How To's

3 ways to reset your Windows 10 computer to fix issues and improve performance

You may want to reset your Windows 10 PC if it’s having performance issues.

Resetting, refreshing, or restoring Windows 10 can help improve performance issues.

  • You should restore Windows 10 first, as this won’t wipe much data.
  • Next, you can refresh or factory reset Windows 10, though you will lose more data.

Windows computers can run into issues. Often, the best solution is to refresh, factory reset, or restore your computer.

However, not all options are equal. Refreshing your computer keeps your files – though not any installed programs that didn’t come with your computer – and reinstalls the Windows operating system. In comparison, factory resetting your computer reinstalls the operating system but does not preserve any files or installed programs.

The only option that does not result in the total loss of either your files or installed programs is system restore. This restores your operating system – files and programs included – to a previous state, called a restore point. Restore points are either automatically created by the operating system or manually created by you.

Here’s how to refresh, factory reset, and restore your Windows 10 computer.

You should try restoring your computer to an earlier point when a recent change, such as an application install or driver update , resulted in unexpected behavior or reduced performance.

1. Click on the Windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

2. Type Control panel and select the control panel app.

The Windows button will open the Start Menu, where you can search for the Control Panel app.

The Windows button will open the Start Menu, where you can search for the “Control Panel” app.

3. Click View by and select either Small icons or Large icons .

You must view by small or large icons in order to find the Recovery option in the Control Panel.

You must view by small or large icons in order to find the “Recovery” option in the Control Panel.

4. Select Recovery .

You can find the Recovery option in the All Control Panel Items list.

You can find the Recovery option in the “All Control Panel Items” list.

5. Click Open System Restore .

Select the Open System Restore option from the Advanced recovery tools options.

Select the “Open System Restore” option from the Advanced recovery tools options.

6. Select either the Recommended restore or Choose a different restore point and press Next . You can create a restore point from the Control Panel or by searching “Create a restore point” in the search bar.

Depending on how often you create restore points on your device, you might have multiple restore options.

Depending on how often you create restore points on your device, you might have multiple restore options.

Note: If you select Choose a different restore point you will be presented with a list of options. Click on one of them and click Next . If no options appear, click Back and select Recommended restore . If no options are available, see refresh or reset below.

7. Click Finish . The computer will then restart and Windows will restore to that previous point.

Windows 10 will ask you to confirm that the restore point you've selected is the one you want.

Windows 10 will ask you to confirm that the restore point you’ve selected is the one you want.

You should refresh your computer if it is showing signs of reduced performance and restoring to an earlier point does not resolve the issues experienced.

1. Click on the Windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

2. Click on the Settings gear icon.

3. Scroll down and click on Update & Security .

4. Click on Recovery .

You can find the Recovery option on the left-hand sidebar menu.

You can find the “Recovery” option on the left-hand sidebar menu.

5. Click on Get started .

Clicking the Get started button will not immediately reset your device - you'll decide what kind of reset to do next.

Clicking the “Get started” button will not immediately reset your device – you’ll decide what kind of reset to do next.

6. Click on Keep my files .

To refresh Windows 10 - not factory reset - be sure to select Keep my files.

To refresh Windows 10 – not factory reset – be sure to select “Keep my files.”

7. Click on Cloud download or Local reinstall . Cloud download downloads a new copy of Windows 10 from Microsoft directly whereas a local reinstall uses the Windows 10 version already on your computer.

8. Click Next .

9. Click Reset . The computer will now restart and install a new copy of Windows 10 while preserving your files. When it reboots, you will have a new Windows installation with your same files as before. However, your installed programs will most likely be removed during this process.

You should reset your computer if none of the other options to troubleshoot issues work or you are planning to sell or dispose of it.

1. Click on the Windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

2. Click on the Settings gear icon.

3. Scroll down and click on Update & Security .

4. Click on Recovery .

5. Click on Get started .

6. Click on Remove everything .

A factory reset will not preserve any files or installed apps.

A factory reset will not preserve any files or installed apps.

7. Click on Cloud download or Local reinstall .

8. Click Next .

9. Click Reset . The computer will now restart and clean your hard drive. When it reboots, you will have a fresh installation of Windows 10 without any files or programs from before installed.

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