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reset a Windows PC, laptop or tablet

How to factory reset a Windows PC, laptop or tablet

A Windows factory reset is an easy solution for many problems that Windows PCs, laptops, and tablets face. If your computer is running slow or is infected with malware a factory reset can help get your Windows device running properly.

reset a Windows PC, laptop or tablet

Restoring your Windows computer or tablet can be very useful for a number of reasons. Perhaps you have had lingering issues with malware or your computer’s performance has decreased. Removing everything from your computer including your files, programs, passwords, and sensitive data can be a way to permanently get rid of a threat. A factory reset is also useful for people who are selling their computers or tablets. It can remove your personal settings and other data.

Also see: How to remove everything and reinstall Windows

This page explains how to reset a Windows PC, laptop, or tablet to factory settings. The process will be different depending on which version of the operating system you use, so we’ve divided the instructions on guide accordingly.

Remember – backup your files first!

How to factory reset a Windows 10 computer or tablet

It is very easy to reset a Microsoft Windows 10 PC, laptop, or tablet to factory settings, thanks to a built-in tool for setting the operating system.

  1. Open the Start Menu and select Settings (the cog wheel). Type “reset” in the search bar and select Reset this PC in the list of results.
  2. Under the Recovery section of Update & Security you can click Get started to begin the recovery process process. You will be able to choose if you would like to keep your files or remove everything.

Also see: How to recover Windows 10 & How to refresh or reset Windows 10

How to reset a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer

A Windows 7 or Windows 8 factory reset is different than Windows 10, because there is no universal reset tool built into the operating system like with Windows 10. It all depends on the manufacturer and model of the computer.

Some Windows 7 and 8 computers come with recovery discs that you can insert into the disc drive and follow the instructions.

Windows 8 computers will oftentimes come with their own recovery program which is launched from the operating system, rather than using a disc.

Most PCs or laptops have a hidden recovery partition that safely stores a complete copy of Windows, drivers and programs. The recovery partition can be used to recover your computer to factory settings.

  1. Start or reboot your computer to reach the manufacture’s boot screen.
  2. When you reach the manufacture’s screen after the computer starts hit the appropriate F key or key combination (listed below) to access your reset options.
  3. Select the option you want to use to factory reset your Windows computer. Each computer manufacturer is different so we cannot give you exact details on the process. The reset should take around 30 minutes to complete. It can take much longer.
Manufacturer Reset Key
Acer Alt + F10
Asus F9
Dell/Alienware F8
HP F11
Lenovo F11
MSI F3
Samsung F4
Sony F10
Toshiba 0 (not numpad) while turning on, release key when Toshiba logo appears

If these keys don’t work then look out for a message in the screen during startup which might indicate how to start the recovery process.

Also see: How to refresh or reset Windows 8

Lead Editor

Jared Harrison is an accomplished tech author and entrepreneur, bringing forth over 20 years of extensive expertise in cybersecurity, privacy, malware, Google Analytics, online marketing, and various other tech domains. He has made significant contributions to the industry and has been featured in multiple esteemed publications. Jared is widely recognized for his keen intellect and innovative insights, earning him a reputation as a respected figure in the tech community.

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