When there are problems with Windows 11 installation, you can reset it to default factory settings. Here is how to factory reset Windows 11.
It is not every time, but there will be situations where you need to reset Windows 11 to its default factory settings. These reasons include but are not limited to corrupted system files, virus or malware infections, too many installed applications and bloatware, slow and sluggish performance, too much customization, unwanted system settings, and more.
No matter the reason, if you want to make the PC clean and shining again, there is no better option than to factory reset Windows 11.
So, let me show you how to factory reset Windows 11 in simple and easy steps without further ado.
- What is Factory Reset?
- Difference between Factory Reset and Reinstallation
- How to factory reset Windows 11
- Things to do after factory reset
What is Factory Reset?
Factory Reset or Factory Restore is a process where you reset the computer to its default factory settings. So, you might be wondering what exactly are the factory settings?
It is pretty simple.
Factory Reset means removing all the installed applications and associated data, resetting all the settings to their default options, removing any advanced policy settings, removing user data in the C drive, removing all user accounts, etc. You can think of factory resetting as reinstalling Windows 11 but without the need to reconfigure the system entirely.
Since the factory reset procedure will remove all personal files in the C drive (Windows installation drive), you should back up personal files, application settings, and configuration files before proceeding. That way, you don’t lose data, making it easy to reconfigure applications.
Difference between Factory Reset and Reinstallation
The significant difference between a factory reset and complete reinstalling is that you don’t have to reinstall the operating system manually. Since you don’t have to reinstall, you don’t need to plug in an installation media, don’t have to reinstall all the drivers, set up your user account, etc.
However, you still need to install all the applications, set up any additional user accounts as required, and configure system settings.
How to factory reset Windows 11
Windows 11 gives you the necessary option to factory reset the computer. You have to click a button and follow the wizard while selecting appropriate options. Follow the below steps to factory reset Windows 11.
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go to the “Windows Update > Advanced Options” page.
- Click on the “Recovery” option.
- Click the “Reset PC” button next to “Reset this PC.”
- Select the “Remove everything” option.
- Choose the “Local reinstall” option.
- Click “Next” in the Additional Settings window.
- Press the “Reset” button.
- Windows 11 starts to factory reset. Please wait for it to complete.
- With that, you have completed the Windows 11 factory reset.
Detailed steps with screenshots and a bit more info:
The factory reset option is available in Settings. So, press the “Windows key + I” shortcut to open the Settings app. After opening Settings, go to the “Windows Update > Advanced Options” page. Here, click on the “Recovery” option.
This is the page where you find all the Windows recovery options. Since we want to factory reset, click on the “Reset” button in the “Reset this PC” section.
On this screen, click the “Remove everything” option. This is the option you should select to factory reset Windows 11.
Here, you have two choices. You can select the Local Reinstall or Cloud Reinstall option. Here is what they do.
Cloud reinstall: Choosing this option will make Windows 11 download the required installation files directly from Microsoft. The advantage of this option is that you will get the latest Windows 11 version. The total download size will be anywhere from 2GB to 4GB.
Local reinstall: Choosing this option will force Windows 11 to use already available local installation files to reset the computer.
So, what to choose? If you have a good and stable internet connection without data limits, choose the “Cloud reinstall” option. Otherwise, select the “Local reinstall” option. In my case, I’m picking the “Cloud reinstall” option.
Reset this PC will show settings you selected till now. Take a look at them and click the “Next” button under the “Additional Settings.”
Finally, Windows 11 tells you what it will do in the Reset this PC window. Make sure everything is ok and click the “Reset” button.
As soon as you click the button, Windows 11 will start the process. While resetting, Windows might automatically restart several times. The whole process will take some time to complete. This is especially true if you select the “Cloud reinstall” option.
Once the factory reset is done, Windows will take you to the login screen, where you can log into your user account.
That is it. With that, the Windows 11 factory reset is done. You can start using it normally.
Things to do after factory reset
After factory resetting the computer, you should do a few things.
- Install graphics or video drives.
- Check and update Windows 11.
- Create any additional user accounts as needed.
- Add fingerprint and/or PIN authentication.
- Configure essential Windows 11 settings like active hours, night light, group policies, personalization settings, etc.
- Install all your applications.
- Configure application settings.
That is all. It is that simple to factory reset Windows 11.
I hope this simple Windows 11 how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.