’t go away or are planning to sell your machine, a factory reset is the most convenient solution.

Depending on your settings and the version of Windows installed, you have a few different ways to factory reset your Windows laptop or desktop. We’ll show you how to reset a Windows 10, 8, or 7 computer as easily as possible.

Before Factory Reset, Make Sure You Backup

Before we look at how to reset Windows, you should make sure you have the latest file backups. Performing a factory reset will delete all of your installed programs and files, so you don’t want to leave anything behind.

How to Factory Reset Windows 10 Using the Built-In Method

Factory resetting Windows used to be an inconvenient process, but Microsoft introduced a much easier way to do it in Windows 8. This is also included in Windows 10 and is the best way to factory reset a computer for most people.

To access it, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. you will see Reset this PC; click button Get started below this.

Keep Your Files or Delete Everything (Keep Your Files or Remove Everything)

You will have two options to choose from when you reset Windows 10 this way: Keep my files or remove everything.

The first option sets your options back to default and removes all installed applications (such as browsers, Microsoft Office, and games), but keeps your data. True to its name, remove everything is a factory reset: it brings all options back to factory defaults and deletes your files and apps.

Although options Keep my files will save your data, you should still back it up before using it in case something goes wrong.

Options When Resetting

If you choose remove everything, Windows will display some Additional settings for you to review. By default, this process will delete your files, but not delete them safely. It also only deletes data from the drive where you installed Windows.

choose Change settings to adjust this option. If you activate Data erasure, Windows will erase everything on the drive to reduce the chances of data recovery. Although this process takes time, you should use it if you want to wipe your computer. No need otherwise.

Finally, activate Data drives to erase everything on all the drives you have connected to your computer. This includes external hard drives and recovery drives. Since you may have backups and files on the drive, you should not use this unless you want to permanently delete everything related to your computer.

Otherwise, if you choose Keep my files, you’ll see a summary of what Windows will do. Click the informasi List of apps to be removed to see what apps to remove.

Starting with Windows 10 20H1 update, Microsoft will offer options Cloud download at this time. It lets you reset Windows 10 by downloading a fresh copy from the internet, which can be useful if your current installation is corrupt or you have a fast network connection.

Finally, confirm the operation by clicking Reset and wait for the process to finish. If you factory reset your laptop, make sure you plug it in to avoid losing power during operation. You have to go through the setup procedure once it’s done, make sure you took the right steps after installing Windows 10 too.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Using the “Fresh Start” Option

In the previous update for Windows 10, Microsoft added a new way to factory reset your computer. It’s similar to the one above, but has a few minor differences that make it interesting to look at.

On page Settings > Update & Security > Recovery, click the informasi text Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows in the below section. This will open a Windows Security window to options Fresh start. Click Get started to continue.

Compared to the reset options above, Fresh Start has the following differences:

  • Fresh Start always keeps your personal files, without the option to delete them as above.
  • Fresh Start downloads the latest version of Windows 10, while the standard reset option uses the recovery information on your hard drive. It is provided by the manufacturer of your PC, or in the folder C:Recovery which is protected if you install Windows yourself.
    • Because of this, Fresh Start avoids clutter by removing all non-standard Windows apps, including manufacturer bloatware. The only exception is the manufacturer-installed Microsoft Store app, which remains.
  • Finally, Fresh Start saves “some Windows settings” but doesn’t specify which one. The above reset does not save your settings.

To summarize, Fresh Start downloads a fresh copy of the latest Windows 10 version, saves your files and some settings, and doesn’t leave any bloatware aside from Store apps. In comparison, the default reset option lets you choose whether to keep your files, not to save any settings, and to reinstall Windows and applications based on your recovery partition.

Keep in mind that after doing this, you may need to enter the license key again for premium apps and may need to update system driver.

Reinstall Using Windows Installation Media

If you’re not using Windows 8 or 10, want to know how to factory reset Windows 10 without the Settings menu, or don’t want to use the method above for some reason, you can always reset Windows using the installation media. This allows you to install a fresh copy of Windows on your computer and delete everything on it.

Either way, just insert the USB drive or disc containing your installation media and boot from the removable device. You will be greeted with the Windows setup screen, which you can proceed to install a clean copy. Keep in mind that doing this will delete everything currently on the drive where you installed Windows.

Factory Reset Windows 10 From Boot Using Advanced Method

While the three methods listed above will work for most users, there are some advanced ways to reset Windows if you’re interested. To perform a Windows 10 factory reset from boot (if you can’t enter Windows normally, for example), you can initiate a factory reset from the menu Advanced Startup.

To launch this if Windows is working fine, visit Settings > Update & Security > Recovery. Under section Advanced startup, click Restart now to reboot into Advanced Startup. Or, hold down the button Shift when you click the button Restart on the power menu.

If you can’t do any of these, try pressing F11 when you boot, which will open Advanced Startup on some systems. If this fails, Windows will launch Advanced Startup by itself after three failed boots.

Once open, select Troubleshoot, then select Reset This PC to start the same factory reset procedure as #1 above. You can choose Advanced options for more options, but nothing lets you factory reset Windows 10 unless you have a system image saved.

Otherwise, you may be able to boot into the BIOS and directly access the recovery partition on your hard drive, if your PC manufacturer includes one. However, if you do a factory reset with this method, you will be reinstalling all the factory bloatware. While not ideal, it can work if you have no other choice.

You can also type “create a recovery drive” into the Start menu to access tools that let you create your own. However, it takes up quite a bit of space, and you should do it before you run into problems. If you haven’t already created one, we recommend creating a new Windows 10 installation disc as described in #3.

Overall, if you are using Windows 8 or 10, one of the default reset options is your best bet. Windows 7 users should download the image from Microsoft and do a clean install that way.

Now You Know How To Factory Reset Your Computer

You have several options for factory resetting a Windows computer. Whether you need to completely reset your laptop before selling it or just want to refresh your PC for a performance boost, any of these methods will get you covered as quickly as possible.