How to Reset or Refresh Windows 10

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In Windows 8, resetting was broken into two parts: resetting and refreshing. Resetting would erase everything, including apps and user data from the hard drive. Refreshing would leave a user’s personal data untouched.

In Windows 10 both Refresh and Reset features are placed under a common label called Reset. When you begin resetting Windows 10, you are prompted to pick one of the two options - whether you want to keep or remove your personal files when the operating system is restored back to factory defaults.

You can reset your PC from within Windows 10 or by starting the computer with Windows 10 bootable media. Both methods are explained below in detail:

Resetting Your Computer from Within Windows 10
  1. After booting your Windows 10 PC, sign-in using an administrator account.
  2. Click the Start button when on the desktop window.
  3. Click Settings from the left pane of the Start menu.
  4. When the SETTINGS window opens, click the Update & security tile.
  5. From the left pane of the UPDATE & SECURITY window, click to select the Recovery category.
  6. From the right pane, from under the Reset this PC section, click Get started.
  7. From the Choose an option box, click Keep my files to refresh your Windows 10 computer, i.e. to reset the OS to factory settings without removing your personal files.Note: Alternatively, you can click Remove everything if you wish to reset your PC, i.e. to remove all your personal files while restoring the operating system to the factory settings.
  8. On the Your apps will be removed box, view the list of apps that will be removed during the Windows 10 reset process.
  9. Click Next to continue.
  10. On the Ready to reset this PC box, click the Reset button to begin the Windows 10 reset process.

Starting Your Windows 10 PC with Bootable Media to Reset
If the Windows 10 PC fails to boot altogether, you must use a bootable media (a DVD or USB drive) to start the computer and reset the operating system externally. Here’s how: