How to Factory Reset Windows 10

September 19, 2023 • Zachary Amos


Windows has long been the OS of choice for most of the computer market. While Windows has many safeguards and maintenance programs, there are unlikely times when those failsafes can’t solve the problem. When that happens, it’s good for you to know how to factory reset Windows 10.

What is a Factory Reset?

There are many ways to improve Windows 10, but sometimes messing around with essential programs can lead to bigger problems that can’t be fixed easily. If that is the case, you might consider doing a factory reset.

First, it’s important for users to know what a factory reset is and what it does. A factory reset is basically setting your computer’s OS back to its default settings. 

This means factory resets are different from just turning a device on and off again. If your OS undergoes a factory reset, everything you’ve stored on the computer will be erased, with no way to get it back. 

For this reason, undergoing a factory reset is a last resort if no other solution works. It will wipe the entire operating system clean, usually solving any problem.

Resetting Windows 10

Because doing a factory reset will cause you to lose everything you’ve stored in your computer, it’s better to try other methods first to see if you can fix the issue another way. Resetting Windows 10 has almost the same effect as a factory reset, but you have the option to back up your data.

You can reset Windows 10 from your computer’s start menu.

  • Go to your Start menu
  • Go to Settings
  • Go to Update & Security
  • There should be an option for recovery
  • Click Reset this PC
  • Click Get Started

After clicking the “get started” button, there should be an option to keep your files. This will allow you to create a backup of your data and personal settings. If you don’t make a backup, you will lose all of your data with no way to recover it.

You can choose which files and apps you want to save, so make sure you choose everything you want to keep. If you’re resetting your OS because something has gone wrong with your programs, saving only the essential files might be a good idea.

Performing a Factory Reset on Windows 10

Learning how to factory reset Windows 10 is similar to resetting your PC. You would follow the same steps to perform a regular reset after you access the home menu. However, instead of choosing to keep any files you might want, you’ll choose “remove everything.” 

Choosing this option will remove all of the files on your PC and you won’t be able to get them back again. However, if you tried other methods and a normal reset didn’t fix the problem, you might have no choice but to do a complete factory reset. 

This is especially true if you know a program is causing the problem but are unsure which one it is. Even if you do a normal reset, the problematic program might carry over to the fresh PC — and you’ll continue to have problems. That is why trying other methods to fix the problem is essential.

Booting Up Safe Mode in Windows 10

Before doing a factory reset on your computer, try using safe mode to fix the problem. Safe mode is a feature in every Windows OS as a debugging or maintenance mode. It starts the OS only running the most basic programs it needs to and nothing else. 

Usually, this means only the essential programs that Windows shipped with, not those you downloaded onto your PC. If the problem was a program downloaded or installed from an outside source, you should have no problem starting the computer in safe mode.

There are two ways to start safe mode on your computer. Using the start menu is similar to following the instructions for resetting your computer. However, after you click recovery, you will click “restart now” instead of reset. 

Your computer will restart to a blue screen asking you to “choose an option.” Click “troubleshoot” and then “advanced options” after that. Click on “startup settings”. After that, click “safe mode” or “safe mode with networking.” Safe mode with networking will allow you limited access to the internet.

If your computer is having problems starting, you can get back into your system by accessing safe mode in two different ways. First, you will have to restart your computer. Then at the sign-in screen, hold the shift key while clicking on the power button on the right side of the screen

This should take you to the blue “choose an option screen.” From there, follow the instructions to start the system in safe mode. 

The third and final way to get your computer into safe mode is by forcing the restart process. Windows 10 automatically boots in safe mode if it fails to start three times — entering an “automatic repair” mode. There are ways to force the computer to start in this mode.

First, turn off your computer. Then, turn the computer back on and immediately press and hold the power button again. This will interrupt the startup process. Repeat these steps three times and then turn on the computer. It should start up in automatic repair mode.

Using Command Prompt to Troubleshoot

From there, your computer should be in safe mode. You can then begin searching for the problematic program. Open the command prompt from the home menu. If you can’t find it, use the search bar and type in “command prompt.”

Right-click on the command prompt and click “run as administrator.” Once you open the command prompt, you will need to enter commands. To scan your PC, type sfc /scannow. This will scan the PC for any threat actors or problems in the system. It could take a while, but you’ll have a better understanding of what the problem is.

Use Factory Reset to Restore Your PC

Learning how to factory reset Windows 10 is essential to performing maintenance on your PC. However, it should only be used as a last resort since you can lose your personal data and apps. Try other methods like scanning your computer and using safe mode to find the problem before wiping your PC clean.