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How To Restore Windows To Factory Settings [Step By Step Guide]

Restore-Windows-To-Factory-Settings

A factory reset means restoring your computer to its original manufacturing settings as when it was purchased. When you reset a computer, all the personal files and applications present within the storage device gets deleted.

You can also call a factory restore as a hard reset or as a master reset.

Why do you need to perform a Factory Reset?

Factory reset windows

You may need to perform a factory reset because of several reasons. Some of the common scenarios where factory reset is helpful are:

  • If the computer does not perform as it should, a factory reset of the Windows computer is a way out.
  • Again, if you need to sell your PC to someone, you will have to restore the device to its factory settings so that the person buying it doesn’t get hold of any personal information.
  • If there is a malicious code within the computer, then also you can reset the settings to factory default.

Criteria for Restoring a Windows System

Restore to factory settings in Windows Operating SystemYou can perform a factory reset of your Windows system only if the following criteria are met.

  • When the computer has a recovery partition installed already, then you can restore it by utilizing this partition. A recovery partition is installed by the manufacturer of the computer.
  • If you have the original installation disc of the Windows Operating System, then using that optical disc, you can restore the computer.
  • When you have recovery discs for the Windows OS, then those optical discs can also be utilized to perform a computer restore. You can get these recovery discs while purchasing the computer.
  • If the above three criteria are not met, then the only way to restore the computer is to use the ‘System Restore’ feature present within all the versions of  Windows OS like XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10.

Restoration Process for All the Versions of Windows Operating System (Windows 10, 8/8.1, 7, Vista, XP)

Restoration Process for All the Versions of Windows Operating SystemHere, in this section, we will elaborate on the methods to restore your Windows computer. We have detailed down the procedures for every version of the Windows OS.

Reset Windows 10 To Factory Settings

Windows 10 OS has two ways of performing a factory restore: either “Refresh” or “Reset”. Another thing you can do is to restore the system using the “System Restore” tool.

Windows 10 Reset Procedure

When you reset the computer, all the files and applications will be removed from it. Here are the steps to reset a Windows 10 computer.

  • First, click on the ‘Cortana’ logo to open the ‘Search’ section. In that section, enter ‘recovery’ and then from the result of that search, choose the ‘Recovery’ option.Windows 10 Reset Procedure
  • Now, a new window with the name ‘Recovery’ will come up. Inside that window, under the heading ‘Reset this PC’ locate and choose the ‘Get Started’ button.Windows 10 Reset Procedure
  • When you get a prompt to “Insert Media”, you will have to insert the installation media of the Windows 10 OS for continuing with the process.
  • After that, tap on the option ‘Remove everything’. If the computer has more than one partition, then you can choose to delete all files within only Windows partition or from all the drives.
  • Next, tap on either the “Just remove my files” or “Fully clean the drive” option, in order to specify the process of how to clean the drives.How To Restore Windows To Factory Settings
  • Finally, tap on the ‘Reset’ button to begin the restoration process.

Procedure to Refresh Windows 10

Here you will get steps to refresh a Windows 10 PC in an easy way.

  • Before you insert the Windows 10 installation media, go to the previous method and follow steps one, two and three.
  • After that, locate and then tap on the ‘Keep my files’ option. Now, if any applications installed within the computer will be deleted, then check the list to know which one.Procedure to Refresh Windows 10
  • Then, click on the ‘Next’ button
  • At last, click on the ‘Reset’ button to restore the machine to its factory settings.

Restore the Computer Using the System Restore Tool 

The System Restore is a process to restore a Windows computer to an earlier state. In order to access the System Restore Tool, you will have to follow the steps presented below.

  • First, right-click on the ‘Windows’ logo. This will open an ‘Options Menu’.
  • Now, inside that menu, locate and then choose the ‘System’ option. A new window will come up.
  • Next, within that window, go to the left pane and select the ‘System Protection’ link. After that, click on the ‘System Restore’ button.How to Restore the Computer Using the System Restore Tool
  • As soon as you click on it, a new ‘System Restore’ window will appear, in it, select the option “Choose a different restore point”. Then, click on the ‘Next’ button.how to Restore the Computer Using the System Restore Tool
  • Now, a list full of all the restore points will appear on the window. From that list, choose the restore point for the time when Windows was working fine and then click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Now, check the restore point that you have chosen and then tap on the ‘Finish’ button.
  • Finally, if a confirmation message comes up, then simply tap on the ‘Yes’ button to start the restoration process.

You can also perform the system restore using the installation media of Windows 10. To do that,

insert the installation media -> reboot the machine-> Repair your computer -> Troubleshoot -> System Restore -> Choose the Restore Point

then follow the instructions on the screen.

Reset Windows 8, 8.1 to Factory Settings

You can restore the Windows 8, 8.1 by performing either “Refresh” or “Reset” procedure. There is another option you can perform which is ‘System Restore’.

Restore Windows 8, 8.1 Via System Restore Utility

Here, you will get to learn the steps to restore a computer to its working condition using the ‘System Restore’ tool.

  • First, insert the installation media of Windows 8, 8.1 into the computer and restart the same.
  • After that, the installation window will come up, in it, go to the bottom left corner of the screen and choose ‘Repair your computer’.
  • Now, a new screen will appear with the heading ‘Troubleshoot’. On that screen, choose the ‘Advanced Options’ item.How to Restore Windows 8, 8.1 Via System Restore Utility
  • As soon as you do that, another screen having the name ‘Advanced Options’ will come up, in it, choose the ‘System Restore’ option.
  • When you get a prompt, login to the system as administrator. Then, click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Make sure to select the option ‘Choose a different restore point’ and then click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Now, from the list that comes up, choose the right restore point and then tap on the ‘Next’ button. Once again, click on the ‘Next’ button when the ‘Confirm your restore point’ screen comes up.Restore Windows XP to Factory Settings
  • When a confirmation screen appears, click on the ‘Yes’ button to initiate the restoration procedure. Wait for the restoration process to get over.Windows 8, 8.1 System Restore Utility
  • Once this process is complete, the computer will restart with the configuration of the restore point you’ve chosen.
  • Lastly, log into the machine and you will get a message that says – “System Restore completed successfully”Procedure to Restore the Windows XP using the Installation CD

Refresh Windows 8, 8.1

Before you refresh the computer running on Windows 8, 8.1, keep the following points in mind.

  • If the computer that you have has been upgraded to Windows 8.1 from 8, then the refresh process will restore the machine back to Windows 8. Once the restoration process is complete, again upgrade the device to Windows 8.1.
  • Every application that was installed in the machine will be deleted and a backup directory will be created. All the applications that were installed within the Windows 8 will be installed once again.

Here are the steps to refresh a Windows 8, 8.1 computer.

  • First, start the computer.
  • Next, swipe from the right corner of the screen and select the ‘Settings’ option. As soon as you do that, a new window with the name ‘Windows Settings’ will come up.
  • Inside that window, locate and then click on the ‘Change PC Settings’ option.how to Refresh Windows 8, 8.1
  • After that, find and select the ‘Update and Recovery’ option. Now, click on the ‘Recovery’ option.
  • Now, a new page with the heading ‘Refresh your PC without affecting your files’ will come up, in it, tap on the ‘Get Started’ button.How to refresh Refresh your PC without affecting your files
  • At last, follow the instructions that come up on the screen to complete the procedure.

Procedure to Reset a Windows 8, 8.1 Computer

Here you will get to learn the steps to reset a Windows 8, 8.1 PC.

  • Go to the previous method i.e “Refresh Windows 8, 8.1” and then follow the first four steps.
  • After that, another page will come up with the name ‘Remove everything and reinstall Windows’. Tap on the ‘Get Started’ button.Procedure to Reset a Windows 8, 8.1 Computer
  • Lastly, follow the instructions on the screen to complete the procedure.

Restore Windows 7 To Factory Settings

You can restore Windows 7 PC to factory settings by using the installation disc and perform a completely new installation of the Operating System. If the installation disc is not available, then you can either restore the system to an earlier working condition or repair the error within it by using the built-in tools “System Restore” or “Startup Repair” respectively.

Using the Installation CD/DVD to Restore Windows 7

When you have the installation disk of Windows 7, then it can be utilized to reinstall or restore the computer if the System Restore is active or repair any errors within the machine.

Execute the System Restore or Startup Repair from the CD/DVD. Here are the steps to do it.

  • First, the power on the computer that runs Windows 7. After that, insert the installation disc into the drive, restart the machine and boot from the disc.
  • If you see the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” message, then tap a key to boot into the installer of Windows 7.Using the Installation CD/DVD to Restore Windows 7
  • After the boot-up process, a new screen with the name “Install Windows” will come up. Inside that window, choose the specific language, keyboard, time and then tap on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Now, on the screen that comes next, go to the bottom left corner and then choose the ‘Repair Your Computer’ option.Restore to factory settings
  • Now, a new window having the name ‘System Recovery Options’ will appear. Within this window, choose the type of Operating System that you want to restore from a list. Then click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • As soon as you click on that option, a new dialog box with the name ‘System Recovery Options’ and list full of various inbuilt recovery tools will come up.
  • Among all those options, choose the ‘Startup Repair’ or ‘System Restore’ option and then follow the on-screen instructions.Restore Windows 7 using installation CD

 

You can perform a hard reset of the computer by reinstalling Windows 7. The steps do it are as follows.

  • First, put the installation CD/DVD into the disc tray.
  • After that, boot the computer from that installation disc. As soon as you that, a new screen with a blue background and the name ‘Install Windows’ will come up.
  • Within that screen, select the layout of the keyboard, language and time. After that, at the bottom right corner of the screen, click on the ‘Next’ button.Restore Windows 7 to Factory Settings
  • Now, a new dialog box will come up, in it, tap on the ‘Install now’ button. Next, on the new page that comes up, put a checkmark in the “I accept the license terms” option, in order to accept terms for the license.
  • Now, press the ‘Next’ button. When the new page having a heading “Which type of installation do you want?” comes up, then choose the ‘Custom (advanced)’ option.
  • Finally, to install the Windows 7 OS, follow the instructions that come up on the screen.

Restore Windows 7 Without using the Installation Disc 

If there is no installation disc of Windows 7 available, then to use the ‘System Restore’  feature all you can do is to boot into the ‘Safe Mode or via the ‘System Recovery Options’ menu’.

Execute the System Restore Utility using the System Recovery Options. In order to do it easily, follow the steps below.

  • Start the computer and then tap on the ‘F8’ key and keep it pressed until you see the ‘Advanced Boot Options’ screen.
  • Once a new screen having the name ‘Advanced Boot Options’ come up, select the option ‘Repair Your Computer’.How to Restore Windows 7 to Factory Settings
  • As soon as you do that, a new screen will appear, in it, select the layout of the keyboard. Then, click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Now, a new dialog box having the name ‘System Recovery Options’ will come up. Inside that dialog box, there are multiple items to choose from. Out of those items, locate and choose the option ‘System Restore’.
  • At last, follow the information that comes up on the screen and restore the machine to its working state.

Run the System Restore tool via the Safe Mode. In order to do that, follow the steps below.

  • First, open the ‘Advanced Boot Options’ by following the steps explained above.
  • Once the ‘Advanced Boot Options’ screen comes up, locate and then click on the ‘Safe Mode with Command Prompt’ option and then press the ‘Enter’ button.Restore Windows 7 to Factory Settings
  • Next, enter the login credentials to open the computer as an administrator. As soon as the computer opens up, a new window having the name ‘Command Prompt’ with a black background and white text will come up.
  • Inside that window, type in the command – “rstrui.exe” and then press the ‘Enter’ button.
  • Now, a ‘System Restore’ window will come up, in it, just follow all the instructions that come up on the screen, in order to initiate the restoration procedure.

Restoration of Windows Vista to Factory Settings

If you have an installation disc of the Windows Vista, then use it to execute the Startup Repair, System Restore or installation of the Operating System once again. When you do not have any installation media of the Windows Vista, then boot the machine into the ‘Safe Mode’ and try to execute both the ‘Startup Repair’ and ‘System Restore’. To do a hard reset you will have to install the Windows Vista using the installation CD/DVD.

Restore the Windows Vista Operating System Using Installation CD/DVD 

If you have an installation CD/DVD of Windows Vista, then you can use it to repair or install it once again.

Execute the Startup Repair.

The ‘Startup Repair’ process will only attempt to repair errors within the computer. To do it correctly, follow the steps underneath.

  • First, start the computer and then insert the installation CD/DVD of the Windows Vista into the optical drive tray.
  • When you get a message “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD”, hit a key you prefer. As soon as you do that, a new window with the name ‘Install Windows’ will come up.
  • Inside that window, choose the time, currency, keyboard layout and the language that you prefer. After that, click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Now, a new page within that window will appear, in it, go to the bottom left corner of the screen and then click on the ‘Repair Your Computer’ link.
  • As soon as you click on that link, another page within that window appears. In it, choose the type of the Operating System you want to repair from the list and click on the ‘Next’ button.
  • Now, the ‘Startup Repair’ utility will start to look for any problems and then repair those issues.
  • Lastly, on the “Restart your computer to complete the repairs” window, tap on the ‘Finish’  button to complete the repair process.

Installation Procedure of the Windows Vista

In order to perform a hard reset of the computer, you will have to install the Windows Vista Operating System once again. To do it properly, follow the steps below.

  • First, put the installation disc into the disc tray and then restart the machine.
  • When you see a prompt, press any key to boot from the optical disc.
  • After that, a new window with the name ‘Install Windows’ will come up, in it, choose the type of language you prefer and the layout of the keyboard. Along with that, select the time as well.
  • Now, click on the ‘Next’ button. Once you do that, a new window having the name “Install Windows” will come up.
  • Within that window, follow the instructions that come up and then install Windows Vista into the computer accordingly.

Restore Windows Vista without using the Installation CD/DVD

There are two methods to execute the System Restore. One is using the Safe Mode and the other is via a normal startup process.

Execute the System Restore Utility via Normal Startup of Windows Vista

Follow the steps below to access the System Restore utility using the normal startup process of the Windows Vista OS.

  • First, turn the computer on. After that, click on the ‘Windows’ logo to open the ‘Start’ menu.
  • Then, inside the ‘Search program and files’ space, type in the text ‘restore’ and then tap on the ‘Enter’ button.
  • Now, from the search section within the ‘Start’ menu, locate and then choose the ‘Backup and Restore Center’ option
  • Next, from the new window that comes up, choose either the custom date or a recommended date by Windows Vista to restore the machine to a workable state.
  • After the correct restoration date has been chosen, then tap on the ‘Next’ button.
  • If a confirmation box appears, tap on the ‘Yes’ button to initiate the restoration process. Wait for the restoration procedure to complete. Once it is over, restart the computer.
  • Lastly, when the machine starts up once again with the restore point that you have chosen, a message will come up that says “System Restore completed successfully”

Run the Utility System Restore via Safe Mode

Here, you will get another way to execute the ‘System Restore’ utility using the Safe Mode feature.

  • First, switch on the computer.
  • After that, before the Windows Vista logo appears, tap the F8 key and keep it pressed until the “Advanced Boot Option” page appears.
  • When the ‘Advanced Boot Options’ page comes up, you will get various options within it.
  • Out of those options, choose the one that says “Safe mode with Command Prompt” and then hit the ‘Enter’ key.
  • As soon as you do that, the computer will startup in the Safe Mode, along with the ‘Command Prompt’ functionality.
  • Now, press the ‘Windows’ logo for the ‘Start’ menu to appear. In it, go to the search section, type in the text ‘command prompt’ and press the ‘Enter’ key.
  • Now, a new window having the name ‘Command Prompt’ will come up. Inside that window, input the following command “rstrui.exe” and then press the ‘Enter’ key to execute.
  • If you get a prompt to enter the password for the administrator account, enter the same and press the ‘Enter’ button.
  • Now, follow the instructions that come up on the window and finally continue with the system restore.

Restore Windows XP to Factory Settings

Use the installation CD to install and repair Windows XP. If you do not have the installation CD of the Windows XP Operating System, then utilize the ‘System Restore’ utility.

Procedure to Restore the Windows XP using the Installation CD

If the System Restore utility is not available or deactivated within the Windows XP, then utilize the main installation disc, in order to reinstall or repair the Operating System.

Here, you will get steps to perform the ‘Repair Install’ procedure.

  • First, put the installation disc of the Windows XP into the disc tray.
  • Next, turn on the machine. When you see a message that says “Press any key to boot from CD” then hit on a key to start the computer.
  • Now, wait for the installation disc of Windows XP to run and then load.
  • Once the CD executes, a screen with the heading ‘Welcomes to Setup’ will come up. Now, hit the ‘Enter’ key to get into the ‘Repair Install’ module.
  • After that, the ‘End User License Agreement’ page will come up. In it, press the ‘F8’ key to accept that agreement.
  • Next, within the screen that comes up, be sure that the Windows XP installation disc is present in the correct drive. This path is usually ’“C:\Window “Microsoft Windows XP Professional”’
  • In the next page of the setup screen, there will be two choices “To repair the selected Windows XP installation, press ‘R’” and “to continue installing a fresh copy of Windows XP without repairing, press ‘ESC’”.
  • Highlight the first choice and then press the ‘R’ key. Now, wait for the setup process to perform ‘Repair Install’Procedure to Restore the Windows XP using the Installation CD
  • Now, the setup of the Windows XP will begin to install the Operating System.

Restore Windows XP Without using the Installation CD

When you do not have the installation disc of Windows XP, you can restore the computer using the System Restore module within the Safe Mode.

The steps to do it are as follows.

  • First, start the machine and then before it boots up, tap and holds the ‘F8’ key.
  • A new screen will appear with the name ‘Windows Advanced Options’. Inside the screen, locate and select the ‘Safe mode with a Command prompt’ option.
  • Now, input the password to login to the computer as an administrator.
  • As soon as you do that, the computer will open in Safe Mode. Now, search for ‘command prompt’ and then press ‘Enter’ key.
  • Now, the ‘Command Prompt window will come up. In it, type in the command “%systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe” and then press the ‘Enter’ button to run the same.Restore Windows XP Without using the Installation CD
  • Once this command runs, a new window having a name ‘System Restore’ will come up.
  • When this window comes up, follow the instructions appearing on the screen and restore the computer to an earlier state.
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