If you have used your computer for a long time, you will probably encounter a situation where your programs are not working as they should be due to wrong or corrupted settings. Obviously, for most Windows users, the first thought that comes to mind is to uninstall and reinstall the program so that the program will hopefully reset itself to its default settings. For some applications this trick works, but for others it either doesn’t work or you need to explicitly delete the saved preferences or settings while uninstalling.
There are actually ways to reset programs to their default settings without having to uninstall and reinstall. Here is how you can reset Windows programs to their default settings.
Using Built-in Options Programs
Usually, programs provide their own options to reset the application configuration to the default settings. For instance, in the Chrome browser you can reset all the settings by navigating to “Menu -> Settings” and then clicking on the “Reset Settings” button.
Just like Chrome, other programs such Firefox, Photoshop, and Thunderbird, will have their own options to reset the settings to their default configurations. Each program is different, yet you will probably find it in the options.
If you can’t find the option or if there is no option to reset the configuration, follow the instructions below.
Delete the Relevant AppData Folder
Note: before going any further, make sure that you have a good backup of your system so that you can revert to the original settings if something bad happens.
In Windows almost all the applications, unless they are really old, store their settings and other files in the AppData folder. By deleting the target application’s folder in the AppData directory, you can reset a program to its default configuration.
To access the AppData folder, simply press the keyboard shortcut “Win + R,” type “
C:\Users\<username>\AppData” and press the Enter button. Don’t forget to replace <username> with your actual username.
The above action will open the AppData folder. Here you will find two folders: “Local” and “Roaming.” Most programs save their settings in the Roaming folder so that they are locked onto the user and can roam with the user (helpful in workstation environments). Open the Roaming folder, find the folder associated with your application and delete it.
The Local folder in the AppData directory hosts files that are user-specific and should not or can not roam (due to their size, like the cache files) with the user. Obviously, some applications might use the Local folder to save the settings. So, if deleting the target program folder in the Roaming directory didn’t work, go ahead and delete the folder that is related to your program in the Local folder.
Finally, if you are using a rearly old program that doesn’t follow these conventions, it might be storing its settings in the ProgramData folder located in the root of the C drive. Enter “
C:\ProgramData” into the Run dialog box and press the Enter button to open the folder.
In the “ProgramData” folder go ahead and delete the relevant application folder to reset the settings. One thing to keep in mind while using the ProgramData folder is that it is also used to store any and all data or settings that are applicable to all the users on your system. Think of it like an AppData folder for all the users on your system.
Do comment below sharing your thoughts and experiences about using the above method to quickly reset application settings in Windows.