From time to time as we add and delete files to our computers, Windows can start to behave a bit funny, where every now and then we might run into an error or two, or where it stops running the way it is supposed to. This is where a factory reset of your computer might come in handy return it into a “brand new” state.

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It can also be useful if you’re looking to sell off your computer and want to reset everything for the next user. So, if you’re looking for how to factory reset Windows 10 back to its default settings, here’s how you can do it.

How To Factory Reset Windows 10

  1. Press the Win key and select Settings
  2. Select Update & Security
  3. Select Recovery from the left navigation bar
  4. Under Reset this PC, click Get started
  5. Select either Keep my Files or Remove everything, depending on what you want the factory reset to accomplish
  6. If you have more than one hard drive, you will be presented with options to factory reset only the drive Windows 10 is installed on, or all drives
  7. If you were to select Remove everything, choose one of the two options presented to you
    • Just remove my files: This is a quicker reset process but it is less secure as there is potential that your files could still be recovered despite it being deleted.
    • Remove files and clean the drive: As per Microsoft’s description, the second option will take considerably longer where it might run for a couple of hours. This is because this process is meant to scrub the hard drive of your files in a more thorough manner, which makes it harder for someone else to recover them. If you are planning on selling your Windows 10 PC, then this option would be a safer choice even if it takes longer.
  8. Microsoft will then prompt users with a warning that lets you know that resetting this PC will reinstall Windows 10, and that it won’t revert you back to older builds
  9. Click Next
  10. Click Reset and let the process run its course
  11. Once the reset process is complete, follow the instructions to reinstall Windows 10

When Windows 10 has finished setting up, you might want to give it a quick once over to double check to make sure that all your files and settings have been deleted and reverted back to default. There shouldn’t be an issue with this process and depending on your choices, it could be done in less than 30 minutes, or it could take a couple of hours.

As always, do make sure that you have all your files and documents backed up to a separate hard drive or to the cloud. This is because once the reset process is complete, and depending on which option you chose, your files might be deleted from the computer.

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