[RESET PC] Your PC is no longer working properly, it has become too slow or you want to completely reset it before giving it away? Restore Windows to its original state to get your computer back to its newest day!

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Your PC is no longer working properly, it has become too slow or you want to completely reset it before giving it away? Restore Windows to its original state to find your computer like the first day!

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

Let’s start on a positive note: Contrary to what one might think at first glance, factory resetting a computer 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 had pre-installed software, you may be asked if you want to install it too. If in doubt, answer yes for a full reset. Or choose from the list if you feel more comfortable. Of course, if you reset your PC for your own use, it takes more time to reconfigure it and reinstall any software that has been removed.

Check the PC manufacturer’s website

Before embarking on the adventure, go to the website of your computer manufacturer, in the Support or Assistance section. Indicate precisely the model and the reference of your computer (often registered on a label under the computer) to obtain all the information concerning your PC. Additional tools are often offered. And sometimes you can even 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 (provide at least 8 GB of capacity) which you will then plug into the PC to be reset: all you have to do is follow the instructions to reinstall everything.

Backup data for 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 deletes everything. If you’ve created multiple user accounts in Windows – one for each family member, for example – don’t forget to back up files from each of those accounts!

If the computer is a laptop, you must plug it into the power outlet before starting a reinstallation. And never interrupt an installation if Windows does not offer it to you.

Prepare for reinstallation and updates

Of course, if your computer is three years old, restoring it to its original state means that the version of Windows that is reinstalling 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 of these steps will have to be started over!

In any case, you will then need to download and install all Windows updates that have appeared since you purchased the PC, as well as updates for apps and drivers preinstalled by the manufacturer. As soon as your PC connects to the Internet, it will automatically present you with the updates to launch. You will have to accept them all and wait.

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

In any case, it’s better by saying it, you won’t need to buy a Windows license or find any installation key for it. Windows activation should be automatic.

If the computer manufacturer provided you with a Windows Recovery CD or DVD, insert the disk into the CD-ROM drive. Each manufacturer having its own procedure, it is impossible for us to be precise. When the computer restarts, the screen will automatically display a menu that will allow you to start the complete reinstallation of Windows, as well as applications and device drivers preinstalled by the manufacturer.

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

Installation files are actually stored in a hidden partition of the main – or only – disk of the PC. In the ideal case, everything is already present on your computer to refurbish it, you will not need anything other than your PC. On the other hand, if this partition has been deleted or corrupted, you will have to turn to another solution.

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

  • Click, at the bottom left of the screen, on the Start button, then on Settings, then on Update and Security >, and finally, in the left column, on Recovery.
  • Under the Reset this PC section, click the Get Started button.

  • Windows 10 offers two options: Keep Your Files, so only remove apps and settings, or Remove Everything, which erases absolutely everything, including your personal files . It is this second option that should be selected for a complete reset, especially if you want to reinstall Windows “fresh” following the attack of a computer virus. 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 chose to Delete everything, Windows 10 displays an Settings Additional window showing you one or two predefined choices, which you can change by clicking the link < strong>Edit Settings. 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 isn’t immediately erased, so it’s sometimes possible to recover it with special software. If you plan to sell or give away your PC, to prevent the new buyer from recovering your deleted data, under Data Wipe, click the switch so that it says Enabled . Windows will overwrite the data to make it very difficult to recover, but it may take several hours. Enable this option only when absolutely necessary.

  • The term may not be familiar to you: 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 integrated drives, for example an ultra-fast SSD disk on which Windows is installed (disk C:), and a hard disk intended to store your apps and your data (disk D:), specify under the section Data drives if you want to reset all drives or just the one where Windows is located. For a full reset, click the switch so that it says Enabled, which will erase data on all disks.

  • After confirming your choices, initiate the reset and wait.

To access the Windows recovery partition when starting the PC, try turning the computer on and off three times in a row. Windows will then present you with its recovery options. To reboot 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 about ten seconds to switch off the machine again.
  • Press the same Power button again to turn the computer back on.
  • When the PC restarts, press and hold the Power button for 10 seconds to turn off your device.
  • Press the Power button again to turn the computer back on.
  • This third time, let the PC restart completely. On startup, the operating system should display the Windows Recovery Environment.
  • 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+F10orAlt Gr+F10
Asus: F9
Compaq: F10 or F11
Dell: Ctrl+F11
eMachines: Alt + F10 or Ctrl + F10
Fujitsu: F8
HP: F10 or F11
Lenovo: OneKey Rescue or F11
Medion: F11
Nec: F10 or Alt + F11
Packard Bell: F10 or F11
Sony: F10
Toshiba: F8

  • Regardless of the method, once in the Windows recovery environment, the first screen offers you to Choose an option. Click on Troubleshoot (or, if you don’t have a mouse, use the keyboard arrow keys and the Enter key to select this option).

  • Windows may ask you to choose a user account from which to launch the procedure, select one and provide its password. It must be an Administrator account (Start menu > Settings > Accounts, Family and other users< /strong>).

  • At the next screen, Troubleshoot, select Reset this PC. With some manufacturers like Dell, you may see an option like Restore Dell Factory Image or Restore Default Image. 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. Choose this option in this case.

  • For a full reset, then select Delete All.

  • If you are selling or giving away your computer and are concerned that the new user might recover sensitive data from it, even after a simple wipe, select Fully clean drive. 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 abort the operation. If you confirm by pressing the Reset button, do not turn off your computer. If it’s a laptop, leave it plugged into the power outlet. And wait.

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

  • You can thus use the “fresh start” of Windows 10. To do this, click on the Start menu, then on Settings. Open Update & Security, choose Recovery from the left column, then select Other Recovery Options from the right part of the window.
  • You can also easily and free create a bootable USB key with Microsoft’s dedicated tool, which will allow you to download a full and official version of Windows – if needed on another computer. Then just plug this key into your PC to automatically start the installation process – see our how-to sheet on this topic.

Trouble resetting your PC? Discuss it in our forums

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