How to Reset Windows 10 & Get a Clean Install
You should reset Windows 10 and get a clean install of Windows if something goes wrong with your PC. Use this tutorial to learn how to do that.
Learning how to reset Windows 10 and get a clean install is essential because a reset fixes almost anything. When you reset a PC, you’re deleting everything on its drive and replacing it with a fresh copy of Windows. The best way to get rid of a virus is a reset. A reset is also the best way to prepare your PC for a new owner and go back to a stable version of Windows when you leave Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program.
Here’s how to reset Windows 10 and get a clean install of your operating system.
How to Reset Windows 10 & Get a Clean Install
- How to Reset Windows 10 from the Settings App
- How to Reset Windows 10 from Boot
- How to Reset Windows 10 from a Flash Drive for a Clean Install
How to Reset Windows 10 from the Settings App
If you can log into Windows on your PC and aren’t in the Windows Insider Program, the best way to reset Windows 10 is the Settings app.
Press the Start key on your keyboard or the Start button at the bottom-left corner of your screen.
Tap or click on the Settings gear in the bottom-left corner of the Start Menu just above the Power button.
Tap or click on Update & Security in the Settings app.
Now, tap or click on Recovery in the menu on the left side of your screen. It’s the fifth menu option on the left side of the Settings app.
Tap or click Get Started under Reset This PC.
You have two options to choose from. Select Remove Everything will delete every photo, video, song, app and Microsoft Account from your PC. Only click this option if you want to delete everything on your PC. Otherwise, choose keep my files and Windows 10 will keep your stuff exactly where it is.
Finally, you must decide how thoroughly you want your drive cleaned. If you want to reset Windows 10 because your device is having performance issues, choose Just remove my files. The reset will go faster, and you will have a clean install of Windows 10 once it’s done.
Select Remove files and clean the drive if you are selling your Windows 10 PC. This could take hours, but it makes it impossible for someone to recover any of your files from your PC’s storage.
Your PC will immediately scan your device and prepare to reset. Again, this process can take hours, so plan on leaving your PC alone for a while. Do not unplug your device until you see the Windows 10 setup wizard or hear your PC say “Hey, I’m Cortana.”
How to Reset Windows 10 from the Boot Screen
When your PC won’t restart, you need to reset Windows 10 from the boot screen. This isn’t as easy as resetting from the Settings app, so only use this method if you must.
Some Windows 10 PCs have recovery files hidden on them. You can use these files to reset Windows 10 from the boot screen without needing to use a flash drive or a restore DVD.
Open the Advanced Startup area. Unfortunately, how you do this is specific to your PC. For some devices, this is as simple as pressing the F10 key as your PC starts. Other devices make this more complicated. If you don’t know the combination for your device, search your PC maker’s support website for “how to get into Advanced Startup.” Your PC will automatically bring you to this screen if it fails to start three times.
Select Reset This PC.
Follow the on-screen prompts to reset Windows 10 and get a clean install. Remember, don’t unplug your device until the reset finishes.
How to Reset Windows 10 from a USB Drive for a Clean Install
If you are having trouble getting to the Advanced Startup area, you can use recovery files loaded on a flash drive to force the screen open. This is the best option for anyone who was a member of the Windows Insider Program.
For this to work, you must have recovery media. You can create your own using the recovery tools your PC maker left your device, or download the files you need online from your PC’s support website. PC makers charge around $50 if they have to ship you a flash drive loaded with recovery files.
Load your recovery media. If it’s a flash drive, connect that drive to one of your PC’s USB ports. If it’s a DVD, load that disc into your PC’s disc drive.
Now you need to get your PC to boot from your recovery media. How you do that on each PC is different, so search the support site of the company that made your PC if you don’t know how. For example, on a Dell, you hold the F12 key down as your PC starts to get to the Boot Menu.
However, you do this, you must force your PC to boot from your recovery media before it boots from the storage on your device. Your USB/DVD must be higher on the list of places to boot from for this to happen. Once you’ve done this, restart your device. This example is from a Surface Pro.
Select your language.
Select your keyboard layout.
Select Recover from a Drive.
Now, wait for your PC to restart and use the on-screen tools to reset Windows 10 and get a clean install of your operating system.