Factory resets are the ultimate fix for a lot of Windows problems. Resetting your computer is the most practical choice if it has become much slower than it used to be, you have an intractable malware infestation, or you want to sell your computer. There are many methods to factory reset a Windows laptop or desktop, depending on your configuration and the version of Windows that is installed. We’ll walk you through the easiest way to reset a Windows 11, 10, or older in this article
Why Factory Reset?
Before diving into the process, it’s essential to understand why a factory reset might be necessary. Over time, computers can accumulate unnecessary files, software conflicts, and performance issues. A factory reset is like giving your system a clean slate, restoring it to its original state and potentially resolving any software-related problems.
Backup Your Data:
Before initiating a factory reset, it’s crucial to back up your important files and data. You can use an external hard drive, cloud storage, or other backup solutions to ensure that your valuable information is safe.
Patience is Key:
During the factory reset process, your computer will undergo several restarts and may take some time to complete. It’s crucial to be patient and let the system finish the reset without interruption.
Once the factory reset is complete, you’ll need to set up your computer as if it were new. This includes selecting your region, language, and signing in with or creating a new Microsoft account.
Does a Factory Reset on Windows Wipe Data?
When contemplating a factory reset on your Windows device, it’s natural to wonder about the fate of your data. In this section, we’ll delve into the key question: Does a factory reset truly wipe all your data? Let’s explore the intricacies of this process to ensure you have a clear understanding of what to expect when you decide to initiate a factory reset on your Windows computer.
A factory reset on Windows is a comprehensive procedure designed to restore your computer to its original state when it left the manufacturer. This means reverting system settings, removing installed applications, and, most importantly, wiping user data. The goal is to provide users with a clean slate, free from accumulated clutter, software conflicts, or performance issues.
Also Read: Does Factory Reset Wipe Hard Drive?
Data Removal During Factory Reset:
- User Accounts:
- One of the primary aspects affected by a factory reset is user accounts. All accounts created on the device, including administrator and standard user accounts, are typically removed.
- Installed Applications:
- Any applications or programs installed after the initial setup will be uninstalled. This includes third-party software, updates, and patches.
- Personal Files:
- The most critical concern for users contemplating a factory reset is the fate of their personal files—documents, photos, music, and other data. During a factory reset, these files stored in user-specific folders are generally deleted.
Make Sure to Create a Backup Before Factory Reset Windows!
Be sure you have a current backup of your data before we examine how to factory reset Windows. All of your installed apps and, sometimes, your data will be deleted if you do a factory reset. You want to make sure nothing is left behind.
How to Factory Reset Windows 10 or Windows 11 Using the Built-In Method
Windows factory resets were once an inconvenient procedure, but since of Windows 8, Microsoft has made the process considerably simpler. This is often the easiest method to factory reset a Windows machine, since it is also featured in Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery in Windows 10 to obtain this Windows reinstall option. The Reset this PC heading will appear; to get started, click the Get started button beneath it.
To access Recovery, go to Settings > System > Recovery on Windows 11. To begin, choose Reset PC next to Reset this PC. From here, the instructions for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 are the same.
Windows 10 Factory Reset
For Windows 10 users, the process of performing a factory reset is straightforward:
- Click on the “Start” button and select the “Settings” gear icon.
- In the Settings menu, choose “Update & Security.”
- In the Update & Security menu, select “Recovery” from the left sidebar.
- Under the “Reset this PC” section, click on “Get started.”
- You will be prompted to choose between keeping or removing your files. Select the option that suits your needs.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the factory reset process. Your computer will restart several times during this process.
Will You Delete Everything or Keep Your Files?
This method will provide you two first choices when you factory reset Windows 10 or 11: Either save my stuff or delete them all.
Selecting “Keep my files” restores your operating system’s default settings, erases all installed applications (including office programs, games, and browsers), but preserves your data (like papers and music).
As the name suggests, Remove Everything does a complete factory reset, erasing all of your data and applications and returning all settings to their original state. Windows will then seem as if it were on a brand-new machine.
Even if you may choose to “Keep my files,” you should still make a backup before utilizing this option just in case anything goes wrong.
Factory Reset Windows Manually Using Windows Installation Media
You may always factory reset Windows using installation media if you’re not running Windows 10 or 11 and wish to do it without using the Settings menu. You can also use this technique if you’re not comfortable utilizing the other options. This enables you to remove everything from your computer and install a brand-new copy of Windows.
Use Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 download tool if you have to reinstall Windows 8.1 from scratch for any reason. With this, you may get an ISO file that you can burn to a DVD or flash drive and reinstall Windows. To boot from the detachable device, just insert the USB drive or disc containing your installation media. The Windows setup screen will appear, which you may navigate to install a clean copy of the operating system. Keep in mind that doing this will erase everything that is now on the disk where Windows is installed.
Factory Reset Windows 10 or 11 From Boot Using Advanced Methods
Although most people can reset Windows using the techniques as mentioned above, there are a couple more complex approaches you may try. You may initiate a Windows factory reset from the Advanced Startup menu, for example, if you’re unable to boot into Windows normally.
If Windows is operating correctly, go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery to bring up this option. To enter Advanced Startup again, choose Restart immediately from the Advanced Startup area. To restart Windows 11 immediately after selecting Advanced Startup, go to Settings > System > Recovery.
As an alternative, you may click the Restart button while holding down the Shift key after expanding the power option in the Start menu. If you are unable to do any of these, try hitting F11 during bootup; on some computers, this may launch Advanced Startup. If this doesn’t work, Windows will automatically launch Advanced Startup after three unsuccessful boot attempts, enabling you to reset from boot if there is a serious issue.
Open Advanced Startup, select Troubleshoot, then Reset This PC to go through almost the exact same factory reset process as in step #1. For further options, choose Advanced; however, none of them allow you to factory reset Windows 10 or 11 unless you have a system image stored.
Factory Reset If You’re on an Older Version of Windows 10
Microsoft formerly provided a feature for rebooting your Windows 10 computer called Fresh Start. With the release of Windows 10 version 2004, the previously mentioned procedure took the place of this option.
Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery, then click the Learn how to start fresh with a Clean Installation of Windows link at the bottom to see whether you’re running an older version. By doing this, the Windows Security program will launch and provide the Fresh Start option. To continue, choose Get Started.
Windows 7 and 8 Factory Reset
For users with Windows 7 or 8, the process may vary slightly:
- Click on the “Start” button, go to the Control Panel, and choose “System and Security.”
- Under System and Security, select “Backup and Restore.”
- Click on “Recovery” in the left sidebar.
- Find and choose the option that allows you to restore your computer to factory settings.
- Follow the on-screen prompts to initiate and complete the factory reset process.
When it comes to factory resetting a Windows PC, you have many choices. The built-in factory reset feature in Windows 10 or 11 is simple and fast. All users of contemporary Windows have the option to obtain an image from Microsoft and carry out a clean installation that way, if they so want. You may quickly reset Windows using one of these techniques, regardless of whether you need to reset your laptop completely before selling it or you simply want to give your computer a speed boost.
Performing a factory reset on your Windows computer is a powerful way to address software issues and start afresh. Remember to back up your data before starting the process, and follow the on-screen instructions carefully. Whether you’re using Windows 10, 8, or 7, this guide should help you navigate the factory reset process with confidence, ensuring a smoother and more efficient computing experience.