How to Factory Reset Windows 10 to Its Default Settings

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Is your Windows 10 laptop or PC giving you trouble? Whether it takes more time for booting or is having frequent error messages, you may want to factory reset Windows 10 to its default settings. This means wiping all the information on your hard drive and starting again with a clean slate.

A Windows 10 reset is definitely a good way to fix many drive update issues and registry errors. However, you have to be patient, as the process can consume a lot of time, so allocate at least a few hours for this activity. This article discusses the various steps of factory reset on a Windows 10 laptop.

Always Make a Backup First

Since a clean reset will wipe all the information you have on your PC, it is necessary to make a backup elsewhere. You can either create a backup to a network drive or copy the files individually to an external hard disk.

I personally like to store the backup on the cloud. For this, I prefer Microsoft OneDrive since it’s tightly integrated with Windows. Also, the files and folders in OneDrive can be uploaded and downloaded exactly in the manner of your Windows PC appearance.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Take Backup Onedrive

Whatever methods you find to be easy, don’t forget the backup stage, as on rare occasions things do go wrong while doing a factory reset. Screen freezes and infinite restart loops aren’t unheard of. If you encounter such issues during the factory reset, do a cold restart by hard-pressing the power button.

Turn on the “Reset this PC” Option

The Windows 10 reset option can be turned on simply from the Start menu. You can also access it from “Settings.”

Reset Windows10 Factory Settings Reset This Pc Menu From Start

Click “Get started” to reset the PC. You can also access this option from an “Advanced startup” menu discussed below.

Reset Windows10 Factory Settings Get Started

You will be given two choices for resetting Windows 10. You can either keep your personal file and remove the apps and settings or go nuclear and delete everything.

Reset Windows10 Factory Settings Remove Everything From Pc

Before you remove your data, you will be asked one last time whether you want to just remove the files. It also consumes less time than a complete reset. Click “Next” to ignore the advice.

Reset Windows10 Factory Settings Ignore Additional Settings

It will take just a few minutes for the reset option to be enabled on your Windows PC.

Reset Windows10 Factory Settings Getting Things Ready

In the next step your Windows 10 PC will prepare itself to reset everything. The process can take a little time, so be patient.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Preparing To Reset 100percent

Once successful, the PC will prepare the restart and proceed further.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Preparing To Reset

The PC will reset now in the background. It is a slow, time-consuming process. Windows will be reinstalled in the background itself. All apps that you installed will be removed. Only the apps that came pre-installed with Windows will be inserted. Wait for the process to complete itself, and you will have a similar desktop and an update back to the factory version of your Windows purchase.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Reset 12percent

Advanced Startup “Reset” Method

Another option is to reset the Windows PC in Safe mode. This is preferred if you are stuck infinitely in the “Prepare to reset” option in the above section. It is mostly a GUI error. The same procedure is used in safe mode option, but the steps are slightly different as shown below.

To reset Windows 10 in Safe mode, go to “Advanced Startup” in the Start menu. Once the blue screen starts, go to “Troubleshooting” followed by “Reset this PC.” Here, you get a choice to reset only the driver where Windows is installed or all drives. Choose the latter for a complete reset.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Reset All Drives

In the next step you get a choice to “fully clean the drive” or just “remove the files.”

Factory Reset Windows 10 Fully Clean The Drive

The reset stage is ready. Once you click the “Reset” button, the PC will restart. and a Windows 10 reset will occur in the background.

Factory Reset Windows 10 Reset Options

Factory resetting the Windows 10 PC should be treated as a last option, as it is not uncommon to encounter problems while doing it. It is best to troubleshoot the issues first, be it a Windows Store error, a Critical Structure Corruption error, or a Bad System Config error. Only reset the PC if none of the solutions work.

Image credit: Boiler Reset Buttons

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Sayak Boral Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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