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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81 comments
  • Nathan Says:

    It tells me my windows file is locked and so I can't reset my laptop, what do I do?

  • 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

  • Lintang ayu permata sari Says:

    Good afternoon.
    Hey avram, i just wanna ask you for how i can reset my windows because i have forgotten pasword administrator, i have tried command prompt like google said about it but not working, please can you help me? My version is windows 10 . Thank you for your help.
    Regards, Lintang Ayu Permata Sari

  • 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)

  • Menna Says:

    Wait so if I reset my laptop it will go back to windows 7 ?? Because it was windows 7 before i updated it??

  • Willie Says:

    I have the same problem as one of the people commenting. I clicked on something while on ebay and my computer locked and gave me a number to call.for $129.00 they'll fix it.I could not pay.now every time I open my computer it has an alarm.I'm afraid to click on it because it wants to make changes to the computer 😢

  • Aldo Zevallos Says:

    Hi, I followed all your steps , however, my laptop got stuck on the last step (restarting) I only see the a dot turning around and around . What do I need to do? Please

  • Anthony marco Says:

    Yes my friend gave me a Epson printer and I was having problems with it so I googled it and I called a 1800 number to try to get help and he told me he would have to get on my computer with me so he sent me a link to download and he got on my computer my laptop was working fine had no problems with it at all then I see that he is downloading something called super anti spy ware professional and when he was done downloading it he said it was my laptop that was the problem and for 129 dollars they could fix it then he said he could do it for a hundred dollars and I told him I would call him back.now when I start up the laptop it gets to the icons and lets me click the windows drop down so I can get to settings but when I click on anything it won't let me open anything I can't even open any icons can you please help me I'm not computer smart and I'm out of work and my daughter needs it for school so if. You can help me get it running I would gladly send you a payment for it thank you and God bless you

  • masoud kargar Says:

    My lop top LCD screen write (can't find sistem )all sistem soft were damaged. how can unproven.

  • framl Says:

    Oh, now I see it, ignore below. tx

  • frank Says:

    If you are keeping the computer, choose "Just remove my files."

    Huh?

  • Alex Lee Says:

    is there a way to reset ur computer without going into settings?

  • Imogene Marie medley Says:

    I have a gateway that came with window 7 but put window 10 I reset it and choose to delete all files and it's taken forever to reset

  • Imogene Marie medley Says:

    I have a gateway that came with window 7 but put window 10 I reset it and choose to delete all files and it's taken forever to reset

  • pmat39 Says:

    reset this computer to its original status

  • Alex S. Says:

    Okay so i know how to do all that but my computer keeps freezing everytime i try and do it

  • Hendry Anggriawan Says:

    Thanks for the reference, really usefull for me.

  • bluegreen50 Says:

    It wont put it back to Manufacterey

  • 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

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