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Revert your PC settings to its working state: Recovery options for Windows 10

There can be number of reasons why one would want to revert Windows 10 settings but two of the common ones include (a) experiencing a problem you can’t seem to fix, and (b) second is if you plan to give away or sell your computer. Whatever your reason is, you’re in luck as there are several options that you can take depending on the specific situation you’re in.

In this post we discuss the following topics:

  1. Revert your Windows 10 settings: How to do system restore
  2. Revert your Windows 10 settings: How to do Reset this PC procedure
  3. Revert your Windows 10 settings: Using a recovery drive
  4. Revert your Windows 10 settings: Using installation disc to restore your PC
  5. Revert your Windows 10 settings: Using installation disc to reinstall Windows (also called clean Windows installation)

Before we proceed to the main topic, we would like to remind you that we accept requests for assistance regarding their Windows computers. If you have a problem that you can’t seem to find a solution to, send us your issue by following the link at the bottom of this page. Just remember, windows problems can sometimes be difficult to diagnose so kindly make sure that you give us very detailed description of the problem. You want to mention relevant history that may have led to the issue. The more information that you can provide, the higher the chance of us diagnosing the issue more efficiently. We also expect that you mention whatever troubleshooting step/s that you may have done before contacting us in order to prevent repeating them in our article. Again, the more details you can give us, the faster it is for us to pinpoint the cause and its corresponding solution.

Solution 1: Revert your Windows 10 settings: How to do system restore


If your Windows 10 computer seems to not work properly following an installation of an update, driver, or program and you can’t seem to figure out the cause, the best thing that you can do is to return operating system settings to a point before the installation. This point is called a system restore point. By default, Windows 10 operating system is set to create a system restore point whenever you install a program, driver, or a system update. If you changed this default setting previously, we recommend that turn on this system protection back on as we really can’t see any benefits to turn it off.

To turn on system protection back on, simply pull up the Control Panel, click on System, go to System protection, and click on Configure button. Once you’re in the System Protection menu, make sure that you select Turn on system protection.

Once you’ve turned on system protection again, you can then proceed on how to restore your Windows 10 PC from a particular system restore point. Here’s how:

  • Press and hold (or right-click) the Start
  • Select Control Panel.
  • Search Control Panel for Recovery.
  • Select Recovery.
  • Click Open System Restore.
  • Click Next.
  • Choose the restore point related to the problematic app, driver, or update, and then select Next > Finish.

Solution 2: Revert your Windows 10 settings: How to do Reset this PC procedure


Whether you have a general performance issue and you are not sure why it’s happening, or you want  to sell or give the PC away, it’s always best to reset your PC. While system restore lets you return to previous point in time, Reset this PC option gives you a more drastic solution by letting you remove personal files before reinstalling Windows 10 operating system.

In order to reset your PC, you can do the following steps:

  • Click on Settings.
  • Click on Update & security.
  • Select Reset this PC
  • Click Get started.
  • Pick an option to do (Keep my files, Remove everything, or Restore factory settings)

For reference, here are the options and what each of them will do:

Keep my files

  • Reinstalls Windows 10 and keeps your personal files.
  • Removes apps and drivers you installed.
  • Removes changes you made to settings.
  • Removes any apps your PC manufacturer installed. (If your PC came with Windows 10, apps from your PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.)

Remove everything

  • Reinstalls Windows 10 and removes all your personal files.
  • Removes apps and drivers you installed.
  • Removes changes you made to settings.
  • Removes any apps your PC manufacturer installed. (If your PC came with Windows 10, apps from your PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.)

If your computer restarts and prompts you to confirm that you want to clear the TPM, press a key to follow the prompt.

We recommend that you select Remove everything option if you’re planning on selling or giving your computer away because it makes it difficult for others to recover files you’re removed. Remove everything option can take some time to complete so make sure to give it enough time to be completed. In our experience, it took about 2 hours to allow a laptop do this option.

Restore factory settings

  • Reinstalls the version of Windows that your PC came with (either Windows 8 or Windows 8.1) and removes your personal files.
  • Removes apps and drivers you installed.
  • Removes changes you made to settings.
  • Reinstalls any apps your PC manufacturer installed on your PC.

Bear in mind that option isn’t available on all computers. If you recently upgraded your operating system to Windows 10, keep in mind that this option will revert your operating system back to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

In the event that you can’t pull up Settings menu, you can also reset by restarting your computer first via the sign-in screen. Here’s how:

  • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key +L to get to the sign-in screen.
  • Hold the Shift key down while you select Power.
  • Click Restart in the lower-right corner of the screen.
  • After your PC restarts, select Troubleshoot.
  • Select Reset this PC.

Solution 3: Revert your Windows 10 settings: Using a recovery drive


Using a recovery drive to restore or recover your PC is rarely used but can be an effective solution if you can’t boot your computer in the first place. We are assuming of course that you have prepared a recovery drive (USB) previously. For steps on how to create a recovery drive, kindly follow this link. If the recovery drive is now ready, here are the steps that you must do:

  • Connect the recovery drive to your computer.
  • Turn on your PC.
  • On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
  • Select an option. If you don’t see the Choose your option screen, your PC might not be set up to boot from a drive. This is a BIOS setup so we are assuming that you know how to access your computer’s BIOS and changed the boot order before attempting this solution. You can also check your PC manufacturer’s website for info on how to change your PC’s boot order.
    • Restore from a system restore point by selecting Advanced Options > System Restore. This will remove recently installed apps, drivers, and updates that might be causing your PC problems, but it won’t affect your personal files.
    • You can also Recover from a drive. This will reinstall Windows 10 (unless your PC came with Windows 8/8.1 and a recovery partition from your PC manufacturer, in which case it’ll reinstall the version of Windows that came with your PC). It’ll also remove your personal files, apps and drivers you installed, and changes you made to settings.

Bear in mind that Recover from a drive option will not be available if you chose not to back up system files when you created your recovery drive.

Solution 4: Revert your Windows 10 settings: Using installation disc to restore your PC


If you haven’t prepared a recovery drive in advance before your computer started acting up, you don’t need to worry as you can still make your Windows 10 PC work with the help of an installation disc. You will need another working PC for this procedure though so make sure you have one. Below are the exact steps on what you need to do:

  • On a working PC, visit the link for Microsoft software download website.
  • Download the media creation tool by clicking on the Download tool now button.
  • Run media creation tool.
  • Select Create installation media for another PC.
  • Choose a language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit).
  • Follow the steps to create installation media, and then select Finish.
  • Connect the installation media you created to your nonfunctional PC, and then turn it on.
  • On the initial setup screen, enter your language and other preferences, and then select Next. If you don’t see the Choose your option screen, your PC might not be set up to boot from a drive. This is a BIOS setup so we are assuming that you know how to access your computer’s BIOS and changed the boot order before attempting this solution. You can also check your PC manufacturer’s website for info on how to change your PC’s boot order.
  • Select Repair your computer. On the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Restore.

Solution 5: Revert your Windows 10 settings: Using installation disc to reinstall Windows (also called clean Windows installation)


The steps for this option may look similar to the previous option at first but be wary. Reinstalling Windows is unlike restoring to previous system restore point as it will erase your files, programs, customizations, and drivers. This step will basically revert all software settings to the original state of Windows, like when you first unpacked your computer. That said, be sure you know what you’re doing exactly before attempting it. This option also requires that you have the installation disc for Windows 10 as well. Below are the steps to do it:

  • On a working PC, visit the link for Microsoft software download website.
  • Download the media creation tool by clicking on the Download tool now button.
  • Run media creation tool.
  • Select Create installation media for another PC.
  • Choose a language, edition, and architecture (64-bit or 32-bit).
  • Follow the steps to create installation media, and then select Finish.
  • Connect the installation media you created to your nonfunctional PC, and then turn it on.
  • On the initial setup screen, enter your language and other preferences, and then select Next. If you don’t see the Choose your option screen, your PC might not be set up to boot from a drive. This is a BIOS setup so we are assuming that you know how to access your computer’s BIOS and changed the boot order before attempting this solution. You can also check your PC manufacturer’s website for info on how to change your PC’s boot order.
  • Select Install now.
  • On the Enter the product key to activate Windows page, enter a product key if you have one. If you upgraded to Windows 10 for free or bought and activated Windows 10 from the Windows Store, select Skip and Windows will automatically activate later. For more details, see Activation in Windows 10.
  • On the License terms page, select I accept the license terms (if you agree to them), then select Next.
  • On the Which type of installation do you want? page, select Custom.
  • On the Where do you want to install Windows? page, select a partition, select a formatting option (if necessary), and then follow the instructions.
  • When you’ve finished formatting, select Next.
  • Follow the rest of the setup instructions to finish installing Windows 10.

 


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If you are having a problem with your Windows computer, don’t hesitate to let us know about it. We understand how frustrating computer problems can be so, more so if you can’t find the right solutions at all. Our blog exists to help PC users and Windows community deal with their problems effectively. To engage with us, just fill out the questionnaire in this link and wait for our articles to be published. In order to help as many people as possible, we only provide our solutions via posts so please don’t expect that we will respond to your emails or private messages. By making all posts public, we can share our solutions to other users in a more efficient manner. We cannot guarantee a quick response so if your issue is time sensitive, please find another way to resolve your problem.

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