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 extremely slowly, Windows 10 makes it easy to start over.  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


Still 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,
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
Add a comment
  • Ruthie Says:

    This so-called process is a joke. I've tried for 3 days on 2 laptops & I get the same result. IT DOES NOT WORK! Over 14 hours each day just stalls in the middle & never completes anything, grrrrr!

  • Nikola Says:

    Ty , im only 15 and my laptop was really being a pain so thanks u accept ill have to download all my sims mods again i think :/

  • Evelyn T. Sanchez Says:

    Nothing Because its so helpful

  • Matt Lopez Says:

    When it says, Keep My Files, what files does it refer to? I have game clients stored on the boot drive but the games are stored on a different drive. I assume the game client will be deleted but my games will remain? What other files does it remove?

  • Payton Says:

    I tried this and my laptop refuses to allow me access into updates and recovery.
    Then my laptop FREEZES mid trying to get into the setting.

  • Alan. Says:

    Followed these instructions, including keep my data. Now my password doesn't work. Any help would be appreciated. Yes, I tried Microsoft who, as usual, were no help at all.

  • Alihash Says:

    I turn my laptop on and it's doesn't show the mark of laptop like asus or acer in first and monitor have no light or black color it just off .
    My screen is off and it's not wanna turn on
    Some people tell's that you must put your bios battery out and put it again.
    But I cant find any battery
    What I have to do to get right?

  • Niken Says:

    Hello, thank you for sharing.

    Is there another method to reset my Windows 10? I wanted to reset my PC because my storage is too full. But this method requires significant memory as well (which doesn't work in my case).

  • Luccei Says:

    Does selecting "remove everything" when resetting your PC result in getting Windows 10 removed completely?

  • Dhiraj Gharat Says:

    5 time try this procedure but not format / all over clear my laptop

  • Dindo Says:

    How do I reformat windows 10 from the startup. My Desktop won't boot up so I'm planning to reformat it.

  • My Name Says:

    If the option to remove all files and start clean is not working you could try using a external device to look inside the Hard Drive and just delete everything. Google: USB 2.0 to SATA & IDE *Caution* it can be difficult to rebuild if you literally delete everything, have to get drivers for everything and takes a little more effort to get back up and running but it will clean up space :)

    Another hard drive.

  • rajesh Says:

    6 th step is not coming in my laptop and asking for insert windows installation or media ...but my pc has inbuilt windows 10

  • my name is jen face it Says:

    I'm trying to factory reset my laptop, but it says I need extra storage space to actually do it. I don't understand why because i'm resetting it to try and get that storage to install the new security settings, which i cannot. I've tried deleting all of my unneeded files. I even deleted my whole downloads folder, with essential things in it, and the amount of storage did not budge at all. h e l p

  • paul simkiss Says:

    Just bought a refurbished laptop with win 10 on ebay. rarely starts, has spinning dots then blank screen, tried every fix I can find on internet. I have ordered win 7 programme disk to install. Am I doing right thing?

  • Jesse Says:

    Thanks for this godly elite tip. Saved my life.

  • melanie Says:

    ive tried to reset my pc to factory settings. i bought this used with another microsoft acct still on here. when i get to remove everything, it tells me i dont have enough memory it needs 2gig to restore. options are to run disk clean up or back up my files. i just want to wipe it clean. what do i do??

  • Miranda Martin Says:

    I keep trying this and it doesnt work. I have gone through and removed all the extra junk that comes preloaded on my dell inspiron 14 but it says it needs an additional 5.3gb of space. It didn't even have that amount of free space to begin with. Bought it in Jan of this year, I have no file downloaded, no videos, music etc. Just their preloaded crap, most of which will not let me remove. Now what?

  • Dave P Says:

    For ASUS TransformerT100 TA Win 10: While holding down F9 key, Press & Hold down the Power key until "Wait a minute" shows up: This Boots into Windows recovery mode with options to completely Reset to factory or Refresh. Do not need Password (I had forgotten mine).

  • Mortimer Snerd Says:

    Like most so-called experts, these instructions assume you have a running copy of Win10. Latest MS -upgrade- either puts install in an endless loop or fries the boot sector, so these instructions USELESS.

  • Isaiah Higgins Says:

    My laptop is so slow, I can't even always open settings. I just click it and it does nothing. If settings do open, I can never get past Updates and Security. There's just so much bloatware and unnecessary intrusive "anti-virus" software.

  • ashleigh Says:

    its stuck on getting windows ready dont turn computer off what do I do

  • amour Says:

    please, I have deleted everything I can off my laptop and I still can't reset my laptop as there is not enough space...

  • rowena Says:

    how to reset my pc window 10? i try to reset but is not unloading..

  • Jerry Zaky Says:

    I have updated to the Windows 10 April, 2018. Will the reset take me back or will i still retain this same update?

  • Michael Says:

    Does resetting windows disconnects the computer from the domain attched to and all VPN connection?

  • Eugene Says:


  • Rick H Says:

    Not sure which version of Windows 10 you might have but System Restore has been disabled in Windows 10. You can’t even manually create one. They want you to use our backups but if you don’t back up your system every day then you’ve got nothing to go back to. Who has time for that? And of course HP does NOT give you a Windows installation disk to repair or recover your system so you might as well remove that option as well.
    Question: Can I make a system repair disk for Windows 10 using a laptop running Windows 7?

  • kaveen Says:

    healpfull and learned it in easy way thanks all

  • Sonali jadhav Says:

    If i will reset my pc using giving steps , are u sure it will work perfectly....

  • Guile Valdesimo Says:

    If I reset this Windows 10 PC, is the OS will be removed too?

  • Jenner Says:

    I did all the same EXACT steps but it DOESNT WORK!

  • amanda Says:

    I don't have the required space to!!

  • gerald williams Says:

    Can my power on password be hard reset?

  • gerald williams Says:

    My power on password will not work

  • Ryan Bailey Says:

    I am trying to do this but it keeps telling me that I don't have enough disc space. When I go to remove programs there isn't anything else I can do to get the 3GB space I need to complete the reset. Is there anyway around this?

  • prayash kafle Says:

    doing this one can i need windows setup in removable or dvd?????

  • Joyce Says:

    I can't get to the start menu or to the control,pane"l can't get pass the locked paasword screen

  • Pierre Says:

    Note - that if you take the second to "remove file and clean the drive" - that this option will take far longer than the option to "keep my files" - heaps longer, in fact.

  • Richard Walter Says:

    I just upgraded my Apple iPad to os11 when I did I lost apps that were very valuable to me... the designers app only supported now by os7. How can I reset my iPad

  • A'Jaysha Morris Says:

    My HP laptop is moving slow I have deleted everything & reset the whole laptop. It ask too download the updated version of Windows 10 but never do it download. The background of my laptop to is black I reset all the setting as well.

  • Becki Says:

    I've tried these instructions both everything and just files. What can be done as these not working.

  • Douglas Daly Says:

    The above information is very helpful. I already knew some of it after calling MS a half dozen times because I, being an old guy and not computer savvy, didn't know the proper term to be using, "reset."

  • Rahul Prasad Says:

    i have in built windows 10 home in my laptop .... when resetting laptop if i choose " remove everything" then " remove file and clean drive" ... so my in built windows 10 remain or remove ...???
    should i install it again ??

  • Orion Says:

    Help. When I do this. MY PC is stuck in a black state.

  • Timothy Says:

    When I click on the "get started" button under reset this pc; it does nothing. I'm using a Microsoft Surface 3. Is there a hard reset option? What do I need to do?

  • Dijar Says:

    Thanks it's working.... so far

  • Cytrix Says:

    I tried to factory reset my window 10 tablet PC,but when l reached at option of either
    -keep my file's
    -remove everthing
    It just stopped at that point and cannot move back or accept my selection.what can l do ?

  • Laura_68 Says:

    Please help... I did everything and it been over 48 hrs with a little circle going around and around but nothing else on my laptop...

  • Jai On Pha Says:

    Dear sir
    After I have updated my windows 10 ,I dont know how to resetting coz even start menu also can press.That why I want some method sir.
    Thank from
    Jai On Pha(Thailand)

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