Is your Windows machine acting up? Then running Microsoft’s Refresh Windows tool or uninstalling a recent update should solve the issue. You can run diagnostic tests as well to make sure the hard disk is healthy. However, if your PC is running poorly or you plan to get rid of your current device, it may be time to reset the PC to its factory settings.
No matter which OS you’re running, Windows 10 or have upgraded to Windows 11, the steps below are almost the same. This process will wipe your files as well as current settings, depending on what options you select, so make sure you have a backup of your files.
How to Reset Windows 10?
In Windows 10, click the Start menu, and select the gear icon in the lower left, this will open up the Settings window. If not, you can select the Settings app from the app list. Under Settings, click on Update & Security > Recovery, then click on Get started under Reset the PC.
How to Reset Windows 11?
If you are using Windows 11, open Settings > System > Recovery (or Settings > Windows Updates > Advanced options > Recovery). Click on Reset PC, this is situated next to the Reset this PC option.
Select What has to be Erased
No matter what version of Windows you have, you can select Keep my files to remove only downloaded apps along with settings. This will preserve your files; this option is recommended if you are trying to roll back an update or solve an issue.
If the drive is beyond saving or if you are planning to get rid of your computer, select the Remove everything option, this will wipe the drive clean as it removes downloaded apps, settings, along with personal files.
Before you are allowed to hit the reset button, you have to determine how to reinstall Windows. Select Local reinstall if you prefer the more hands-on approach of installing Windows from the local storage you have.
If you are looking for an easier route, click on Cloud download to pull files directly from Microsoft’s servers. This option needs over 4GB of available storage space; however, this option is also meant to be a faster as well as a more reliable alternative to booting from a USB stick.
Customize Additional Settings
After you have selected the reinstall options, there are a few extra customizable settings, depending on what you picked. Click on Change settings at the Additional settings screen to take a look at your choices:
If you selected the option Keep my files, apps and settings will default to what they were when the PC was freshly brought. You also have the ability to change this by disabling Restore preinstalled apps.
If you selected the option Remove everything, Windows will proceed to erase all the files. This is the quickest way to remove personal files, however, it is less secure because the files that are removed can be recovered with the right software. If you are planning to sell the device, it is recommended you enable Clean data to ensure your data is not just removed but is overwritten. This will definitely take longer, however, it is well worth the wait.
Did you already make the choice on how you want to reinstall Windows, don’t worry, you can still change that answer from this menu Enable or disable the Download Windows? option. You just need to mark the choice as Yes, then you will switch to a remote download of the operating system (OS).
If you have multiple drives installed, there is also an option that allows you to control if they should be wiped as well. If it’s a workplace device, then another option for deleting workplace resources may be present if certain configurations have been set up by your place of work. It is recommended you check with your company’s IT department before you change these to avoid problems.
Reset Your Computer
After you have made all your decisions, click on Next, then Windows will generate a screen that summarizes what will happen when you proceed forward with the reset. If you selected the option Keep my files, you will be able to look at a list of apps that will be removed after the reset. When you are ready to carry on with the reset, click on Reset. Your computer will restart, and it will then boot back up again after some time.
If you happen to be getting rid of the computer, your work is completed. Otherwise, sign back into Windows and make sure what you have opted to remove has been wiped from your device. If you have backed up files using an online backup service or Recovery Drive, they can now be restored.
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