How to Reset Windows 10 PC back to its original state.

Last updated on September 9th, 2019

In this tutorial you will find detailed instructions on how you can reset Windows 10 to its original configuration by using the 'RESET this PC" feature. The "Reset this PC" feature (which is available in Windows 10, 8 & 8.1 OS), helps you to easily reinstall the Windows operating system by keeping (or not) your personal files.

The "Reset this PC" feature (also know as "System Refresh"), is the last option to fix problems on Windows 10 (or Windows 8), that cannot be fixed by other ways.

How to Reset Windows 10

How the "Reset this PC" feature works on a Preinstalled Windows 10 PC.
If you choose the "Reset this PC" option, on a computer that the OS was preinstalled from the manufacturer, then – after the refresh – all the manufacturer's preinstalled software and drivers will be reinstalled.

How the "Reset this PC" feature works on a Custom Installed Windows 10 PC.
If you choose the "Reset this PC" option, on a computer that the OS was installed by you, (clean Windows installation), then – after the refresh – you should have a clean Windows installation without any additional software.

How to Reset Windows 10/8 back to Default State. *

* Note: If Windows can boot normally, follow the instructions at Part-1. If Windows fails to boot, follow the instructions at Part-2.

Part 1. How to Reset Windows 10 if Windows Starts Normally.

If you can boot to Windows normally, then you can refresh your PC by using one of the following methods.

Method 1. Refresh Windows 10 or Windows 8 from Recovery options.
Method 2. Reset Windows 10 from Windows Defender (Fresh Start).
Method 3. Refresh Windows 10/8 from Windows Recovery Mode.

Method 1. Refresh Windows 10 or Windows 8 from Recovery options.

1. Navigate to Settings > Update and security.

2. Choose Recovery from the left pane and then choose Get Started under the Reset this PC section.

reset this pc Windows 10

3. At the next screen choose one of the displayed options:

  • A. Keep my Files: This option will remove all apps and settings but will keep your personal files.
  • B. Remove everything: By selecting this option, your PC will be restored to a clean state, by removing all apps, settings and personal files. If you choose this option, make sure that you have a backup of your personal files to another storage media (e.g. a USB disk), otherwise all your files will be lost.

refresh Windows 10

Method 2. How to Reset Windows 10 from Windows Defender (Fresh Start).

After the Windows 10 Creator update, you also have the option to perform a fresh Windows 10 installation, by using the "Fresh Start" option in Windows defender program.

1. Double click on the Windows Defender icon image on the taskbar.

2. At Windows Defender Security center options, select Device performance & health at the left pane and then click Additional info under the Fresh start section.

fresh start windows 10

3. Click Get started.

fresh start windows defender

4. At the next screen click Next. *

* Note: "Fresh start" will remove all installed apps and third party programs, but your personal files will be retained. Your device will also be updated to the latest version on Windows.

Windows 10 Fresh Start

Method 3. How to Refresh Windows 10/8 from Windows Recovery Mode.

1. To start Windows 10 in recovery mode, use one of the following ways:

A. From Windows GUI: Right click on Start menu and then press the Restart button while pressing the SHIFT key on your keyboard.

B. From Windows Sign-in screen: Click on the Power button and then choose Restart while pressing the SHIFT key on your keyboard.

Start Windows 10 in Recovery Mode

2. After restart, at "Troubleshoot options, choose Reset this PC. *

* Note: In Windows 8 & 8.1, you will see two options: Refresh this PC & Reset this PC and Refresh this PC. If you choose the "Refresh this PC" option, your personal files will be kept. If you choose the "Reset this PC" option the personal files will be removed.

Refresh Windows 10 - Recovery Mode

2. Then choose one of the following options:

  • A. Keep my Files: This option will remove all apps and settings but will keep your personal files.
  • B. Remove everything: By selecting this option, your PC will be restored to a clean state, by removing all apps, settings and personal files. If you choose this option, make sure that you have a backup of your personal files to another storage media (e.g. a USB disk), otherwise all your files will be lost.

image

Part 2. How to Reset Windows 10 if Windows CANNOT Boot.

If Windows fails to start, then you can refresh your PC, by using one of the following methods:

Method 1. Reset Windows 10 from the Recovery Partition (Recovery key).
Method 2. Reset Windows 10 using the 'Repair your Computer' Option.

Method 1. How to Reset Your PC using the Recovery Partition (Key).

If you own a laptop or desktop computer, that the OS is preinstalled from the manufacturer, then you can restore your computer to the factory default state, from the recovery partition. To do that, press the appropriate recovery key during system power up and follow the instructions on your screen.

Method 2. How to Reset Windows 10 using 'Repair Your Computer' option.

The final method to reinstall Windows 10 on your PC, is by using a Windows Installation Media and the 'Repair your Computer' option, from the Windows 10 Advanced Menu options (F8).

Requirements: A Windows Installation USB or DVD media. *

* Note: If you don't own a Windows 10 Boot Media, then you can create one, by following the instructions mentioned on these articles:

Step 1. Enable the Advanced Options Menu in WinRE Command Prompt:

1. Boot the problematic computer from the Windows Installation Media (USB or DVD).
2. A the first screen press SHIFT + F10 to access the Command Prompt. *

* Or choose: NEXT –> REPAIR YOUR COMPUTER -> TROUBLESHOOT -> ADVANCED OPTIONS -> COMMAND PROMPT)

windows setup screen

3. In command prompt, give the following command and press Enter:

  • bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Windows 8 F8 legacy boot

4. After the command execution you should see a message that says that "The operation completed successfully".

Windows 8 Access F8 Safe Mode

5. Remove the Windows installation media.
6. Type Exit to close the command prompt window and close all open windows.
7. Turn OFF your PC and continue to step-2 below.

Step 2. Reset Windows 10 by using the "Repair Your Computer" option.

1. Power on you PC and repeatedly press the F8 key before the appearance of the Windows logo, to access the "Advanced Boot Options".
2 When the 'Windows Advanced Options Menu' appears on your screen, use your keyboard arrows keys to highlight the "Repair your computer" option and then press ENTER.

image

3. At 'Choose an option' screen, select Troubleshoot and then click Reset This PC -> Keep my files. *

* Info:

  • The "Keep my Files" option, will remove your all apps and settings but will keep your personal files.
  • The "Remove everything" option, will remove all apps, settings and files. By selecting this option, your PC will be restored to a clean state.  **

* Important: If you choose to "Remove Everything", make sure first that you have a recent backup of your personal files to another storage media (e.g. a USB disk), otherwise all your files will be lost.

How to Reset Windows 10 from USB

4. At the next screen, choose an account (with admin privileges) and at the next screen type your password and click Next.

image

5. Wait until the installation is completed.

That's it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

If this article was useful for you, please consider supporting us by making a donation. Even $1 can a make a huge difference for us in our effort to continue to help others while keeping this site free: