How to Factory Reset Windows 10 (Bring it to Default in 3 Steps)

How to Factory Reset Windows 10

  • June 22, 2017

Windows 10 can become slow after a while. You may have used up a lot of space and hence your system lacks the space it needs to function as normal. Factory resetting your Windows 10 device should eliminate this problem.

Factory resetting Windows 10 can also come in handy during a 2nd hand sale of your devices. It is not advisable to leave your accounts and personal data in a device that is going to be used somewhere else.

The method that you are going to use to reset your device depends on the type of device in question. Most of the laptops available in the market are compatible with Windows 10 and have it installed in them.

Other devices that support the Windows 10 Operating System include Windows phones, Windows tablets, MacBooks (through emulation, or a total change of the operating system) and much more. Let's have a look at how you can factory reset each of these Windows 10 devices:

Click here for Instructions for Windows 10 Desktop / Laptop

Click here for Instructions for Windows 10 Mobile / Tablet

Factory Resetting Windows 10 PCs

Even though PCs can easily be formatted with a new copy of Windows, resetting the PC may be a better idea in some cases.

You lose your Windows product key once you format your PC. You will need to re-enter it once you finish formatting it. If you have no idea where your product key is, you should not format the computer (unless it is really necessary that is).

Resetting a PC to its factory setting is not that different from the Windows 10 mobile devices. Here are the steps you can take to reset your PC back to its new state:

  • Open settings under your start screen: Windows 10 has made it easy for you to access the settings tab. You can find it right on the start screen by pressing the Windows logo. The symbol is just simplified cog icons.
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  • Click on Update and Security and select the recovery section. The settings pane has also been made easier to navigate. Under update and security, you can easily see the recovery tab from the left side of your screen.
  • Just click on reset and your PC will be reset to how it was as you purchased it... except for the system updates of course.

Pros & Cons of Resetting Windows 10 PCs

Advantages

  • You get to keep pre-installed software from the manufacturers: Unlike formatting the whole operating system, you keep all the goodies that manufacturers prepared for your PC. Some drivers and software can be difficult to get if not from the manufacturers. Why go through the hustle when you can just reset it back to the way it was?
  • Control over user data. You have the power to choose the extent of the data erasure. You can decide to keep a portion of your hard disk untouched (this, however, solely depends on the partitions you have).
  • Fast: If you need to sell your computer ASAP and don't have any time to reformat it, then this is the best option. You can factory reset Windows 10 back to the state it was when new in just a matter of minutes.

Disadvantages

  • Does not work well with infected PCs. Let's say that you have a PC that has been infected by the WannaCry ransomware. There is no way that you can reset your PC. You either pay them the hefty ransom they require from you or just format all the data.
  • Does not allow partitioning. It is somehow important for all of the PC storages to be divided into at least 2 partitions. The 2nd partition keeps important data which you may need after a reset or formatting of the PC. You can make these partitions when you format your PC.
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There is, however, a method on how you can beat this partitioning issue. If you are resetting your PC and want to make an extra partition, you can use disk management to shrink the current partition and create another from the unpartitioned space.

Mobile Phones and Tablets

Mobile devices using the Windows 10 OS rarely become sluggish. When they do, however, deleting some of the bulky files stored in the device should do the trick.

The common reason as to why people result to resetting these devices is password recovery. Sometimes, a person can forget the PIN or password that he/ she had recently changed.

No matter what you may try to do, the only two options you have is clearing your data or guess really hard what your password was. Since you are not planning to spend your whole lifetime trying to remember a password you yourself created, here are the steps to resetting your Windows 10 mobile device:

Hard Resetting a Windows 10 Device After Losing Password

Step 1: Power Off your Device

There is no way to access the settings tab that allows you to reset your phone without your password. You need to do this using the alternative method which boots to recovery. You, therefore, have to switch off the phone and try a few button combinations.

Step 2: Boot to Recovery with Button Combination

All the Windows devices have two or three similar combinations:

1st Combination:
  • Hold the volume down button
  • Press the power button while holding the volume down button for about 3 seconds
  • Once the phone vibrates or shows the phone's logo, release the power button but keep on holding the vol down button
  • An exclamation mark will pop up. As soon as you see it, press vol up, vol down, power button and vol down again sequentially. Remember, you are doing this in the given sequence. Your device will otherwise boot to the system.
  • Wait for the reset to complete.
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2nd Combination:
  • While your device is off, press the vol down button, power button, and the camera button simultaneously.
  • Your device will boot to the exclamation mark. After a while, the device will reset itself automatically. If that is not the case, press vol up, vol down, power button and vol down again sequentially.
  • Wait for the process to complete.
3rd Combination:
  • After your device has fully shut down, press the volume down button.
  • While holding down the volume down button, Plug your device to your charger.
  • The phone will automatically boot with the exclamation mark. Again, press vol up, vol down, power button and vol down again sequentially as soon as you see it.
  • Wait for the reset to complete

As soon as your device boots, all your data, including passwords, should be erased. The only thing left is to do the basic setup that personalizes your device.

Factory Reset Accessible Windows 10 Devices

If you can authenticate your security details on your phone but you still need to reset it, this may be the easiest method yet:

  • Go to Settings: Tap on the Windows logo button (home button) and head to settings.
  • Under settings, Move straight to the lowest part of the tab. You will find an "About" section.
  • Click on about and then tap on "Reset your phone" under it.
  • Your phone should reboot to the same recovery and reset your phone. That is it! As soon as your device reboots, your data should have been erased and the device reset to factory settings.

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