Computers are complex pieces of equipment. With many components interacting with each other, it is inevitable that occasionally something will go wrong with the software which deems your computer inoperable. If you are unfortunate enough to be in this position, the quickest and easiest way to get back up and running is to do a factory reset. A factory reset will restore your computer to the state it was in when you bought the computer which means that you will have to reinstall any software that you installed after you bought your computer. Doing a factory reset will also erase any documents or photos, in fact, all files, so backing up is essential prior to resetting if it is possible to do so. You will also need to ensure you have your Windows serial number to hand as you will be required to re-enter this in order to reactivate Windows with Microsoft.
There are two methods to performing a factory reset. The one you choose will be dependant on your individual setup. Nowadays, most vendors create a recovery partition on your hard disk instead of giving you the physical Windows media. If you have a recovery partition, you will most likely have a drive labelled ‘Recovery’. If you don’t have this partition, the chances are that you will have the Windows software on DVD. This article will cover performing a factory reset for both of these scenarios.
Performing a factory reset from a recovery partition.
To restore your computer using the recovery partition, you need to intercept the loading of Windows when you turn on the computer. You do this by constantly pressing the F8 key until Windows loads its control menu. This will give you the Windows Advanced Boot Options. From the menu, select Repair Your Computer. This will force Windows into to start up its system recovery utility. From here you can attempt to diagnose and fix issues should you wish to, but to do a complete factory reset, select the Windows Complete Restore option. Next you need to locate the drive that contains the restore information, this is your recovery partition. Once this is selected, Windows will warn you that all files will be erased during this operation. If you are happy to continue, click OK. Windows will now reboot and start up in installation mode. At this point you can leave it to install although you will need to provide account and locale information towards the end of the setup. You will also need to enter any wifi settings before you are able to activate Windows with the Microsoft servers.
If you have got this far, your computer will now be back to its factory default settings. It is recommended that you perform Windows updates and install a reputable antivirus solution before installing any other software.
Performing a factory reset from a Windows DVD
If you have a copy of Windows on DVD, you can use this to initiate the system reset. Insert the DVD into your drive and reboot the machine, allowing it to boot from the DVD when prompted. This will take you directly into the Windows startup console. Enter your locale information to ensure that the keyboard behaves in the correct manner and then select ‘Repair Your Computer’. Windows should detect your operating system automatically. Select this and click Next to proceed. You will now be presented with the System recovery options mentioned above. From this point you can follow the same instructions as the recovery partition method.
Performing a factory reset is a quick and easy way to restore your computer to its original settings but it is no substitute for implementing a regular backup strategy. Once a factory reset has begun, there is no way to recover any of your data files so take some time to try other recovery methods and only use the factory reset as a last resort.