How to & Guides

How to Reset Windows 10 to Factory Settings and Protect Your Data

If you frequently use Windows computers, you’ve likely encountered common issues such as program failures and hard drive crashes. It’s important to know how to resolve these problems and safely reset your Windows 10 computer while saving your data.

Why Factory Reset Windows 10?

Performing a factory reset is one of the best solutions for various issues you may face on your Windows device. Whether your computer has become sluggish or you’re planning to sell it and want to ensure your personal data remains private, a factory reset can be highly beneficial.

Factory Reset Windows 10 and Preserve Your Data Effectively

When it comes to resetting a Windows computer, the process varies depending on the version of Windows you’re using. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to factory reset a Windows 10 computer, allowing you to recover your files afterward.

Preliminary Steps: Back Up Your Data

Before proceeding with a factory reset, remember that it will delete all your data, including installed programs. It’s essential to back up your data to ensure its safety. Although tools like Disk Drill offered by CleverFiles can help recover some data, it’s always better to be safe and back up your files. Once your data is securely backed up, you can proceed with the factory reset using either of the methods outlined below.

Method 1: Factory Reset Windows 10 with Built-In Function

Microsoft introduced a simpler method for factory resetting Windows in Windows 8, which has carried over to Windows 10. This method is usually the best option for most users.

  1. Launch the “Settings” app.
  2. Navigate to “Update & Security.”
  3. Select “Recovery.”
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During the factory reset process, you’ll have two options regarding your data: “Keep my files” or “Remove everything.” Choosing to keep your files will restore your OS options to default and remove all installed apps, while preserving music and document files. On the other hand, selecting “Remove everything” will perform a complete factory reset, similar to operating a brand new computer.

Method 2: Factory Reset Windows 10 with the “Fresh Start” Option

If you’re using an older version of Windows 10 (2004 or earlier), the “fresh start” option is the recommended method for factory resetting your computer.

  1. Open the “Settings” app.
  2. Go to “Update & Security.”
  3. Click on the “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows” link on the “Recovery” page.

Once the Windows Security app launches, locate the “Fresh start” option and click “Get started” to initiate the restore process. Keep in mind the following details about the “Fresh Start” method:

  • It keeps all your files, so there’s no option to perform a full factory reset.
  • It downloads the latest version of Windows 10 directly from Microsoft, without the option to reinstall from local files.
  • It retains some Windows settings, although the specific settings kept are not specified.

Method 3: Manual Reinstallation of Windows Using Installation Media

Installing a new version of Windows on your computer allows you to manually factory reset the system. This involves wiping all existing data and installing a fresh copy of Windows 10. You can complete this process using a USB drive or an external hard drive.

  1. Load a new copy of Windows 10 onto a USB drive with a capacity of at least 8 GB.
  2. Connect the USB drive to your computer.
  3. Boot the computer from the removable device and choose to install a clean copy of Windows.
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Method 4: Factory Reset Windows 10 from Boot Using Advanced Methods

If the previous methods are not applicable, you can still factory reset your Windows 10 computer from the boot stage using advanced techniques.

  1. Access the advanced startup menu.
  2. Visit “Settings” within the advanced startup menu.
  3. Go to “Update & Security” and click on the “Recovery” icon.
  4. Look for the “Restart now” button and click on it to reboot your Windows 10 computer into Advanced Startup.

If these steps do not immediately trigger the factory reset, consider trying these alternative approaches:

  • Open the start menu, expand the power menu, hold down the “Shift” key, and click the “Restart” button to factory reset your Windows 10 computer.
  • Press F11 during system boot to access the Advanced Startup menu. If this doesn’t work, Windows will automatically open Advanced Startup after three failed boot attempts.
  • In the Advanced Startup menu, select “Troubleshoot” and then “Reset This PC” to initiate the factory reset process.
  • Boot your computer into the BIOS and load the recovery partition directly from your hard drive. This option only works if your manufacturer included a recovery partition. Alternatively, you can create your own recovery drive using the Start menu, which provides a tool for making a recovery drive. Remember to create the recovery drive before encountering any issues that require a factory reset.

Final Thoughts

While it’s possible to factory reset your Windows 10 computer without losing your data, there’s always a risk of losing some files in the process. Fortunately, there are reliable data recovery applications available to help retrieve lost files. We value your feedback, so please share in the comments section which method worked best for you. Stay tuned to this space for more informative articles on Windows, macOS, and Android-related errors. If you found this article helpful, please like, share, and follow our Facebook page.

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OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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