Factory Settings Windows 10

This guide contains instructions on how to reset Windows 10 to factory settings, perform a reset, roll back to its original state, or, otherwise, automatically reinstall Windows 10 on a computer or laptop. It has become easier to do this than in Windows 7 and even in 8, due to the fact that the way the image is stored for reset in the system has changed and in most cases you do not need a disk or flash drive to perform the described procedure. If for some reason everything described does not work out, you can simply perform a clean install of Windows 10.

Resetting Windows 10 to its original state can come in handy in cases where the system began to work incorrectly or does not even start, and you cannot restore (on this topic: Restoring Windows 10) in another way. At the same time, reinstalling the OS in this way is possible with saving your personal files (but without saving programs). Also, at the end of the instructions, you will find a in which the described is shown clearly. Note: a description of the problems and errors when Windows 10 rolls back to its original state, as well as possible solutions are described in the last section of this article.

Update: In the latest versions of Windows 10, additional methods for resetting the system appeared, including removing all the programs preinstalled by the manufacturer of the computer or laptop. Automatic clean installation of Windows 10, Restoring Windows 10 from the cloud.

Reset Windows 10 in settings from the installed system

The easiest way to reset Windows 10 is to assume that the system starts on your computer. If so, then a few simple steps allow you to perform an automatic reinstall.

  1. Go to Settings (via start and gear icon or WinI keys). Update and security. Recovery.
    Factory Settings Windows 10
  2. In the “Reset Your Computer” section, click “Start.” Note: if during recovery you are informed that there are no necessary files, use the method from the next section of this instruction. Also, an error may appear at this stage: Unable to find recovery environment.
  3. You will be prompted to either save personal files or delete them. Choose your option.
  4. If you select the option to delete files, it will also offer either “Just delete files” or “Completely erase the disk.” I recommend the first option, unless you give the computer or laptop to another person. The second option deletes files without the possibility of their recovery and takes longer.
  5. In the “Everything is ready to return this computer to its original state” window, click “Reset”.
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After that, the process of automatic reinstallation of the system will start, the computer will restart (possibly several times), and after the reset you will get a clean Windows 10. If you selected “Save personal files”, the Windows.Old folder containing the files will also be on the system drive old system (user folders and desktop contents may come in handy there). Just in case: How to delete the Windows.Old folder.

Automatic clean installation of Windows 10 using the “New Start” (Refresh Windows Tool)

In the latest versions of Windows 10, a new function appeared in the recovery options. “New Startup” (formerly called the Refresh Windows Tool), which allows you to perform an automatic clean install or reinstall of Windows 10 with saving files, but with deleting the manufacturer’s preinstalled programs. Using it allows you to perform a reset when the first method does not work and reports errors.

  1. In the recovery options, at the bottom in the Advanced recovery options section, click on Find out how to start over from a clean installation of Windows.
  2. You will be prompted to go to the corresponding page of the Windows 10 Security Center, click Yes.
  3. Click the “Get Started” button in the “New Launch” section.
  4. Check out what exactly is the Start Again function and, if you agree, click Next.
  5. Wait until Windows 10 is reset to factory settings.

Upon completion of the process (which may take a long time and depends on the computer’s performance, the selected parameters and the amount of personal data when saving), you will receive a fully re-installed and functional Windows 10. After entering the system, I recommend also pressing WinR cleanmgr press Enter, and then click on the “Clear system files” button.

With a high probability, when cleaning the hard drive, you can delete up to 20 GB of data left after the system reinstallation process.

How to reset Windows 10 if the system does not start or reset from the settings does not work

In cases where Windows 10 does not start or the reset does not work in the settings, you can try using the manufacturer’s tools or with the recovery environment.

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If Windows 10 does not start, but shows a blue screen with an error, then clicking on the item “Advanced options”, you can get into the recovery environment. If the system starts, but the OS cannot be reset, go to Settings. Update and Security and click the “Restart Now” button in the “Special boot options” section.

After the reboot, go to the “Troubleshooting” section, and then click on the item “Restore the computer to its original state”.

Further, as well as in the first method described, you can:

  1. Save or delete personal files. If you select “Delete” it will also be offered either to completely clean the disk without the possibility of their recovery, or a simple removal. Usually (if you don’t give the laptop to someone), it’s better to use simple deletion.
  2. In the window for selecting the target operating system, select Windows 10.
  3. In the “Reset Computer” window, see what will be done. Uninstalling programs, resetting to default values ​​and automatically reinstalling Windows 10 Click “Reset”.

After that, the process of resetting the system to its original state, during which the computer can restart, will begin.

If licensed Windows 10 was preinstalled on your device upon purchase, then the easiest way to reset it to the factory settings is to use certain keys when you turn on your laptop or computer. Details of how this is done is written in the article How to reset a laptop to factory settings (suitable for branded PCs with a preinstalled OS).


The below shows both ways to start the automatic reinstallation of Windows 10 described in the article.

Windows 10 Factory Reset Errors

The first and simplest methods, if you encounter problems when resetting Windows 10 to the factory settings, consist of the following steps:

  • Make sure there is enough free space on the system partition of the drive (on drive C). Ideally, 10 GB or more.
  • Remove all third-party antiviruses and other protection programs before starting recovery.

If, when you try to reset Windows 10 after a reboot, you see the message “There is a problem returning the PC to its original state. The change has not been made, ”this usually indicates problems with the files necessary for recovery (for example, if you did something with the WinSxS folder, from which the files are reset). You can try checking and restoring the integrity of Windows 10 system files, but more often you have to do a clean installation of Windows 10 (however, you can also save personal data).

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The second variant of the error is that you are asked to insert a recovery disk or installation drive. Then a solution appeared with the function Start again, described in the second section of this manual. Also in this situation, you can make a bootable USB flash drive with Windows 10 (on the current computer or on another one, if this does not start) or a Windows 10 recovery disk with the inclusion of system files. And use it as the required drive. Use the version of Windows 10 with the same bit depth that is installed on the computer.

Another option in the case of the requirement to provide a drive with files is to register your own image for system recovery (for this the OS should work, actions are performed in it). I have not tested this method, but they write that it works (but only for the second case with an error):

  1. You need to download the ISO image of Windows 10 (the second method in the instructions here).
  2. Mount it and copy the file install.Wim from the sources folder to a pre-created folder ResetRecoveryImage on a separate partition or computer disk (not system).
  3. At the command prompt as administrator use the command reagentc / setosimage / path “D: \ ResetRecoveryImage” / index 1 (here D stands as a separate section, you may have a different letter) for registering the recovery image.

After that, try to restart the system reset. By the way, for the future, you can recommend making your own backup of Windows 10, which can greatly simplify the process of rolling back the OS to a previous state.

Well, if you still have questions about reinstalling Windows 10 or returning the system to its original state. Ask. I also recall that for pre-installed systems, there are usually additional ways to reset to factory settings provided by the manufacturer and described in the official instructions.