If your computer is running slow or becoming unresponsive, you may feel frustrated and tempted to give up. But before you go out and buy a new computer, there’s one last trick you can try that can save you both time and money: a factory reset.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to easily and successfully reset your Windows 10 or 11 PC to its clean factory settings. We’ll also provide some tips on how to speed up Windows if you’re experiencing regular slowdowns.
First, Backup Your Computer
Before you proceed with the reset, it’s crucial to back up any important information that you don’t want to lose. This includes documents, photos, music, movies, and other files. Additionally, make sure you have all your saved passwords, browser bookmarks, and installation files for the software you want to reinstall. Don’t forget to back up app-specific data, such as custom filters or game save files, as well as any offline email client data.
How to Factory Reset Windows 10
Windows 10 has a built-in reset feature that can rebuild your system with a fresh copy of Windows, replacing all drivers and resetting all settings. However, it’s important to note that this reset feature may differ from the “factory reset” option provided by manufacturers. If you want to restore your PC to its original out-of-the-box state, check your documentation or contact technical support to see if they have a factory restore image or special partitions on the hard drive.
To factory reset Windows 10, follow these steps:
Step 1: Access the Settings Panel
Click the Notifications icon on the taskbar (or press the Windows button + A), and then click the All settings tile in the Action Center. Alternatively, you can click the Start button and then the Gear icon on the Start Menu.
Step 2: Navigate to Update & Security
Click on Update & Security in the settings panel.
Step 3: Select Recovery
Choose the Recovery option listed on the left.
On the right side of the screen, you’ll find two options. For this guide, we’ll focus on the first option, “Reset this PC.”
Step 4: Initiate the Reset
Click the Get Started button listed under Reset This PC.
A new window will appear with two options: “Keep my files” and “Remove everything.” Choose the option that suits your needs. Please note that both options will reset Windows 10 to its factory defaults and remove any software not installed from the Microsoft Store.
Step 5: Choose a Reset Source
Select either the Cloud download or Local reinstall option. The Cloud download option installs the latest version of Windows 10 from Microsoft’s servers, while the Local reinstall option uses the current Windows 10 installation on your PC.
Step 6: Modify Reset Settings (Optional)
If you want to customize the reset settings, click the Choose settings link and adjust the toggles accordingly. Otherwise, you can skip this step.
Step 7: Confirm and Begin the Reset
Click Next and review the summary of the reset settings. If everything looks good, click the Reset button.
Your PC will automatically reboot and enter the Windows Recovery Environment. The reset process may take some time, so it’s recommended to keep your laptop plugged in during the reset. After the reset is complete, follow the on-screen prompts to set up Windows 10, enter your personal information, and install the latest drivers.
Once everything is up and running, make sure to update Windows 10 and install the latest drivers from the hardware manufacturers.
How to Factory Reset Windows 11
Resetting Windows 11 is very similar to the process in Windows 10. Here’s how you can do it:
Step 1: Open the Settings Menu
Press the Windows and “I” keys together to open the pinned apps. Look for the Settings menu with the gears icon and select it.
Step 2: Access Update & Security
In the left-side menu, click on Update & Security.
Step 3: Choose Recovery
Select the Recovery option.
Step 4: Initiate the Reset
Choose the Reset PC option.
Step 5: Select Reset Options
Choose whether you want to Keep My Files or Remove Everything. Then, decide between a Cloud Download or a Local Reinstall.
Step 6: Confirm and Begin the Reset
Review the summary of your chosen settings and click Next. After doing a final check, select Reset to start the process.
An Alternative Method: Manufacturer’s Recovery Tool
Another way to factory reset your Windows computer is by using the manufacturer’s recovery tool, which is often located on a separate partition on your hard drive. Each manufacturer may have a different name for the recovery tool, so refer to the following list for some popular brands:
- Acer: Acer eRecovery or Acer Recovery Management
- Asus: Asus Recovery Partition or AI Recovery
- Dell: Dell Factory Image Restore, DataSafe, Dell Backup & Recovery, and other similar names
- HP: HP System Recovery or Recovery Manager
- Lenovo: Rescue and Recovery or ThinkVantage Recovery (on ThinkPads)
If your computer won’t boot into Windows, you can access these recovery options during the startup process. Pay attention to the text displayed on your screen as your machine boots and look for the recovery mode key. On many devices, the F11 key serves as a shortcut to access recovery mode.
Remember, resetting your PC should be done with caution as it will remove all your files and installed software. Make sure to back up any important data before proceeding.
For more guides and tips on Windows, please visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. OnSpec Electronic, Inc. is not responsible for any data loss or damage that may occur during the reset process. Always create backups of important files and follow manufacturer instructions for your specific device.