How to Clean Your Computer to Its Original State Without Reinstalling Windows

By | December 25, 2021

Is your computer slow? Or maybe you want to clean everything up before you sell it? This is the easiest way to clean your Windows computer!

The easiest way to get your Windows computer back to its original state is to clean it, but what if you don’t want the hassle of reinstalling Windows? Fortunately, there are many ways to rid your PC of virtual cobwebs without resorting to the reinstall option.

Let’s explore how to reset a PC without reinstalling Windows 10.

Use the “Keep My Files” Feature in Windows 10

Did you know that Windows 10 has a factory reset feature that doesn’t touch your precious files? It’s a great way to clean your PC without reinstalling Windows 10 entirely.

While Keep My Files is technically a Windows reinstall, it’s more of a “soft reinstall”. It reinstalls all system files but retains all your personal stuff, so you don’t have to reload all your programs and data afterward.

Use Windows Restore Point To Go Back To The Previous State

Windows 10 has the ability to reset itself back to an earlier point in time. These are called “restore points”, and you can think of them as small checkpoints that your PC can restore if something goes wrong.

Sometimes, the manufacturer will include a restore point with your computer when you buy it. These restore points are set to restore your computer to factory defaults, so you can restore your PC without needing to reinstall Windows.

The only downside to this plan is that you have to create a restore point in the past to use this feature. If you think your PC has restore points, be sure to check how to factory reset Windows or use System Restore to learn more about how to use it.

Uninstall Unwanted Programs And Bloatware

Gradual accumulation of software on a computer can reduce its performance. Sometimes your PC comes with pre-installed software, called “bloatware”.

It is advisable to start by removing unwanted programs. For example, you can easily remove bloatware in Windows 10, so you should get rid of anything you don’t use.

Most programs can be uninstalled using the Programs and Features tool in the Windows control panel, but some may be stubborn and refuse to uninstall properly. Software like Revo Uninstaller can remove these complicated programs.

Clean Windows Registry

Once you remove a program, it’s completely gone, isn’t it? Actually, that’s not always the case. Windows includes a database known as the registry that includes information about installed programs.

While uninstalling a program should theoretically remove the program’s registry entries, that’s not always the case. A bloated registry can sometimes reduce performance, so it’s best to try and make it as good as new.

Of course, you shouldn’t go into the registry and start blowing up everything you see. Instead, you should use a freeware registry cleaner that can identify what needs to be removed and what doesn’t.

Disable Startup Programs

Even after you remove unwanted programs, you may still experience some issues with slow boot times if you have too many programs trying to run when your computer starts.

To disable some programs, go to Task Manager by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC, then go to the Start-up tab. These are programs that load when your computer boots up.

The Task Manager will tell you how much programs are slowing down your PC under the column labeled “Start-up impact.” If there is something you don’t like here, you can disable it by right-clicking the program and selecting Disable.

If you find that you’ve disabled a really useful program, you can always go back to Task Manager and activate the program again.

Restore Windows 10 Operating System Defaults

Over time, you can change a number of important Windows features. It’s hard to cover every feature in Windows that can be reverted to default settings, but here are some features that are commonly changed and easy to restore.

Restore Windows Firewall Defaults

Windows Defender Firewall options can be found by typing firewall in the Windows 10 search bar, then select Firewall & network protection when it appears.

Near the bottom of this window is an option that says Restore firewalls to default, which you can click to set everything back to normal.

Note that you may not want to revert this to default if you have made special changes to the firewall rules. If you still want to restore the firewall, be sure to take note of your custom rules so you can restore them afterwards!

Restore File Explorer Defaults

You can reset File Explorer to its defaults by typing file explorer options into the Start bar and select the entry that appears.

Knob restore defaults can be found at the bottom of the General tab.

Erase Old Devices and Printers

Part Devices and Printers from the Windows Control Panel is the place to go if you need to remove peripheral hardware that you no longer use.

This usually has no impact on performance, but has other benefits, for example, removing some old printers can make printing more intuitive.

Make Your PC Back to Normal

Following these steps will restore your computer to an almost new state. This is not as complete as reinstalling Windows, and this process is not recommended if you are trying to restore your computer after a malware attack.

If you’re just trying to speed up your computer, reduce clutter, or remove it for new users, the steps above should suffice. However, if you want to do some extra cleaning, Windows 10 now has its own Disk Cleanup tool which frees up more space, take a look at our article on best way to clean windows 10.