How to Factory Reset Windows 10 or Windows 11


Resetting Windows 10 or 11 to its factory settings is akin to giving your PC a complete makeover, rejuvenating its performance and restoring its vitality. It’s the digital equivalent of decluttering your living space, removing accumulated junk, and creating a pristine environment for optimal functioning. While employing Windows speed-up tricks can provide temporary relief, nothing compares to the transformative power of starting afresh.

By initiating a factory reset, you’re not just wiping the slate clean; you’re erasing the remnants of outdated software, obsolete configurations, and accumulated digital detritus that may be bogging down your system. It’s a comprehensive overhaul that addresses underlying issues, streamlines operations, and sets the stage for enhanced productivity and efficiency. So, if you’re seeking to revitalize your PC and recapture that like-new experience, a factory reset is the ultimate solution. (Via:DigitalTrends)

If you’re interested in factory resetting your Windows 10 or Windows 11 computer this guide is for you. Just be aware of the fact that this process will remove the apps you’ve installed before and all their settings. Your device will feel like a brand new device, ready for new “adventures”.

Before Proceeding: Make a Good Backup of your Data

Before embarking on the reset journey, it’s crucial to safeguard your precious data by creating a backup. This ensures that cherished memories, important documents, and essential files remain intact throughout the process. While it’s evident to back up documents, photos, music, and movies, there are other vital items to consider.

Firstly, ensure you have access to all your saved passwords, as resetting your system may lead to the loss of stored credentials. Additionally, export browser bookmarks to retain your curated web library. Don’t forget to secure installation files for software you intend to reinstall or bookmark reliable sources for obtaining them later.

Moreover, don’t overlook app-specific data, such as custom filters in photo editing utilities or saved game files from your favorite titles. If you’re using an offline email client, make sure to back up your emails to prevent any loss of correspondence. By taking these precautionary measures, you’ll embark on the reset process with peace of mind, knowing that your digital treasures are safe and sound.

How to Factory Reset Windows 10

Windows 10’s reset feature can be accessed through the settings panel. It offers the option to rebuild a fresh copy of Windows 10, effectively replacing all drivers and resetting all settings to default.

However, it’s essential to note that this reset option may differ technically from the “factory reset” option provided by manufacturers. If you wish to return your PC to its original state as when you first unboxed it, it’s advisable to consult your documentation or contact technical support. Manufacturers often have special partitions set up on the hard drive or may provide a factory restore image on bootable media.

To initiate the reset process:

  • Step 1: Click on the Notifications icon on the taskbar, or press the Windows button + A, then select the All settings tile in the Action Center. Alternatively, you can click on the Start button and then the Gear icon on the Start Menu.
  • Step 2: Choose “Update & Security.”
  • Step 3: Click on “Recovery” from the options listed on the left-hand side.
  • Step 4: On the right side of the screen, you’ll encounter two options. The first one, “Reset this PC,” is the method we’ll be using in this guide. When you’re prepared, click the “Get Started” button located under “Reset This PC.”

Keeping Your Files Safe

The second option, “Advanced startup,” is worth exploring if you possess a bit more technical know-how. It’s designed for making deeper modifications to your computer or installing a different operating system entirely. This option becomes valuable if your manufacturer offers a factory restore image or an external drive containing the image to revert your machine to its factory settings, including proprietary software.

Unless you’re confident in understanding the implications of each option within this setting, it’s advisable to proceed with caution and avoid making any unnecessary changes.

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  • Step 5: A new window will appear presenting two options: “Keep my files” and “Remove everything.”

Here, you’ll need to decide whether to retain all your files and folders or opt for a clean slate, relying on your backup to restore them later. Regardless of your choice, you’ll need to reinstall any apps and programs obtained outside the Microsoft Store. Your settings, such as the Start Menu layout, will revert to their default configurations.

The Process Will Rebuild Your Current Windows Installation

It is worth noting that both options involve rebuilding Windows 10 using the current installation. This utilizes Microsoft’s “imageless recovery” system, eliminating the need for installation media to be stored on a hidden partition, which can consume valuable space. However, the “Local reinstall” option may not be sufficient for repairing Windows 10 if it’s severely damaged or corrupted. In such cases, the “Cloud download” option comes into play, fetching everything from Microsoft’s servers to rebuild the local copy.

The “Keep my files” option preserves your user profile along with associated files and folders. It does not, however, update Windows 10 to the latest version if you’ve neglected to install patches and feature updates. The “Cloud download” option installs the latest version stored in Microsoft’s cloud. So it can be a valid option if you don’t want to install all updates again.

  • Step 6: Choose between the options: Cloud download or Local reinstall.
  • Step 7: On the subsequent screen, click on the “Choose settings” link if you wish to modify the current reset settings. Otherwise, proceed to Step 9.

If you’ve selected the “Keep my files” option and then choose the “Local reinstall” route, you will encounter two toggles: one for restoring preinstalled apps and settings that came with the PC, and another for rebuilding Windows 10 using the local installation.

  • Step 8: Adjust the settings as needed by toggling the appropriate option and then click on “Confirm.”
  • Step 9: Click on “Next” to proceed.
  • Step 10: The Reset tool will provide a summary of the changes. If you opt for the “Keep my files” option, you’ll find a link to view all the apps that will be removed during the reset, such as Google Chrome, Steam, and Microsoft 365. This list will be saved to your desktop after the recovery process is complete. You won’t see this link if you select the “Remove everything” option.

Once You’re Ready, Click on Reset to Start Your Windows Experience From Scratch

Ensure that you’re comfortable with the settings, then click on the “Reset” button. Your PC will automatically reboot and enter the Windows Recovery Environment. The reset process may take an hour or more, so if you’re using a laptop, it’s advisable to connect it to a power source. Your PC may reboot several times during this process. Once Windows restarts, follow the setup process and enter your personal and login information if prompted.

After confirming that everything is functioning properly, ensure that Windows 10 is up to date and install the latest drivers from the manufacturers of your hardware components.

How to Factory Reset Windows 11

The process is also simple for Windows 11 and does not involve any hard-to-access setting or complex command input. You just need to navigate through the settings, and you will find the appropriate options.

  • Step 1: Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings menu. Alternatively, you can click on the Start menu and then click on the Settings icon.
  • Step 2: In the Settings menu, select “System” from the options.
  • Step 3: In the System settings, click on the “Recovery” tab on the left-hand side.
  • Step 4: Under the “Recovery” tab, you’ll see the “Reset PC” option. Click on the “Get Started” button below it.
  • Step 5: You’ll see two options: “Keep my files” and “Remove everything.” Choose the option that best suits your needs. If you choose “Keep my files,” your files will be retained, but apps and settings will be removed. If you select “Remove everything,” all your files, apps, and settings will be deleted.
  • Step 6: Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset process. Windows 11 will restart, and the reset process may take some time to complete.
  • Step 7: Once the reset is complete, you’ll need to go through the initial setup process again, including configuring your user account, language preferences, and other settings.

That’s it! Your Windows 11 PC should now be reset to its factory settings, giving you a fresh start.

Conclusion

Resetting your PC to its factory settings can be a valuable troubleshooting step or a way to start fresh with a clean slate. Whether you’re looking to improve performance, resolve software issues, or prepare your device for resale, the factory reset option is a valid way to try to improve things further.

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