If your computer is currently at a very problematic state that you don’t feel like investing time in fixing it anymore, or if you just want to return your Windows 10 back to its default factory state, here’s an easy way on how to reset Windows 10 to factory settings on your laptop or desktop PC.
The first method will only be usable if you can still access to your Windows and be able to go into the Settings app. If it’s otherwise, scroll further down to learn about how to factory reset Windows 10 from boot.
Before you reset your Windows 10 to factory settings, it’s highly recommended that you back up all the files and documents that are important to you to an external USB or hard drive, or to the Cloud. This includes your work documents, photos, videos, games’ saves, screenshots, your browser’s bookmarks, etc.
Although during the reset you can choose to keep your files, it may still remove things you might not know. It’s better to be on the safe side.
How to reset Windows 10 to factory via the Settings app
It’s stated that the Windows 10 reset feature is capable to resetting all the system files without removing your personal data. Here’s a list of what Windows 10 reset will do. Take your time to read this thoroughly so that you know what you should back up before resetting.
- Keeps your personal files if you choose to keep them.
- Removes all existing apps and drivers.
- Removes changes in the settings.
- Reinstall Windows 10.
If you’ve made your final decision to reset your Windows 10 to factory settings, here’s how to do it.
- Press the Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
- Click on Update & security.
- From the left pane, click on Recovery.
- Under Reset this PC, click the Get started button.
- Follow the on-screen instruction or read below for more detailed explanations of all the selections available to you.
Upon clicking the Get started button, you will be given two choices whether you want to keep my files or remove everything. Examples of things that will be kept are files in your documents, photos, videos, musics etc that were created solely by you. Normally we will just choose to keep my files, unless of course, if you are resetting your PC to sell it to someone else, remove everything is the way to go.
“Remove everything” will completely wipe everything off and reinstall the Windows 10 as if it was factory brand new. If you select “remove everything”, you will asked if you want to just remove my files or remove files and clean the drive. If you are resetting the PC for yourself, just click on “just remove my files”. If you are selling off your computer, surely you would want to select “remove files and clean drive”. This will eliminate the possibility of someone else trying to recover deleted files with a recovery software later on.
If you choose keep my files, on the next screen, you will be presented a list of software you have installed. These are the software that will be removed from your computer during the reset. However, the list will be saved to the desktop after you reset Windows 10 to factory so that you can come back to the list as a reminder of what you should reinstall later.
After all the selections above, on the final screen, click on Reset to begin the reset process. It may take few hours for the Windows 10 factory reset to be completed. If you’re factory resetting Windows 10 on a laptop, make sure you have sufficient battery for the entire process.
Windows 10 Factory Reset from boot using Windows RE
If you can’t boot into Windows to access the Settings app, or if you just want to completely reset your computer to your manufacturer’s (such as Dell or HP laptop) factory image as if it was originally shipped, here’s how to do it.
Please be warned that this reset will wipe everything off and format your hard drives. If there is any file or data you still need, back up them before you proceed.
To enter into Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), if you can access into Windows, go to Start and search for reset. Open Reset this PC. Under Advanced Setup, click Restart now to reboot into WinRE.
If you can’t even boot into Windows in the first place, you will have to force your computer to boot into WinRE. To do this, force shutdown your PC by long holding and pressing your computer’s power button until everything turns itself off. Then, start your computer again. As soon as it starts loading the Windows, force shutdown again. Repeat this for 3 times. When Windows detects multiple unusual startups, it will boot into WinRE automatically during the 4th time you force shutdown and restart your PC.
In Windows RE, select Troubleshoot. Then, select Factory Image Restore. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the Windows 10 factory reset.