Experiencing various issues on personal computers, such as driver problems or slow performance, is quite common. Sometimes, these problems can be so severe that they significantly hamper daily use and may not have an immediate solution.

To address such issues, Windows offers a built-in 'Reset' function. This utility allows for a thorough system refresh, restoring all settings and applications, and even enabling the removal of personal files, if preferred. The result is a PC that feels like new.

Apart from solving system issues, the 'Reset' function also proves beneficial when preparing to give away an old PC. It ensures all personal files are removed, preventing inadvertent sharing of private data.

With Windows, users have two methods available for performing a factory reset on a computer. One way is through the 'Settings' app, and the other via the 'Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).' Let's explore both procedures in detail.

Factory Reset Windows 11 From Settings

To factory reset your Windows 11 PC, go to the ‘Settings’ app from the Start Menu. Alternatively, you can also press Windows + I shortcut on your keyboard to launch the Settings app.

Now, click on the ‘System’ tab present on the left panel of the ‘Settings’ window.

After that, scroll down and locate the ‘Recovery’ option. Click on it to enter the ‘Recovery’ settings.

Now, on the ‘Recovery Setting’ screen, click on the ‘Reset PC’ button.

After clicking the ‘Reset PC’ button, a separate window will open.

On the separately opened window, two options would be available to you:

  • Keep my files: As the name suggests, use this option if you want to keep your personal files intact while all the system apps get uninstalled and system settings are rolled back to a fresh state.
  • Remove everything: Again, no surprises here as well. This option will remove all photos, programs, and apps will roll back the operating system to a completely fresh state as if it was brand new.

For instance, we are going with the ‘Remove everything’ option here.

After choosing either of the options, on the next window you will need to choose between a ‘Cloud download’ or a ‘Local reinstall’. ‘Cloud download’ is believed to be more reliable and stable relative to ‘Local reinstall’ as there might be a possibility of files being corrupted or damaged.

However, as the name suggests ‘Cloud download’ will require a stable internet connection through which Windows will consume at least 4GB of data.

Now, click on the option you would like to select for reinstalling the Windows on your machine. For example, we are choosing the ‘Cloud download’ here.

Note: Neither of the reinstalling options would require you to plug in any external installation media.

Next, you will be notified of the current settings for resetting the PC. If you wish to change any setting, click on the ‘change settings’ option.

On the ‘Choose settings’ window, you will have three options to alter the settings. Let’s get into it for the sake of better performance of your machine:

  • Clean data?: This option is mostly used when you want to give away your PC and do not want anybody to be able to recover your personal files. If that’s the case, toggle the switch to the ‘Yes’ position.
  • Delete files from all drives?: As the name suggests, this option would enable you to choose if you would like to remove the data from only your Windows installer drive or wipe the drive clean. If you wish to delete files from all drives, toggle the switch to the ‘Yes’ position. Also, ‘Clean data’ will apply to all the drives if enabled.
  • Download Windows?: This option would enable you to switch from ‘Cloud download’ to ‘Local reinstall’ should you feel the need to change the reinstallation process before commencing.

Once you have toggled the additional settings as per your preference, click on the ‘Confirm’ button to proceed further. Here we have enabled the ‘Clean data?’ option.

Now, click on the ‘Next’ button from the bottom section of the window.

It might take a while for Windows to load the next screen, sit tight while the process is running in the background.

Next, Windows will list down all the impacts of resetting to your PC, read them and click on the ‘Reset’ button to start the resetting process on your machine.

After clicking on ‘Reset’ your computer might restart several times which is completely normal behavior while resetting. Resetting might take few hours depending on your machine and the settings chosen by you for the process.

Factory Reset Windows 11 from Recovery Mode

There can be issues so much critical that you are not able to open the ‘Settings’ app as well. If that’s the case with you there’s a fail-safe to reset Windows 11 from the Windows Recovery Environment.

To boot your PC into recovery mode in Windows 11, first, open the Start menu and click on the Power button on the bottom-right corner of the Start box.

Then, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard and click on the ‘Restart’ option in the Power menu.

Your Windows 11 PC will now restart and boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).

Now, from the ‘Choose an option’ screen in recovery mode, select the ‘Troubleshoot’ option.

Next, click on the ‘Reset this PC’ option present on the screen.

On the next screen, you will have to choose between either keeping your personal files as is and refresh the system apps and settings or remove your personal files, apps and roll back the system settings to default.

The ‘Keep my files’ option will reset all system settings and apps to a fresh state, leaving your files intact. And the ‘Remove everything’ option would remove all your personal files along with apps and system settings, rolling back your machine to a brand new-like state.

Click on your preferred method from the ‘Reset this PC’ screen. For instance, we are choosing the ‘Remove everything’ option here.

After choosing either of the options on the previous screen, you would need to select the medium of reinstalling Windows on your machine. You can either select the ‘Cloud download’ option to download fresh OS files from Microsoft servers or you can choose ‘Local reinstall’ where Windows uses existing files present on the local storage to reinstall Windows on your machine.

Next, choose the preferred option on the screen by clicking on it. Alternatively, you can also navigate using the arrow keys and press Enter on your keyboard to select an option. For instance, we are selecting the ‘Local reinstall’ option here.

Note: None of the options on this screen would need you to insert an external installation media for reinstalling the Windows.

On the next screen, you will need to choose if you would like to remove all your files only from the Windows installer drive or you want to remove all files and folders from all the drives.

To remove files only from the Windows installer drive click on the ‘Only the drive where Windows is installed’ option present on the screen.

Next, click on the ‘Just remove my files’ option to delete your files. In the case you are giving away your machine and do not want your files to be recovered, click on the ‘Fully clean the drive’ option. We are selecting the ‘Just remove my files’ option here.

It might take your Windows machine a few minutes to get everything ready, wait till the next screen appears.

Now, Windows will list down the impacts of resetting according to your preferred settings, read them and then click on the ‘Reset’ button situated on the bottom right corner of your screen to start the process.

In summary, if you encounter any issues with your Windows 11 PC or you wish to restore it to its original state, this is the process of resetting it.