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(Pocket-lint) - If you're running into problems with Windows, need a fresh start to remove bloatware that's slowing your PC down or want to clean up your PC or laptop for privacy reasons then a factory reset might be the easiest option. 

A factory reset might seem like a drastic move, but it'll also speed up your machine and hopefully remove any issues you were encountering with a fresh and clean install of Windows. 

If you're concerned about losing your files there's good news as Windows has an option to keep your personal files while resetting everything else.

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It still pays to back things up separately though, so grab yourself a good external SSD and save your most important files, photos and videos before you start! 

Pocket-lint How to factory reset a Windows PC or laptop photo 2

How to factory reset with Windows

The steps for factory resetting a Windows machine are basically the same whether you're running Windows 10 or Windows 11. Just follow these steps to get started:

  1. Press the start menu button or the Windows key on your keyboard
  2. Type Reset
  3. Click on the option of "Reset this PC" which appears there
  4. A window should pop up with recovery options
  5. Click "reset PC" or "Get started"
  6. You'll then be able to choose between "keep my files" and "remove everything"
  7. Select one and then follow the other options
  8. You can then choose to download and re-install Windows (a good idea if you're having issues) or to reinstall locally
  9. Then select to continue

It can take some time for the reset process to work. Longer if you've chosen to download and re-install Windows from the cloud. We find it's worth choosing this option though as it ensures you have the latest updates and a stable version of Windows. 

Once complete your machine will reboot with a brand new copy of Windows running. You'll then need to download all the software you usually use, check for Windows Updates and install the latest graphics drivers to ensure you have the best experience. 

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Writing by Adrian Willings.
Sections Microsoft Laptops