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How to reset your PC and restore it to factory settings.

If you are looking on the internet how to reset a computer, you have probably tried them all. You have already checked for viruses or malware, you have cleaned the registry and even the scandisk (program that checks and repairs damaged file systems and clusters on the hard disk), but nothing has brought the desired results. Errors and stability issues persist and using your computer has become mission impossible. At this point all that remains is to try to reset your PC and restore it to factory settings.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a computer expert to do it, keep reading this guide and in a few minutes you will understand the process, it is simpler than it seems. It is obvious that if you have computer science knowledge this task will be even easier for you, but in any case you will be able to make your computer work again as if you had just purchased it.

I’m sure you’re ready to do this simple operation, so let’s get down to business! You will be very gratified after solving this problem that has plagued you for several days, weeks or even months, without anyone’s help!

First Step: Make a copy of the files for safety

Before discovering together how to reset your computer, if you can still log in normally to Windows, I strongly recommend that you make a copy of your files so as not to lose anything and be able to restore them after resetting the PC.

You can create a backup copy of your data by moving them to an external hard drive, burning them to DVDs or even better by storing them on a cloud memory, but if you want a simpler and more efficient solution, I recommend you rely on to the backup system included “standard” in all the most recent editions of Windows.

If you are using Windows 8 / 8.x or 10, you can create a backup of all data on your PC by clicking on Start and searching for File History in the search field displayed. Then start the file history utility by clicking on its icon in the search results, click on the + Add a drive button and select the disk on which you want to backup. Once the operation is complete, click on the item Other options and start the first PC backup by clicking on the Back up now button. To choose which folders to include or exclude, use the Back up these folders menu. To restore files from previous backups, instead, search for restore files in the Start menu and start the Restore Files with File History utility.

If you are using Windows Vista or Windows 7, click on Start, search for the Backup and Restore utility and start the latter by clicking on the first icon that appears in the Start menu. In the window that opens, click on the item to create a new backup and then select the drive in which to store the data and choose whether to entrust Windows with the task of automatically selecting the folders to be saved (in this case a backup of the personal folders will be created , desktop and libraries) or whether to manually choose the directories to save. If necessary, you can restore your files by going back to Backup and Restore and selecting the appropriate item from the Restore menu.

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If you are using an older version of Windows or, in any case, prefer to rely on external backup solutions, you can use Todo Backup available for both systems Windows and Mac.

Second Step: Get the Windows installation disk or key

Once you have secured your data, you have to choose how to reset your PC. You can use the recovery disk provided by the manufacturer of your computer or create one yourself, or you can perform the reset operation using a special pendrive.

If your computer is equipped with an optical drive, ie a working CD / DVD player, and you have the Windows installation disk, you are ready to move on to the next step. Otherwise, you need to get (or create) a media that contains the files necessary for the installation of Windows. Find all the details of the case below.

– Windows XP – As this is an outdated operating system, it is no longer possible to purchase or download it from official channels. However, if you already have a Windows XP installation disk or ISO image, you can transfer its contents to a USB stick.

– Windows Vista – Again, we are talking about a rather dated operating system and, consequently, it is no longer possible to purchase it through official channels. However, if you already have a Windows Vista installation disk or ISO image, you can transfer its contents to a USB stick.

– Windows 7 – Although this is also an older operating system, the Microsoft website allows you to legally download the ISO image Windows 7. Just enter the product key of your copy of the operating system in the text field, click on the Verify button and you’re done. However, keep in mind that the service is only available for retail versions of the operating system, so only for copies of Windows purchased in stores. It also does not work for copies of Windows pre-installed on computers (OEM). To copy Windows 7 to a USB stick you can instead use the free Windows 7 USB / DVD Download tool.

– Windows 8 / 8.x – In this case, you can download a copy of the system using Microsoft’s Media Creation Tool, a free application that automatically downloads all files installation of the operating system from the Internet and transfers them to a USB stick or an ISO image (to be burned later to DVD with any software suitable for the purpose.

– Windows 10 – Like Windows 8 / 8.x, Windows 10 can also be downloaded thanks to a Media Creation Tool made available to the public by Microsoft.

Third Step: Configure the BIOS / UEFI

At this point, you need to make sure your computer’s BIOS is configured to accept booting from CD / DVD or USB stick.
To configure your computer to boot from CD / DVD, you must enter its BIOS by rebooting the system and pressing the F2, F10 or Del key during the power up screen. Once in the BIOS, look for the Boot sequence / Boot sequence option in the Advanced tab and set the CD / DVD ROM drive as the primary drive to boot the computer. If you are having trouble entering the BIOS search Google you will easily find more information.

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Note that on newer computers, those with Windows 10 or Windows 8 / 8.x pre-installed, the BIOS has been replaced by UEFI. It is nothing more than a more modern BIOS with simplified graphics and more advanced protection systems. To access the UEFI menu and adjust the boot order, you need to follow a different procedure than the one just seen together for the “classic” BIOS.

– If you are using Windows 8 / 8.1, you need to go to Start, search for the term settings and select PC Settings from the search results. In the screen that opens, then select the Update and restore item from the left sidebar, press the Restart now button located under the Advanced Startup item and click on the Troubleshooting icon. Then go to Advanced Options, enter the UEFI Firmware Settings and click on the Restart button to access the UEFI configuration.

– If you are using Windows 10, you need to click on the Start button, search for the term settings and select Settings from the search results. In the window that opens, click on the Update and security icon, choose the Restore item from the left sidebar and press the Restart now button located under the heading Advanced startup. Finally, go to Troubleshoot, then to Advanced Options, choose to enter the UEFI Firmware Settings and click the Restart button to launch the UEFI configuration menu.

Fourth Step: Reset the PC

Now you are finally free to install Windows by following this procedure. Insert the installation disc or Windows key into the computer and restart the system. When the PC is restarted, as soon as the wording press a key to boot from CD-ROM appears …, press any key on the keyboard to start the Windows installation procedure.

Then, choose the language in which to use Windows, accept the terms of use of the operating system and choose to perform a custom installation in order to format the disk. Then indicate the disk partition where you want to install the operating system (eg. Disc 0 Partition 1) and click first on Drive Options and then on Format and OK to complete the operation.

Once the installation is complete (it may take from 20 to 40 minutes), go through the initial Windows configuration procedure and proceed to restore all the data you previously saved.

Note that these directions are fine for laptops as well. However, I must warn you that many notebooks are equipped with a recovery partition that allows you to reset your PC without using DVDs or external sticks.

To access it, restart your computer and press the key combination indicated on the boot screen (usually it is Alt + F10 or Alt + F9). Then choose the recovery partition of the operating system (generally it is indicated as D 🙂 and follow the wizard that is proposed to you.

Fifth and last step: Download and install the drivers

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Once you have finished resetting your PC, you may need to install the missing drivers. In fact, Windows is not always able to correctly recognize all the hardware components of the computer. That’s why I recommend that you connect to the website of the manufacturer of your computer and download all the drivers you may need.

To proceed with the driver download, simply locate the exact model of your product and download the software version that best suits your operating system. In this regard, I have linked you to the sections dedicated to downloading the drivers of the most famous brands:

Acer driver

HP driver

NVIDIA driver

ATI driver

ASUS driver

Intel driver

Toshiba driver

Samsung driver

Note: When downloading drivers, pay special attention to the distinction between x86 and x64, ie drivers for 32-bit systems and drivers for 64-bit systems.

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