How to Reset Windows 10

Note 1: If your device is encrypted, you will need your BitLocker key when resetting your PC. If you don't know your BitLocker key, please see Find my BitLocker recovery key.

Note 2: I recommend not having this guide opened on the device you want to reset, especially if you reset it from WinRE (Method 2). If you have another device, such as a phone, tablet, or another PC, it is recommended that you open the guide on there if you will want to keep following it after you restart your PC.

When resetting Windows 10, you are given the following options:

Keep my files > Change Settings > Preinstalled apps On: Reinstalls Windows 10 while keeping your personal files, removes any apps and drivers you installed, and restores default settings and preinstalled apps.

Keep my files > Change settings > Preinstalled apps Off: Reinstalls Windows 10 while keeping your personal files, removes any apps and drivers you installed along with preinstalled apps, and restores default settings.

Remove everything (clean install): Reinstalls Windows 10 while removing personal files, all apps, drivers, and settings changes. Preinstalled apps will be reinstalled.

  • Data erasure On removes all files and cleans the drive. If you plan on donating, recycling, selling, or disposing your PC, this option is highly recommended. It takes longer but makes it harder for other people to access removed files.
  • Data erasure Off simply removes files, and is less secure.

Method 1: Resetting From Settings

  1. Press Start
  2. Select Settings > Update & Security > Recovery
  3. Under the Reset this PC section title, select the Get started button, and choose your setting from the above table

Method 2: Resetting From Sign-In Screen

  1. Press the Windows logo key+L to get to the sign-in screen
  2. Select the Power icon in the lower-right corner and then select Restart while holding the Shift key
  3. Once your PC restarts to the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE), select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC, and choose an option from the above table

Still Having Issues?

If your device is still having issues, you may want to consider contacting Microsoft support.