Resetting Your Windows 10 Computer to Fix Major Problems

By | August 21, 2016
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Resetting Your Windows 10 Computer to Fix Major Problems

Over the past year, we’ve seen corrupted installations of Windows 10 where there are so many things not working correctly, where attempting to fix one problem, just brings up more problems. If your system has many errors and if more than one system feature or function is missing or not working, resetting your PC is sometimes the best option.

We hope this article helps you understand the Windows 10 reset options. If your computer is running poorly with many errors, sometimes your best choice for fixing your computer is to use one of the Windows 10 Reset options.

You can access the Windows 10 Reset options by clicking the Start button, Settings, then clicking on Update & Security. In the Update & Security dialog, click on Recovery on the left.

Cloudeight InfoAve

Cloudeight InfoAve

Option #1. Keep My Files

This option changes all settings back to their defaults while keep your personal files, data, personalization settings and apps from the Windows Store. Files in the user’s profile are preserved (except for the AppData folder). Also any folders created by the user in the root of the system drive (usually C:\ ) as well as on other drives and partitions. User-installed programs and user installed apps from the Windows Store, on the system drive and other drives are removed and a list of programs and apps that were removed and will have to be reinstalled. This will be saved in a text file on the user’s desktop on completion of this reset.

The “Keep my files” option, boots into the Windows Recovery Environment (RE) and uses the next-to-last system rollup to create a new clean instance of the following folders:

*\Windows
*\Program Data
*\Program Files
*\Program Files (x86)
*%UserProfile%\AppData

After a reboot, the saved settings, data files, and apps are applied to the new Windows installation. This is essentially the same as reinstalling Windows while keeping all of your personalization settings and personal files.

The complete process usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes.

Option #2: Remove everything

This option (called Reset your PC in Windows 8.1) removes all apps and user data, including all user accounts and personalization settings. This option is useful if you want to completely remove everything and do a clean install of Windows (with installation media – DVD or USB). Or if you’re planning on selling or giving away your computer.

This process, by design, will wipe out all existing data and you’ll have to click through multiple warning screens that clearly describe what’s about to happen. Resetting the PC removes everything from the drive and reinstall Windows.

This reset process even includes an option to erase data from the drive so that it would be nearly impossible to recover it.

You will (after several warnings) be give the option to “Fully clean the drive”. This option can take hours and hours to complete as the drive is completely erased. Microsoft does not guarantee that this drive erasure method meets any governmental or industry standard for complete data removal. However, if you’re going to sell or give away your computer, this method would be more than sufficient to prevent computer user from recovering any personal information from your computer.

With either option to remove everything, Windows will be reinstalled, but you’ll need to set up the PC again (User accounts, personalization, etc.) If you choose to “Fully clean the drive” because you’re planning on giving away the computer or selling it, you can let the new owner set up accounts and personalize the computer. This is referred to as the OOBE phase, OOBE means “Out Of the Box Experience” – how clever!

In any case, whether you choose to reset your PC and keep your personal files, etc. or remove everything keep the following in mind:

* If the operating system files have been heavily corrupted or infected with malware, the reset process will probably not work.

* If there is a serious problem with an update which is more than 28 days old, the reset may not be able to avoid reinstalling that problem.

Option #3: Restore factory settings

If your computer came with Windows 7 or Windows 8x and you upgraded to Windows 10, you will see the option to “Restore Factory Settings”. With this option, you’ll have the opportunity to revert back to your previous operating system; your computer will be exactly as it was the day it left he factory. This option will remove all of your programs and personal files. You will need to set-up your computer as if it were brand new.

If you upgraded your computer to Windows 10, less than thirty-one days or less ago, you’ll also have the option to revert back to your previous operating system without losing your personal files, settings, or programs. However, if you have removed the folder called “Windows Old” (as some cleanup programs do) you won’t have the option to revert back to a previous operating system without losing your files, programs and settings.

If your Windows 10 computer has a lot of errors or missing features – or just does not work like it should – you may find one of these Reset options useful.

3 thoughts on “Resetting Your Windows 10 Computer to Fix Major Problems

  1. Michael Griffin

    I solved my windows problems 6 years ago and purchased an Apple computer. Never regretted that decision.

    Reply
  2. Diane Walker

    Warning: The reset feature whereby you keep your files does not include software such as Thunderbird. I lost many years of email files and photos, and although I had used Genie Timeline, I did not know how to retrieve those files from backup.

    Reply
    1. infoave Post author

      That’s why we point out in the article that your programs will need to be reinstall. Here’s the paragraph:

      User-installed programs and user installed apps from the Windows Store, on the system drive and other drives are removed and a list of programs and apps that were removed and will have to be reinstalled. This will be saved in a text file on the user’s desktop on completion of this reset.

      Reply

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