How to Reset Your Windows 10 PC

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Windows 10 is prone to all sorts of issues, from the sudden disappearance of files to problems with installing updates. If your computer isn't running the way it should, giving you strange errors or performing slowly, then it's probably time for a reset.  Resetting your PC or restoring to an earlier state can clean out any pesky background programs and wipe your computer's hard drive of any unneeded files. The operating system provides a number of options that let you reset your Windows 10 computer to an earlier state. Here's how to reset your PC in Windows 10.

How to Reset Your Windows 10 PC

  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

  4. 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

  5. Click "Get started" under Reset this PC.

    Click Get started

  6. 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

  7. Select "Just remove my files" or "Remove files and clean the drive" if you chose "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 can't recover your erased files. If you are keeping the computer, choose "Just remove my files."

    select clean drive option

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

    click Next

  9. Click Reset when prompted.

    Click Reset

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

  10. Click Continue when prompted.

    Click Continue

 

Hopefully, you have fewer hiccups now that you know how to reset your Windows 10 PC. 

Now that you know how to reset your Windows 10 PC, check out our guide on how to open a port on Windows Firewall so you can whitelist programs from triggering your firewall. 

 

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch,
The current editor-in-chief of our sister site, Tom's Hardware, Avram served as editorial director of Laptop from 2007 to 2018. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of our real-world benchmarks, including the Laptop Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, on