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How to Reset Windows 10 PC (2021)

Windows 10 is the current flagship operating system by Microsoft. It is one of the most stable and user-friendly operating systems of the new generation.

Microsoft tries to keep things to run smoothly by releasing new updates and patches every month, but these have gained the reputation of being rather buggy.

However, every desktop and laptop today comes with pre-installed  Windows 10 because it is very user-friendly and easy to navigate, and easy to sort out any issues or errors.

Day-to-day tasks can be performed with ease on Windows 10, and the chances of things going astray are minor. But, if things do go wrong, Microsoft has included some neat options in their operating system that can help you get things back on track.

How to Reset your Windows 10 PC (2020)

The ‘reset your PC’ option in Windows 10 is a more convenient way to fix issues rather than reinstalling Windows 10 from scratch. It restores your PC to its default factory settings while either removing only the apps and settings or all the data on the PC. It is up to the user to decide wich option to use.

Windows recovery option

Windows 10 comes with some nifty features that allow the user to reset the operating system to an earlier stage or back to the factory settings when things go wrong.

These are great options when your laptop or desktop starts behaving strangely, or an installed update or software has encountered an error that is causing your system to crash.

Windows 10 allows the user to pick  few recovery options from its recovery menu. To get to the recovery menu:

  1. 1
    Click on the Start Menu
  2. 2
    Select “Settings”
  3. 3
    Click on “Update & Security”
  4. 4
    On the left-hand side, click on Recovery.

The three options you get here are:

  • Reset this PC
  • Go back to a previous version of Windows 10
  • Advanced Startup

Reset this PC

  1. 1
    Under ‘Reset this PC’ click on Get Started.

Here you will see two options:

  • Keep my flies

What does each option do?

  • Keep my files: If you select to keep your files, then Windows will remove all installed apps and settings. It will not remove or delete any personal data you have on your device. This will basically reset your device as it was when you first started it. After it is completed, you should have all your personal data but your PC will act brand new.
  • Remove everything: This will not only remove installed apps and settings, but it will also remove all of your data. This is great if you have a backup of all the files that are currently on your hard drive. This option is mostly used when people are getting ready to sell their old devices or planning to upgrade them to the latest OS.
Reset this PC

Once you have made your selection, then Windows 10 will give you a chance to re-evaluate the situation and will ask you if you wish to go ahead. The process will take time depending on how much you have altered your PC since you got it. Your computer should begin the reset process after which it will restart and boot back up. You will notice that your PC will look like it did on day one when you first booted it up.

If you selected to keep your files, then they should be unharmed and right where you left them. If you select to delete your files then your entire PC will look brand new. You should also see a difference in performance as all the apps and software you had installed are now gone.

This is how you reset your PC from within Windows 10. But, if you are unable to access the recovery options from your settings, then there is another way.

4 Ways to Reset a Windows 10 PC

Reset your PC from boot

If you have installed some application or software that is preventing your PC from starting up properly, you might have to reset your PC. But, how do you reset your PC if you cannot log in?

Thankfully Microsoft realized this while designing Windows 10. They included the option to reset your PC or make changes during the booting phase.

To access this menu, you will need to turn off or restart your PC before you see the logo when your PC restarts, rapidly hitting the F8 key. In some cases, you might have to use a combination of the function key ‘fn’+F8 to get this working.

Once you time it perfectly you will see a new screen where you will have a few options.

  • Continue: This will let you go back to the normal boot screen, and it will load Windows 10, just like normal.
  • Use a device: This will allow you to boot Windows 10 from a USB stick or via a recovery DVD
  • Use another operating system: if you have two versions of Windows installed on your PC then you can select which one you would like to go ahead with.
  • Troubleshoot: This lets you select options such as reset this PC as well as show you other recovery options.
  • Turn off your PC: This option will instantly shut down your PC.

From here you will need to click on “Troubleshoot” as there you will find the option to reset your PC. When you click on it, you will see two options.

  • Reset this PC
  • Advanced options

Reset This PC

Just like how you do it after logging in from within Windows 10, here as well you will be given two options. You can keep your files, or you can remove everything.

Keeping your files will remove all the apps that were not part of the default setup of your PC. All the apps and software that you downloaded since you first bought your PC will be removed. Every setting that you changed will be restored back to the factory defaults. Your personal files will be there, but everything else will be restored to the normal factory defaults.

Remove everything option will delete all the files on your PC, including all your personal data. This is best done when you have a backup of everything that is on your PC and would like to have a clean format.

Advanced Options

Instead of clicking on “Reset this PC” if you select “Advanced Options” then you will see some alternate options for fixing your PC.

  • System Restore: Windows 10 has the ability to create a system restore point. This system restore point gives the user the ability to restore the PC to a point when Windows was functioning properly. But for this, the user will have to first create a system restore point.
  • System Image Recovery: This is just like the previous option system restore point.  This option gives you the ability to restore Windows to a working condition using a system image file. This image file could be on a DVD, CD, or an image file on your PC.
  • Startup repair: If you’re stuck on the boot screen and Windows doesn’t seem to load no matter how long you wait; then this option is for you. This will diagnose your PC and find any issues or errors might occur while loading Windows. This may take a very long time to process and finish.
  • Command Prompt: This should only be done by professionals who know what they are doing. This allows the user to manually check any issue or error on the main drive of the PC.
  • Go back to the previous version: This helps you go back to a previous version of Windows 10 if an update caused an issue with your PC.


Windows 10 is very user-friendly and gives the user a plethora of options to repair their Windows when something goes wrong. It’s best to know exactly what you install on your PC and note when it starts to act differently. This way, you can easily retrace your steps and find the culprit software or app that caused the issue.


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About the Author

Piyush Kashyap is a Ph.D student at Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur. He is a budding editor/ writer and has been working as a part-time reviewer for online content. He loves to read tech-based articles and has a knack for reviewing such articles He likes to stay updated about the latest trends in technology. He has also been working as a reviewer for many scientific journals. He also writes articles based on science. Know More About Piyush

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