Sometimes we run into some really complex problems in Windows that we wish we could take it all back and have a fresh copy of Windows to begin with.
Such problems may include Windows being too slow after installing or running some apps, malware and viruses, automatically full drive C where you find your C drive in red or running out of storage space even though you haven’t saved any big files to your PC, automatic repair, blue screen errors and the like.
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In some cases, you may want to have this fresh copy of Windows without losing your files while in other cases you may want to completely wipe away everything and have what is technically a new Windows OS on your device.
In any case, here are two possible ways to reset your Windows 10 back to the default factory settings without using any installation disk. These approaches will work for any Windows 10 build you have, here I’m using the latest build which is 1903. You might notice a bit of difference in the placement of options in the older builds, but the general approach is pretty much the same.
Please note that it might be required that you have a genuine and activated Windows 10 to be able to implement any of these procedures. You can obtain a cheap genuine Windows 10 Pro OEM license key from here.
- Go to the Windows Start menu and click on the gear icon to open up your Windows settings.
- On the settings page, click on Update and security.
- On the next page click on Recovery.
- Under Recovery, you have Rest this PC, here click on Get started.
- Then you should see these two options, Keep my files or Remove everything. a. The Keep my files option allows you to keep your personal files like your photos, music, videos, word files, and PDF documents after the reset process but will delete your applications and settings. This could be an option of choice if you suspect the problem to be coming from one or more applications and maybe after uninstalling such apps, the problem still persists. Then using this option, you get to remove all apps without losing your files. If you chose to go with this option, remember to back up your other software licenses. I recommend using the Belarc Advisor app, its completely free and provides you a record of all your software licenses including your Windows license. b. The Remove everything option will completely remove everything from your PC, leaving you a new copy of Windows 10. Before using this option, again remember to back-up your files and save your software licenses. This option is more likely to fix most of the problems you may be having with your Windows 10, simply because it removes everything, so whether the malfunctioning is coming from a corrupt file or from a corrupt application, this option is more likely to fix both problems.
- Here if you have more than one drive on your PC, it will ask if you want to Remove all files from all drives, again this is up to you to decide. If you completely need nothing from all drives or have backed-up all your needed files, then you can go with the All Drives option. If not, then selecting the drive with your Windows OS will be the alternative.
- Next, you will see another page with Additional settings. Here the default option is to just Remove your files. This option allows the resetting process to delete your files, however, it does not override the memory locations on your disk where these files were stored, so it will be relatively easy for anyone with a good data recovery application to recover back those files. This option should be okay if you plan to keep using the PC after resetting. In addition to still being able to recover the deleted files, it also takes less time to complete the resetting process. However, if you plan to give away or sell your PC, then removing files and cleaning the drives could be a better option. This will take some more time, but using it ensures the deleted files are not easily recoverable after resetting by overwriting the memory locations where such files were stored.
- To delete files and clean drive. Click on Change settings
- NB: On the older version of Windows 10, you will just have the two options here one says Just remove my files, the other says Fully clean the drive, so you can just click on the option you prefer. To continue with build 1903, when you click on Change settings, it gives you the option of Data erasure, here you can just flip the switch below to turn on data erasure, then click confirm to proceed and hit Next afterwards.
- Then depending on when you upgraded to Windows 10, it could warn you that your PC was recently upgraded to Windows 10 and that you won’t be able to undo or go back to the previous version of windows if you use this option. If that’s okay hit Next. Then it again reminds you that resetting will remove your personal files, user accounts, apps, programs and settings, here click Reset. And from here the reset process will begin. This process will take quite a while, depending on your configurations, ensure your PC is powered on the entire time and just be patient and wait for the process to complete.
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This is pretty similar to the first method except that this time we will be going through the power options. For that;
- Go to the start menu and click on the power icon.
- Then hold down the shift key and click on Restart Keep holding down the shift key until you see a bluescreen with different options.
- Here click on Troubleshoot.
- Then Reset this PC.
- It then takes you back to this page where you get to choose whether to Keep your files or to Remove everything. Here select your preferred option.
- Then on this next page, it asks if you just want to Just remove your files or if you want to Fully clean the drive. Again, here just like in the first method, is up for you to decide, so choose the options that suit your needs and proceed with the reset process.
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Please share your comments, questions, and feedbacks in the comment section below.
The following video demonstrates the solutions in this tutorial.