How To 

How to Reset or Refresh Windows 10

In Windows 8, resetting was broken into two parts: resetting and refreshing. Resetting would erase everything, including apps and user data from the hard drive. Refreshing would leave a user’s personal data untouched.

In Windows 10 both Refresh and Reset features are placed under a common label called Reset. When you begin resetting Windows 10, you are prompted to pick one of the two options - whether you want to keep or remove your personal files when the operating system is restored back to factory defaults.

You can reset your PC from within Windows 10 or by starting the computer with Windows 10 bootable media. Both methods are explained below in detail:

Resetting Your Computer from Within Windows 10
    ■After booting your Windows 10 PC, sign-in using an administrator account.
    ■Click the Start button when on the desktop window.
    ■Click Settings from the left pane of the Start menu.

    ■When the SETTINGS window opens, click the Update & security tile.

    ■From the left pane of the UPDATE & SECURITY window, click to select the Recovery category.
    ■From the right pane, from under the Reset this PC section, click Get started.

    ■From the Choose an option box, click Keep my files to refresh your Windows 10 computer, i.e. to reset the OS to factory settings without removing your personal files.
    Note: Alternatively, you can click Remove everything if you wish to reset your PC, i.e. to remove all your personal files while restoring the operating system to the factory settings.

    ■On the Your apps will be removed box, view the list of apps that will be removed during the Windows 10 reset process.
    ■Click Next to continue.

    ■On the Ready to reset this PC box, click the Reset button to begin the Windows 10 reset process.

    ■Wait until your Windows 10 is reset to factory settings and the computer restarts automatically.

Resetting Your Windows 10 Computer Externally
If your Windows 10 computer fails to reset using the above method, you may need to restart it in the ‘Advanced startup’ mode and reset the operating system from there.

You can restart your PC in the ‘Advanced startup’ mode right from within Windows 10 and then reset the operating system while removing or keeping all your personal files. Here’s how:

    ■Follow the above steps from 1 to 5.
    ■From the right pane of the Recovery category, click Restart now from under the Advanced startup section.

    ■Wait until Windows 10 is restarted in the Advanced startup mode.

    ■From the Choose an option window, click Troubleshoot.

    ■On the Troubleshoot window, click Reset this PC.

    ■When the Reset this PC window appears, click the Remove everything option.
    Note: Selecting this option will remove all your personal data from your PC, and Windows 10 will be restored to the factory defaults.
    Note: Alternatively, you can pick the Keep my files option if you want to restore the operating system to the factory settings without removing your personal data.

    ■On the next window, click Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive to reuse the computer or to recycle it respectively.

    ■Follow the on-screen instructions after selecting your preferred reset method.
    ■Wait until your Windows 10 PC resets and then restarts automatically.

Starting Your Windows 10 PC with Bootable Media to Reset
If the Windows 10 PC fails to boot altogether, you must use a bootable media (a DVD or USB drive) to start the computer and reset the operating system externally. Here’s how:

    ■Turn on your computer.
    ■Before the Windows logo appears, use the appropriate keys to enter the BIOS setup.
    Note: Depending on the vendor of your computer or its motherboard, the key or key combination to enter the BIOS may differ. Generally, the correct key(s) are displayed on the screen along with the vendor’s logo as soon as the PC is turned on.
    ■In the BIOS interface, go to the Boot tab.
    ■Use the appropriate keys to make the DVD or USB drive the first boot device.
    Note: Depending on the type of BIOS, the keys to change the boot device order may differ. The instructions on how to do so are present somewhere on the same screen itself.

    ■Once done, insert a Windows 10 bootable DVD in the DVD drive or connect a bootable USB drive to your computer.
    ■Press the F10 key and then press Enter to restart the computer saving the new BIOS settings.

    ■When prompted, press any key on the keyboard to start Windows 10 with the bootable media.
    ■On the first screen, pick your preferred values from the drop-down list (optional), and click Next.

    ■On the next window, click Repair your computer.

    ■When the Choose an option window appears, follow the instructions from step 4 from the Resetting Your Windows 10 Computer Externally section given above to reset your PC with or without removing your personal files.