Can you factory reset Windows 7 without the installation disk?

Cristián T September 23, 2013

My brother has a computer running Windows 7 and he’s having a bunch of problems running third party apps on it, like Skype, Steam, League of Legends, Chrome, and others. He’s pretty sure that factory resetting the computer will fix it, but he doesn’t have the Windows installation disk to do it.

He was wondering if there was any way that he could factory reset his computer without the installation disk. Help would be much appreciated.

  1. Oron J
    September 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Plenty of good answers above. Most laptops, if delivered from the factory, will have a hidden "restore" partition and can be "rebuilt to original factory settings" without any additional software. Search the manual for "rebuild" or "restore" and you'll find the application or more likely, the keyboard combination to press at startup to get into the restoration software. Just remember to back up all the data first!

  2. Hovsep A
    September 23, 2013 at 7:28 am

    if it is OEM perhaps you need the manufacturer dvd, and on some occasions you will need to reactivate windows so depending on the situation perhaps you are not allowed more than 1 activation...

  3. Alan W
    September 23, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Here's another link with other languages, again they are untouched and legal:

  4. Alan W
    September 23, 2013 at 6:17 am

    You can download an official untouched ISO from this link:

    All you need is to burn it to disk and your serial number of course.

  5. Jan F
    September 23, 2013 at 1:06 am

    Yes and no.

    You either need a Windows 7 installation DVD, a recovery disk or recovery partition to do a full "reset" (restore or re-installation) of the system.

    You could try restoring the oldest system restore point available but most of the time this will be long after Windows has been run for the first time.

    You can somewhat get close to a clean state by uninstalling all third party software, running CCleaners registry cleaning and then creating a new user and delete the old one.

    However, unless you use one of the first options (factory restore, re-installation) any issues deeper in the system will persist e.g. registry issues, system file, service or component issues.

    Does he have issues with all third-party applications or just selected ones? For example all the applications you mentioned have some interaction over the network. Depending on the error maybe he is just looking at a bad network driver?

    To the best of my knowledge, Skype and League of Legends require some version of the .NET Framework, most games on Steam do too. Chrome technically does not require it but I have heard of issues (regarding default browser option or sandboxing or something) and this Framework so this might be another possible source too.

    Anyway, if there is no recovery disk or recovery boot option for his system and he has no one who can lend him a Windows 7 installation DVD I believe trying to resolve the issues he is getting is the best option.
    After all he will never really get a clean system regardless of all the cleaning he is doing and therefor might never really solve his issues after putting hours into this approach.