Sometimes, there is just too much work needed to get your PC into good shape. If you’re having various issues and your PC is starting to run slow and sluggish, it might be a good time to perform a factory reset on Windows 10 or 11. With a factory reset, you can bring your computer back to its initial state right after Windows was installed, deleting all other non-essential files and hopefully making your PC perform normally again. 

The factory reset is similar to formatting your disk entirely, but allows you to keep your operating system without having to re-install it. It’s a handy option if you want to start over with your PC, and don’t mind losing all the other files located on your drive. But the best part is that it’s extremely easy to do yourself! You won’t need to pay a computer technician to do it for you.

Without further introductions, here’s how to perform a factory reset on Windows 10 and Windows 11 step-by-step:

Performing a Factory Reset in Windows 10

Let’s start with Windows 10. The process is the same for all editions of Windows 10, including Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Home editions.

The first thing to do is open the Settings menu - you can do it by navigating to your Start menu, located in the bottom left corner of your screen on the Taskbar. Once you open the Start menu, you’ll find a little gear button on the left. Click it to open Settings. 

Enter the Update & Security menu on the Settings window. From there, access the Recover submenu located on the side panel on the left. The first option from the top will say Reset this PC - click “Get started” to process the factory reset.

After clicking on the button, a window will open asking you whether you want to keep your personal files, or remove everything altogether, including all personal files, applications, and settings. Once you choose, you will be asked again how you would like to reinstall your Windows system. You can either download the system from the Cloud (which can use more than 4 GB of data, so be careful if you’re on a data cap) or use a local Windows copy located on a CD or a USB flash drive. Once you’re satisfied with your choices, click Next. 

One final prompt will ask you whether you want to perform a factory reset or cancel. To perform the reset, click Reset. This will start the factory reset process, which can take some time to complete. The computer will restart itself multiple times during the process - this is normal behaviour, and you should not interrupt it in any way. Don’t turn off the power until the factory reset is finished.

Keep in mind that the factory reset will also reset all the settings to default and turn off the BitLocker drive encryption function, so you will have to manually change the settings again once the factory reset is complete.

How to perform a Factory Reset on Windows 11?

Let’s now cover how to do a Factory Reset on Windows 11. 

The process is more or less the same as with Windows 10. Start by navigating to the Settings menu the same way it was done on Windows 10 - if the icon is not pinned to the Start menu, you can use the Search feature to find them. 

Once you’re in the Settings menu, go to the System category on the side panel on the left. From there, access the Recovery submenu - scroll down if you can’t see it. In the Recovery menu, you’ll find a Reset this PC option, and a Reset PC button - click that button to proceed with the factory reset of your Windows 11 copy.

The same window will pop up as in Windows 10, asking you to choose whether you want to keep your personal files, or remove everything. You’ll also be asked to choose whether you want to use a cloud download or perform a local reinstallation from this device. Once you’re satisfied with the settings, click Next and then reset. 

The factory reset will continue to proceed on its own from this point - you’ll see a progress percentage to let you know how much is left. Your PC will restart itself a couple of times during the process. Once again - do not disrupt this process or turn off the power while your Windows 11 is performing a factory reset. This could potentially lead to some of the system files becoming corrupt, and fixing your PC at that point will require a little more knowledge.

What to do after a Factory Reset?

Congratulations! You have just performed a factory reset on your own!

Now all that’s left to do is to install all your favourite apps and software back on your PC. This might take some time, but your PC should perform much better now that it’s been cleared of all clutter and unnecessary files. If it isn’t, there might be additional issues with your PC that will need resolving.

The first thing you should do after resetting your PC is download essential drivers one more time. Usually, your system should do it on its own - just make sure that automatic updates are enabled, or check manually for updates and choose which ones to download. If your system didn’t download any of the drivers for some reason, download it manually from the manufacturer’s website, or use an app like Driver Booster to do it for you.