Is your PC not working properly, has it become too slow, or do you just want to give it up? Return Windows to its original state to find your computer like the first day!

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Restoring a PC to the factory state is the operation which consists in putting it back exactly as it was on the first day, that is to say to new, with only Windows and the software installed by default. This reset – also called a reset – is useful in certain situations. This is especially the case when the computer becomes appallingly slow, because over time it has become cluttered with countless files (system updates and installed software, programs no longer needed, temporary files resulting from Internet browsing , personal documents, etc.) and that traditional cleaning techniques are not sufficient to restore vigor. This is also the case when Windows is “damaged” (or corrupted), when it no longer works correctly, and repair attempts have no effect. And this is still the case when you want to give or sell a PC that you no longer use, making sure to leave no personal data. In any case, the goal is the same: to find the computer in the exact state it was in when it was turned on for the first time!


What to know before starting a PC restore

Let’s start on a positive note: Contrary to what one might think at first glance, resetting a computer to factory state is within everyone’s reach. Most of the time, the operation starts with a few clicks and you just have to wait for the procedure to take place automatically, usually in less than an hour for a simple reinstallation. If the PC manufacturer preinstalled software, you may be asked if you want to install it as well. If in doubt, answer yes for a full reset. Or take your pick from the list if you feel more comfortable. Obviously, if you reset your PC for your own use, it will take longer to reconfigure it and reinstall any software that has been removed.

Visit the PC manufacturer’s website

Before embarking on the adventure, go to the website of the manufacturer of your computer, in the Support or Assistance section. Indicate precisely the model and part number of your computer (often written on a label under the computer) to obtain all the information concerning your PC. Additional tools are often offered. And sometimes it is even possible to download the original version of Windows that came with your PC (Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10, depending on how old it is), along with the necessary device drivers. Copy this installation procedure and the associated files onto a USB key (plan for at least 8 GB of capacity) which you will then connect to the PC to be reset: all you have to do is follow the instructions to reinstall everything.

Back up data from all Windows accounts

Back up your important data before starting the reset, even if the system promises you (depending on the options) not to touch it. Factory reset removes everything. If you’ve created multiple user accounts in Windows – one for each family member, for example – don’t forget to back up the files for each of those accounts!

If the computer is a laptop PC, you must plug it into the outlet before starting reinstallation. And never interrupt an installation if Windows doesn’t offer it to you.

Prepare for reinstallation and updates

Of course, if your computer was three years old, restoring it to its original state means that the version of Windows that is reinstalled is also three years old! And if the PC you bought was running Windows 7 or 8 and you upgraded it to Windows 10… then all these steps will have to be started over!

In all cases, you will then have to download and install all the Windows updates that have appeared since the purchase of the PC, as well as the updates to the apps and drivers preinstalled by the manufacturer. As soon as your PC connects to the Internet, it will present you with the updates itself. We will have to accept them all and be patient.

Then you will have to reinstall all your software and your games, so also find the product keys, licenses and other serial numbers to be able to reuse your paid apps. And re-parameterize those that deserve to be, like your email software. And finally recopy your data and files that you had taken care to save. It is therefore a heavy and time consuming operation.

Anyway, it gets better saying it, you won’t need to buy back a Windows license or find any installation key for it. Windows activation should be automatic.

Restore a PC with the manufacturer’s installation CD-DVD

Si le constructeur de l’ordinateur vous a fourni un CD ou un DVD de restauration de Windows, insérez la galette dans le lecteur-graveur. Chaque fabricant ayant sa propre procédure, il nous est impossible d’être précis. Au redémarrage de l’ordinateur, l’écran affichera automatiquement un menu qui vous permettra de lancer la réinstallation complète de Windows, ainsi que des applications et pilotes de périphériques préinstallés par le constructeur.

Restore a PC without an installation CD-DVD

Today, most computers no longer carry DVD player-recorders, especially when it comes to laptops. Manufacturers therefore no longer provide removable physical media. However, rest assured, Microsoft and the manufacturers have provided a solution to get your computer back on track without DVD, with a clean Windows and all the software and hardware drivers preinstalled by the manufacturer.

The installation files are actually stored in a hidden partition of the primary – or single – drive of the PC. In the ideal case, everything is therefore already present on your computer to refurbish it, you will not need anything other than your PC. However, if this partition has been deleted or corrupted, you will have to turn to another solution.

Reset a PC when Windows is in use

If you can still navigate Windows 10, go to the reset options.

  • Click the Start button at the bottom left of the screen, click Settings, then Update & Security, and finally, in the left column, click Recovery.
  • Under the Reset this PC section, click the Get started button.
  • Windows 10 offers two options: Keep your files, so uniquely remove applications and settings, or Remove everything, which erases absolutely everything, including your personal files. It is this second option that must be selected for a complete reset, in particular if you wish to reinstall Windows “as new” after a computer virus attack. Ditto if you plan to give the computer to someone else. Everything that will be erased here (your files, your photos, etc.) cannot in principle be recovered.
  • Since you’ve chosen to Remove All, Windows 10 will display an Additional Settings window showing you one or two predefined choices, which you can change by clicking the Change settings link. Do it…
  • You are now at the Choose Settings screen. When you delete a file, the system usually just removes its name from a lookup table, but the content itself is not immediately deleted, so sometimes it can be recovered with special software. If you are going to sell or give away your PC, to prevent the new acquirer from recovering your deleted data, under Data Erase, click the switch so it says On. Windows will overwrite the data to make it very difficult to recover, but it may take several hours. Activate this option only when really necessary.
  • You may not be familiar with the term: Windows calls internal or external storage media (such as a hard drive or USB memory stick) drives or data drives. If your computer has two built-in drives, for example an ultra-fast SSD drive on which Windows is installed (drive C :), and a hard drive designed to store your apps and your data (drive D :), specify under the Drives section. data if you want to reset all drives or just the one where Windows is located. For a full reset, click the switch to indicate On, which will delete data on all drives.
  • After confirming your choices, start the reset and wait.

Reset a PC to factory condition when Windows does not start

To access the Windows Recovery Partition when the PC starts up, try turning the computer on and off three times in a row. Windows will then present you with its recovery options. To restart three times:

  • Press the Power button to turn the PC back on.
  • As soon as the PC starts to start (after the display of the manufacturer’s logo and / or the emission of a beep), press and hold the On-Off button for ten seconds to switch off the machine again.
  • Press the same power button again to turn the computer back on.
  • Press the Power button again to turn on the computer.
  • When the PC restarts, press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
  • Another possible method to access the Windows recovery environment, at least on older PC models: pressing a function key when starting the PC, before Windows starts.

Acer : Alt + F10 ou Alt Gr + F10
Asus : F9
Compaq : F10 ou F11
Dell : Ctrl + F11
eMachines : Alt + F10 ou Ctrl + F10
Fujitsu : F8
HP : F10 ou F11
Lenovo : touche OneKey Rescue ou F11
Medion : F11
Nec : F10 ou Alt + F11
MSI : F3
Packard Bell : F10 ou F11
Samsung : F4
Sony : F10
Toshiba : F8

  • Regardless of the method, once you have entered the Windows recovery environment, the first screen prompts you to Choose an option. Click Troubleshoot (or, if there is no mouse, use the keyboard arrow keys and Enter key to select this option).
  • Windows may ask you to choose a user account from which to launch the procedure, select one and enter its password. It must be an Administrator account (Start menu> Settings> Accounts, Family and other users).
  • On the next screen, Troubleshoot, select Reset this PC. With some manufacturers like Dell, you might see an option like Dell Factory Image Restore or Default Image Restore. The image the builder is talking about here is not a drawing or a photo! This is the exact replica of the hard drive when you first turned on the computer. That is, what you are looking for. In this case, choose this option.
  • For a full reset, then select Remove All.
  • If you sell or give away your computer and are concerned that the new user may retrieve sensitive data from it, even after a simple erase, select Clean drive completely. But the operation may take several hours. Otherwise, choose Just delete my files. All files will be deleted.
  • Windows 10 still gives you one last chance to quit. If you confirm by pressing the Reset button, do not turn off your computer. If it’s a laptop PC, leave it plugged into the power outlet. And be patient.

Completely reinstall Windows

None of the above methods work? Rest assured, all is not lost. There are, indeed, several other ways to reinstall Windows on a PC.

  • You can thus use the “zero restart” of Windows 10. To do this, click on the Start menu, then on Settings. Open the Update & Security section, choose Recovery from the left column, and then select More recovery options from the right side of the window.
  • You can also create a bootable USB stick for free and easily with the dedicated Microsoft tool, which will allow you to download a full and official version of Windows – if needed on another computer. All you have to do then is plug this key into your PC to automatically start the installation process.

How to reset computer to factory settings windows 7

To perform a hard reset of your computer, you can install Windows 7 again on your computer.

The steps to install Windows 7 are:

  1. Insert the CD or DVD in the disc tray
  2. Boot the computer
  3. At the Install Windows screen, select a language, time and keyboard
  4. Click Next
  5. Click Install Now
  6. Accept the license terms by clicking the “I accept the license terms” checkbox
  7. Click Next
  8. Select Custom (advanced) at the “Which type of installation do you want?” question screen
  9. Follow the instructions to install Windows 7

How to reset computer to factory settings windows 10

Follow the directions below to perform a factory reset in Windows 10, and (hopefully) get your computer running smoothly again.

  1. Click the Start Menu and select the gear icon in the lower left to open up the Settings window. You can also select the Settings app from the app list. Under Settings, click Update & Security to continue.
  2. Click the Recovery tab and select Get started under Reset this PC. If you’re looking to recover your instance of Windows 10 from an external source, you may want to look into a Recovery Drive
  3. If you choose Keep my files, apps and settings will default to what they were when the PC was brand new. This setting can be turned off by clicking the Change settings link and switching it off. If you choose Remove everything, there’s also a way to remove your personal files while saving apps and settings. Click the Change settings link and toggle the Data erasure option to on.
  4. Once you decide what should be removed from the computer, hit Next and Windows will tell you what will be deleted before you make a final decision. If you selected Keep my files, you can look at a list of apps that will be removed with the reset.