How to Reset Your Windows 10 PC

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If your computer isn't running the way it should, you're getting strange errors or you just want to return it to its default state, Windows 10 has your answer. The operating system provides a number of options that let you restore your computer to an earlier state. Here's how to reset your PC in Windows 10.

  1. Navigate to Settings.  You can get there by clicking the gear icon on the Start menu.

    Select settings

  2. Select "Update & security"

    Select Update & security

  3. Click Recovery in the left pane.

    select recovery

     Windows presents you with three major options: Reset this PC, Go back to an earlier build and Advanced startup. Reset this PC is the best option for starting fresh. Advanced startup lets you boot off a recovery USB drive or disc and "Go to an earlier build" is made for Windows Insiders who want to roll back to a previous version of the OS. 

    Recovery options

  4. Click Get started under Reset this PC.

    Click Get started

  5. Click either "Keep my files" or "Remove everything," depending on whether you want to keep your data files intact. Either way, all of your settings will return to their defaults and apps will be uninstalled. 

    Choose whether to keep your files

  6. Select "Just remove my files" or "Remove files and clean the drive" if you chose to "remove everything" in the prior step. Cleaning the drive takes a lot longer but will make sure that, if you are giving the computer away, the next person will have a hard time recovering your erased files. If you are keeping the computer, choose "Just remove my files."

    select clean drive option

  7. Click Next if Windows warns you that you won't be able to roll back to a prior version of the OS.

    click Next

  8. Click Reset when prompted.

    Click Reset

    Windows will then restart and take several minutes to reset itself.

  9. Click Continue when prompted.

    Click Continue

 

Having issues with Windows 10? Our sister site, Tom’s Hardware, has a team of staffers standing by in the forums to answer your questions 24/7.

 

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
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54 comments
  • Neel Raj Dhakal Says:

    I have Desktop computer.
    i am using from 2013
    from yesterday i can not open...every time when i open computer need system password ok i had typing same password but the screen showing incorrect & system halted must power down...then nothing...can you give me solution...?

  • ankit singh Says:

    Sir
    I forget my computer password,and try many times and not open ,than what I do.

  • lunchbone Says:

    If i do this Reset do i have to buy windows again or enter the windows licence again?

    What about cleaning the hard drive? i have to buy windows again or no?


    Thanks :-)

  • Danny Lynch Says:

    I have a hp touchsmart 520 all in one which was upgraded to windows 10 before I bought it off a friend. Last month I got scammed and hacked. Will this process sort it out? Pc world said that I need to restore it to factory settings. Is this the same?

  • Alyssa Collins Says:

    Did all of the above. I did remove files and clean the drive and now it is stuck at 14% and has for 24hrs. What should I do? Is there a way to fit this without turning off the computer and ruining something?

  • Beast22 Says:

    Can i set all my stuff that i still need on a usb an then plug it in and return it back?

  • Jacob Fisher Says:

    It won't let my click on Get started when I try? I want to remove everything but nothing happens when I press "Get started" on Reset this PC

  • keu real Says:

    successful it works thanks!!!!

  • Jarred Thompson Says:

    At the option "reset this PC", when I click "get started", I click "clean everything", my computer shuts down, reboots and eventually something pops up and it says, "there was a problem resetting your PC, No changes where made". Why ? What's stopping the changes ?

  • Damian Says:

    I had the same issue as most people are commenting about. Black screen and getting stuck at 95% and stuff. and it turned out to be my wireless adapter. Apparently windows 10 doesn't go well with older wireless and network devices, so it tries and install wrong drivers that will make your computer get stuck when installing or resetting. Also, when u do manage to install it, your computer will still keep freezing at random times. So any solutions?, yea just update ur wireless drivers from the manufacturer website, place the files on a separate partition and if you have a pci wireless adapter just pull it out while u reinstall windows 10 then install the drivers

  • Harold Hilliard Says:

    The last one didn't pop up on my pc!

  • brian Says:

    my laptop was on window 10 but we lost it how can we reboot it , do you have to be on the net to do it wi-fi not work because router not pro to it yet

  • Sarfraz Ali Mughal Says:

    If i select the option "remove files and clean the drive ""
    i want to know that will it affect the C drive only ??? where i have installed windows,
    i have important data in other drives will this option also clean the other drive s like D E or F drive ???

  • Roger Says:

    I have a constant circle over the arrow on my mouse in my laptop

  • Zach Hovick Says:

    At the option "reset this PC", when I click "get started", I click "clean everything", the last thing the option says is, "there was a problem resetting your PC, No changes where made".

  • Jackie Says:

    I have the same problem as Brittany ,the screen goes black and dell keeps going on and of the screen and nothing I happening, I now have no computer, any ideas what I can do to restart it.

  • Heather Boucher Says:

    I'm trying to do the reset and I've done exactly what it says here. I select the erase and clean option and all the rest, get to step 8 and hit reset and the screen looks like its working then I get a blue screen that says there was a problem and gives code wfc_violation and restarts fixing nothing. Please help! None of the fixes people are pitting seem to be working, the current update is failing and I currently have no audio drive.

  • Shirley LaPierre Says:

    I have tried to reset my HP laptop Windows 10 back to manufacturer settings but it has not finished yet it gets to 97 % then just seem to loop What can I do

  • Brittany Says:

    My laptop screen goes black and then dell and loading bar pop up and then the screen goes black again, this repeats over and over, it wont even let me get to the login screen, how do i get it back to normal??

  • Justin Says:

    I reset my laptop and after I go to continue to windows 10 a black screen appears and I'm stuck

  • stephen Says:

    I am having trouble signing in it say for me to use my last password and I did because I only have one , So what am I to do cant find my disk to reboot I got on my lap top and reset my password to see if I could get in like that but no That pc is locked up or something what can I do ? the problem is the sign in wrong. It want me to use the last password and I have done that and it just keeps on saying the same thing, can anyone help me please.

  • Gustavo Says:

    Please help,, I did everything and opted removed files etc,,my hp stopped, at Resetting this PC 54%, what can I do next,I bought it 4 days ago refurbished

  • Mervin Says:

    I completed all the steps. And clicked continue. Screen goes black asus logo pops then goes black again and repeats. Just like that for more than 20 min. What do ido? Pls help

  • Krystal Says:

    I did all of that except I opted to remove everything like I was giving away the laptop. I have an external drive so I'm not worried about restoring lost files but now that I've reset it the screen comes on, the hp symbol shows, then the screen blinks and repeats the same action. What now?

  • Kevin Says:

    I completed a "keep my files" reset and wish that I did not, is there any way to reverse the reset? Before you ask, I did not back up my data on an external, am I a lost cause?

  • Joseph Di Marco Says:

    I want to reset this computer to the date of 01/31/2016

  • david Says:

    I did not import my pictures an book marks at the start of my window's 10 How do I do that over again PLEASE

  • Marry Joy Says:

    hi this steps help me a lot and I did reset my PC but please I hope you can help me, after I did the process I can't open my laptop I just show all black on screen. please send me feedback on my email. thank you

  • WenFu Says:

    My laptop does not even initiate the reset process. How can I reset it if it does not activate it?

    Thanks,
    Wen

  • Jacklol Says:

    Thanks so much! I tried Downloading a recording software and it gave me a massive virus, it took me 10 minutes it's self just to get the windows thing. After restarting my laptop is as fast and as clear as when I first got it

  • siegfreda Says:

    How to reset the loptop because the screen of the loptop is black i can't open it

  • Elize Brand Says:

    Hey. I just want to know if somebody can please help me. My Laptop Windows 10 gave me a blue screen. It Says: Recovery Your pc may need to be repaired. What do I do know

  • Bonita V Says:

    I reset my laptop the same exact way it showed me and now it doesn't want to turn on. I purchased this tablet brand new last week. I had downloaded Show Box and all these viruses showed up that's why I wanted to reset. What now...

  • ron larvin Says:

    how do i recover my task bar on windows 10

  • Dr Shahid Says:

    Please help me, I reset windows 10 unfortunately dark screen shows only cursor of the mouse, no other option. How can I restart.

  • zenzenzen Says:

    does it work properly? if i reset my laptop it will return to windows 10?

  • wondimhunegn Misganaw Says:

    my window 10 setting has crash i cannot fix the problem using trouble shooter.When i run the trouble shooter it says service registration is missing or corrupted.please help me how can i fix the problem.Thank you!

  • Gloria Cuellar Says:

    When I start my computer all it does is a blue circle in the middle of the computer and that is it/Help please.I have a brand new Horizon Lenovo all in one desk top.

  • jamy aycock Says:

    I installed this new software and it has locked me out of my laptop what do I do?

  • Keshanda Says:

    I reset my windows 10 and now it will not let me log in.what can I do to reset it and erase everything

  • Daniel de Godzinsky Says:

    I saw someone post about this earlier but didn't see an answer. I don't get the option to "go back to an earlier build" or "reset this pc" of which I would like to do the latter. I'm going to update W10 and see if it helps, but send me an answer if you have one besides updating windows.

  • ANN LEE Says:

    How do I take Microsoft Edge off my desktop computer & reinstall windows 8. Thank you

  • old man Jimmy Says:

    Kudos to Tom's Hardware. Being a user for 15 years, I never saw the likes of W10. Good riddance if I boot it into next century.

  • Amanda Says:

    I want to reset but the option isny there in recovery & i cant get to recovery manager?? Its like windows 10 is blocking me ftom doing a factory reset??? Please help...

  • Felicia Says:

    I even can't log into my laptop, I tried to reset but can't because it always said that incorrect password, I believe that's my password

  • Gupta Says:

    Does this remove any virus that got into the system?

  • Andre Says:

    I bought my laptop with Windows 8 and then upgraded to Windows 10. If I do this proceedure, will it go back to Windows 8? If so, is there a way to reset my Laptop without going back to Windows 8?

  • Hunter L Says:

    Hi, so I tried doing this and now its been stuck on a screen that says "Installing Windows" at the top with a percentage and circle in the middle and a note at the bottom that it's installing features and drivers. However, it has been doing this for two full days now. It comes back up at 65%, goes to 100%, restarts, then goes through the same thing. Is this normal or is something wrong? Any help would be very appreciated.

  • karen Says:

    And if it doesn't work...repeatedly?

  • Ihatelaptopgaming Says:

    i want to reset my pc without any recovery media disk.

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