How to Hard Reset a Computer

If your Windows device is experiencing issues, there are various options to explore before resorting to drastic measures. You can perform diagnostic tests to ensure the health of your hard disk. If the issue arose after a Windows update, you can uninstall the update to see if that resolves the problem.

However, if none of these solutions prove effective, or if you intend to dispose of the device, it might be necessary to reset your PC to its factory settings. This process has the potential to erase your files and current configurations, depending on the chosen options, so it’s essential to back up your files beforehand. Whether you’re using Windows 10 or have upgraded to Windows 11, the steps outlined below are largely identical.

 

Scenarios

Resetting the device addresses several important scenarios:

  • A user may wish to reset a device in order to transfer it to a new owner.
  • An organization may need to reset a device, such as when an employee departs from the organization.
  • In the event of a malfunction, a user may opt to reset the device.
  • An OEM may want to reset the device after completing factory testing, with the option to preserve preloaded map data.

Important Note: Resetting a device does not restore it to its original factory state. For instance, any packages added or modified during an update will remain. To revert the device to its original factory state, it is necessary to flash it with the original factory image.

 

Methods for resetting a desktop PC

If Settings is accessible:

  • Navigate to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > under Reset this PC, click Get started.
  • Choose either Keep my files to repair the PC, or Remove everything to prepare the PC for a new user.

Note: If the device is unresponsive, attempt a restart first.

If Settings is not accessible:

  • Press the power button, then hold down Shift while selecting Restart. This action will open the recovery menu, even if you’re not logged into Windows.
  • Click Troubleshoot.
  • Select either Refresh your PC to repair the PC, or Reset your PC to prepare the PC for another user.

For PCs, there is no built-in method to reset a device remotely. However, it is possible to install third-party tools that enable remote device reset.

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