4 Ways to Factory Reset Your Windows Computer
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A reset to factory conditions is the quickest and easiest way to return to normal, whether your system has been running slow or caught a virus. Not only does it get your computer clean, but it will also run at optimal performance. Here are four different ways you can reset your Windows computer.

Use the Recovery Partition

Modern computers come with the operating system pre-installed and a recovery partition to restore it.

A hard drive partition How To Shrink & Extend Volumes Or Partitions in Windows 7 How To Shrink & Extend Volumes Or Partitions in Windows 7 In Windows 7 and Windows Vista, resizing your volumes or re-partitioning your hard drive has become a lot easier than in previous Windows versions. However, there are still a few pitfalls that will require you... Read More is a portion of the hard drive that is sectioned off. Primarily, they’re used to limit the amount of space that can be used for certain data. For example, a hard drive could have several partitions: a recovery partition which contains all the recovery setup files necessary for a clean refresh of the operating system, a partition for the operating system and all installed programs, and a partition for all extra data.

Starting a recovery via the recovery partition usually means that you have to press one of the “F” keys (such as F1-F12) the moment after you hit the power button. These should be:

  • Acer – Alt + F10
  • Asus – F9
  • Dell/Alienware – F8
  • HP – F11
  • Lenovo – F11
  • MSI – F3
  • Samsung – F4
  • Sony – F10
  • Toshiba – 0 (not numpad) while turning on, release key when Toshiba logo appears

Doing so tells the BIOS (the basic firmware that runs primitive functions The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults The BIOS Explained: Boot Order, Video Memory, Saving, Resets & Optimum Defaults Your computer’s BIOS (basic input/output system) is the low-level software that starts when you boot your computer. It performs a POST (power-on self test), initializes your computer’s hardware, and passes control over to the boot... Read More ) that you’d like to run the recovery setup rather than load your Windows installation. Then, simply follow the on-screen instructions to complete the recovery — it should be very similar to a full-screen installation of any other program.

Once the recovery installer has completed, your computer will be in the exact same state as it was when you turned it on for the first time. This may also include all of the bloatware that came with it.

Use Recovery Discs

If your computer doesn’t have a recovery partition, but it did come with the operating system pre-installed, it should have come with recovery discs. These are CDs or DVDs that contain all of the recovery setup data that would normally be stored in a recovery partition.

In other words, the experience with the recovery discs should be exactly the same as it is with a recovery partition. The only difference is that you have to boot off of the discs rather than a recovery partition.

Christian wrote up a general guide to creating a Windows 8 Recovery Disc How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk How to Create a Windows 8 Recovery Disk The days of reinstalling Windows when it acts up are long since gone. All you need to fix Windows 8 is a recovery disk, either on CD/DVD, a USB or an external hard disk drive. Read More , including how to save it to a USB flash drive.

Some manufacturers also include utilities that allow you to burn your own recovery discs, offering you another location for the recovery data. Or you could delete the recovery partition so you can use more of your hard drive for your stuff. Recovery partitions tend to be in the 20GB vicinity, so you’re gaining quite a bit of extra space.

Note that by deleting the recovery partition, you won’t be able to use the “boot by pressing an F key” method of starting the recovery; you’ll be forced to use the discs that you burned yourself from then on. Be careful not to scratch them!

“Refresh” or “Reset” Windows 10 and 8

If you use Windows 8 or later, you’re in luck. Microsoft implemented its own functions for “refreshing” and “resetting” your computer 4 Ways to Reset Windows 10 and Reinstall From Scratch 4 Ways to Reset Windows 10 and Reinstall From Scratch Windows 10 is still Windows, meaning it will need a fresh start every once in a while. We show you how you can get a fresh Windows 10 installation with as little effort as possible. Read More , which make a factory reset quicker and easier. These options allow you to reset your computer based on what you want.

Refreshing” means that you get to keep your personal data as well as installed Metro apps, but it’ll delete all other applications.

Resetting,” which Windows called “Remove everything and reinstall Windows,” means that you lose everything, including your Metro apps, personal data, and other applications and return to a fresh copy of Windows. In other words, there’s no need to completely reinstall Windows 8 if there are any issues.

Resetting” your computer is also a great way to prepare it for sale to another person, so that Windows remains installed, but all of your personal files and programs are erased.

To access these settings, open the Settings charm from the right sidebar, and then choose the Change PC settings option at the bottom. Select the General category, and then choose the Get Started button under your option of choice.

You can even access these options in case your computer fails to boot Windows properly.

Reinstall Windows From Scratch

If your computer didn’t come with any recovery data at all, then you’ll have to reset your computer the old fashioned way: by installing vanilla Windows and finding all necessary drivers. This method is certainly more tedious, but it gives you more control over the reset process.


For this method, you’ll need your Windows license key Getting a New Computer or Reinstalling Windows? Make a List Of Your License Keys Getting a New Computer or Reinstalling Windows? Make a List Of Your License Keys Imagine you re-installed Windows and discovered halfway through that you're missing the license keys to some of your programs. Save yourself a headache and keep a list of your product keys for emergencies. Read More and installation media. Here’s you can get a cheap Windows license Need a Legal & Cheap Windows License? These Are Your Options Need a Legal & Cheap Windows License? These Are Your Options Windows is expensive. For the budget-conscious among you, we have compiled tips and tricks that will help you save money on your next Windows license or product key. Read More .

Windows 7 All Versions Home Premium Professional Basic Enterprise 32-64 Bit Install | Boot | Recovery | Restore USB Flash Drive Disk Perfect for Install or Reinstall of Windows Windows 7 All Versions Home Premium Professional Basic Enterprise 32-64 Bit Install | Boot | Recovery | Restore USB Flash Drive Disk Perfect for Install or Reinstall of Windows Buy Now At Amazon $12.99

Once complete, you’ll also be free of any bloatware that may have plagued your computer in the past.

Be aware that if you choose this method although you have a recovery partition on your system, you need to be cautious when choosing which partition to install Windows to. It may try to use the entire hard drive and thereby wipe out your recovery partition (if you have one). You can consciously accept this fact and continue, but you may also want to keep it just in case.

Final Thoughts

With all these options to factory reset your computer, you will hopefully find one that applies to your computer if the need arises. If you’re unsure whether you can take advantage of recovery partitions or rescue discs 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore 5 Best Rescue Disks For A Windows System Restore Every Windows user should be aware of at least one bacon-saving, data-recovering system restore disk. It can help you access your computer to make repairs and backups, even when it won't boot. Read More , check with your computer’s manufacturer as they should have documentation available. You might also be able to purchase recovery media directly from the manufacturer.

What do you think is the best way to factory reset a computer? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credit: Gateway System Recovery by Mr Tickle – Wachoo Wachoo Tribe Congressman via Flickr

Explore more about: System Restore.

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  1. scott rader
    December 1, 2017 at 2:17 am

    i commented earlier and forgot to add, i have a 2009 asus that ran win 7 until a month ago until i downloaded win 10 and it has made my computer run worse/slower with long stalls sometimes resulting in having to shut down the pc then restarting.

  2. scott rader
    December 1, 2017 at 2:15 am

    why do instructions never match what my computer says. settings, i have no "change pc settings" option. looked at drop down top left, advance settings and it says reset, but the reset is just a refresh. i want to strip everything off except the OS. how do you do that?

  3. billiejean
    October 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    PLease help me i have a windows 8 and i was reseting it and it died while it was and now it really messed up and it only have a few apss on it

  4. SlimSylv
    September 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    I bought an new Acer TC-710 tower, & a spiffy new Samsung 24 inch monitor, back in July 2016 & had an IT guy install it all for me, as I am over 70 & have eyesight problems. I was upgrading from WIN XP PRO. Boy what a shock. I couldn't afford for him to stay & give me tuition, so I am still rather shell-shocked. It's now almost October 2016 & in my exploration of the personalisation offerings, it has left me with some major problems. I cannot read ANY dropdown menus anywhere. I found a black screen with a lime green font colour easiest to read, but that doesn't equate into the ability to read everything. I am using WIN 10 High contrast theme No 2, BTW. I also have font size problems. I have explored the add-ons for Firefox which work in some cases, not in others. Some websites are almost illegible, with a mix of overlapping text in different sizes. I must say not a fan of using these, as they are never explained in depth for the non-techie user.......I also had problems when trying to customise the pics I wanted to use on different screen views....such as a screen saver, (yes, I know I don't need one, but I like to see different pics, aka slideshow....& have made a basic version that sorta works for me)....But when I was uploading/downloading (? what's the diff?) pics to use as a theme I found it had replaced 3 of the 4 already available theme pics & I could not undo what I had done. Please how do I find System Restore in WIN 10, & any tips for using it, given that I was only a few short months ago using WIN XP, (bring it back, I say) , & using it (Sys Res) frequently.
    Please if you can help, can you give me a pathway to follow, given my eyesight problems, rather than screenshots, which I cannot easily see, & which I find your screen doesn't always look like mine anyway, making it useless to follow....sorry this is so long, but it's easier to tell you it all at once, saving the back & forth for 'more info'.
    Hope this all makes sense.
    Thanks for your patience...

  5. Hank
    September 6, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I've been using snapshot programs for years. They work, they're fast, and they reduce my downtime. I like all of these ideas, but if you have a snapshot or disk image that is the best. Snapshots are going to take seconds to restore compared to the lengthy time needed to restore to a disk image.

    • Rathin
      July 2, 2018 at 8:13 pm

      Aren't snapshots available only for virtual machines?

  6. riya
    July 15, 2016 at 3:53 am

    sir,kya agr hum files ko delete krte h to delete ho to jati h,par puri trah se nhi,hum unhe recover kr skte h,to hum kya kre ki wo files puri trah se delete ho jaye recover na ho ske..plzz answer

    • Rishabh Gupta
      December 24, 2016 at 6:02 am

      You can recover your deleted files(not all) using any recovery software like recuva. But, that does not mean that your files are not completely deleted. They are deleted from operating system's point of view. Everything is saved in bits, as 0 and 1s, so when you command your OS to delete a file, it marks those locations as reusable(you might think that it should fill all those locations with 0s). So, it is there in the form of bits, but can be overwritten when needed. That is the reason why recovery software cannot recover some files (because they are overwritten). Hope that helps :)

  7. zokzik
    June 21, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    lg ?

  8. Alex Jorge
    April 25, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    This does not works.
    I can believe how "let say posters" offends peoples intelligence.
    [RF or Reality Factor] I myself has been targeted by US Surveillance for [years] due to my demoralizing and strong political opinion. at the point that UnitedStates [let's say civilian] Internet Service assigned to me. special filters BUFFERED with my keyboard typing for me to block myself searching Before I even reach THE ONLY ONE Search Engine [talking about Google Monopoly] all other search engine are submitted or filtered by Google Empire results. even the VIRTUAL Baidu withing UnitedStates [who was targeted After I talk to much about been the only Google Free search Engine [today is even worse].
    Now and this is the part that explain ALL THE ABOVE. for IT-Tech like me, who desperate is under LIVE MONITORING and able to fool those pathetic and miserable "whatever" is not only live suppression [you know by the dilate in the feed back] but governmental INJECTED scrips and bugs. [I know by the simple different to use MY against OTHERS not infected Laptops] THE BIOS got the JOB DONE. prepared BIOS specially for me, MIRRORING and OPENING PORTS to bypass all sort of TimeFreeze and SandBoxed softwares. The system is so stupid that some Live CD are able to detect DUMMIES BIOS and the Computer Start itself CAME OUT TWICE. To make it effective [Google Empire] eliminate from US Internet Service for Civilian, all those old school BIOS RESETTING Boot live CD and DVD, replacing with misleading posting like this. wish tell me that BIOS-SPYWARE or BIOS INJECTION is something official and very put in practice. other way Google Monopoly dint need to hide such things.
    This post is offense for OLD SCHOOL digital warriors [those who know the internet BEFORE Google takes over.

    • Daniel Lindsley
      May 28, 2016 at 2:18 am

      Seems to be on about politics or something. Ignore if you so please, readers, as it's in no way related to the discussion.

      • Alex Jorge
        May 28, 2016 at 2:52 pm

        Dude! IN UNITEDSTATES everything has to walk inside politic/economical acceptance, simple because the simple use of Internet itself is under federal laws and regulations.
        Ignorance dint change reality NEITHER FEAR.
        -Read my point again.
        ==> GOOGLE not only rules and own United States Internet as fact under economical and political convenience. [wish suppress hide and/or block what [governmental conveniences, payer's, corporations order them to do so] tapping. tweaking or manipulating what corporations makes "anything is not part or UnitedStates "System" acceptance by any meaning, there is a reason for copyrights laws, [wish mean in plain language. "You Really Don't Owns Nothing/Everything you Own according to UnitedState is not yours to determine his function/use/destiny, in some case you dint even has the right to destroy it. [that's the good news, the bad is Federal Laws Enforcement still creating more anti-natural abusive regulations due to the willing of US Society to bend over and takes anything/size the system wish to impose it in to their ??? Over that UnitedStates is known/proved to lie and deceive by nature/status-quo. to maintain as country his "level of control or benefice" engaging in the same Federal Criminal laws against individuals who dint submit to collective system mentality/infrastructure.
        ==> To make simple for those Good Ignorant Citizens. My case withing UnitedStates surveillance is as follow ==> http://youtu.be/vddULW_7CcM [titled Proof of Government Paid Internet Trolls and Free Energy Debunkers] <== I have "personal assigned pathetic ??? with I refers to them as "I paid their bills" [in the minimum civics rights violations] Lot worse unbelievable things I have for my case to International Educational and Political Arenas.]

        • INTernalJ
          July 23, 2016 at 5:08 am

          This is an article about hard-resetting windows. What're you on about? Something about politics and Google monopolies? That's like making a comment about income inequality on a porn video.

  9. klzxk
    April 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    My PC settings file is deleted... idk why or how. How do i restore it??

    • INTernalJ
      July 23, 2016 at 5:05 am

      And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why you always back up your stuff.

  10. Aiden
    February 21, 2016 at 3:40 am

    when i got to refresh it the option isn't there nor reset, there's just advanced options...

  11. aqib
    November 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    i accidentally turned my laptop off while resetting in windows 10 and it won't load up to boot screen what shall i do

  12. Mat
    November 23, 2015 at 5:50 am

    Is there a way to reset but keep a few programs installed i.e MS Office and a few others

  13. Anonymous
    August 21, 2015 at 3:17 am

    I am using Windows 8.1 on a Gateway upon using the reset and reinstall windows suggestion of asks if I am recyclying or continuing to use this computer. I chose continue to use because I am worried it will erase windows if I choose recycling. Will this erase windows if I choose that option? Thank you

  14. Anonymous
    July 30, 2015 at 7:08 am

    By using the first way, can your data be erased?

    • Caleb Alexander
      July 2, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      From what I see, Yes it can. but so far I can only check on an ACER but i'm pretty sure its the same all the way around

  15. GOSS
    May 19, 2015 at 2:52 am

    is it safe to say, that a fresh reinstall with a bitlockr enabled HDD and no passkey is not gunna happen correct?

    • Robert Ernest dela Cruz
      June 2, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      All you need to do is delete the partitions with BitLocker encryption using a partitioning utility like diskpart or a GParted Linux Live CD. After deleting the encrypted partitions, you should be able to repartition the space and add in an unencrypted partition that will house the fresh Windows install.

  16. tyler wright
    April 16, 2015 at 2:08 am

    I broke my laptop and while trouble shooting for a game I turned off both graphic cards I was using my hd tv to view my screen but now I can't do it how do i reset me laptop another way to factory setting. Or can I hook up to a computer monitor with a vga cord? Without the graphic card enable

  17. sandy
    March 23, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    I have Windows 7 and I can not get on the internet.. it saying that Windows do or later

    • Yoda
      April 4, 2016 at 3:57 am

      how are you accessing this website?

  18. Dragongirl
    March 21, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Hi, my screen is just black, can't get into safe mode neither, I did getting to the screen to reboot the whole thing but refreshing, resetting and restoring wont allow me, resetting asked me to insert the window cd but I don't have it...any other suggestions please?? I also tried everything on that screen, like fixing problems to run window, it scanned the PC then said fixing then a the end just said couldnt.

    • UnholyDevourer
      May 8, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Do you have another computer? Look up "Windows ISO" on Google, and download the ISO file. Use Rufus or a similar tool like UNetBootin, and create a reset disk. It should take about 10 - 15 minutes. Now, boot your computer with the reset disk plugged in, and go through Windows setup.

  19. Nostromov
    March 21, 2015 at 9:43 pm


    With the wrong Windows 10 Build 10041 Service disabled, can not run Recovery (from Settings), can't "Run as administrator" (2 use PowerShell to fix); totally broken, LOL; check out the screenshots @ https://imgur.com/a/NUQzz

  20. Fred
    March 11, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Does Linux have all these problems?

    Does Apple/Mac have all these problems?

    • Anonymous
      September 4, 2015 at 9:05 am

      No, because Mac is proprietary and you can download a dmg file to format & reinstall it.

      Yes, because you can't talk about Linux, since there are multiple distros all with their own features and programs.

  21. Anas
    March 7, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Hi I have a Toshiba Portege R700 and, as Jonathan, when I press the 0 key it does a long beep and starts normal again. What should I do?

  22. Jonathan
    February 15, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Hi I have a Toshiba satellite A105-S4011 and when I press the 0 key it does a long beep and starts normal again. What should I do?

  23. Randy
    February 2, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    I am wondering if I restore my computer to new state, (it has the option) will I lose my files and other programs like Microsoft Office (I have the full version). My PC is HP Compac with windows 7

    • UnholyDevourer
      May 8, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      Yes, you will.

  24. Cindy
    January 9, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Forgive me, I'm not a tech person, on the contrary, I'm technologically challenged. If we do not have windows 8 ( i have windows 7), wouldn't the methods described above wipe out everything we put on the computer, including all files and programs? I know the purpose of this is to get everything off of it that got on there over time one way or another that we don't want. However, how do we keep what we do want?

  25. Deegan
    January 9, 2015 at 3:22 am

    Thank jesus for your website. I have a Toshiba laptop and this is the only website that told me how to reset it.

  26. Leroy
    January 3, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    My laptop is asking for bootable device

    • UnholyDevourer
      May 8, 2016 at 9:05 pm

      Change your boot mode, and boot order. If UEFI, disable Secure Boot, and change to CSM. Otherwise, go the other way around.

  27. Rich
    April 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I have been running the RecImg Manager freeware from Slimware Utilities. It creates a recovery image as often as you want and then can restore any one. Simpler than the manual command line approach and managing the versions yourself.

  28. Daniel
    March 28, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    "Not only does it get your computer clean, but it will also run at optimal performance."

    Gee... What planet are you from? Most computers "factory default" filled with lot of jankware/bloatware. Usually best way do deal with it - format & clean install.

    • Danny S
      April 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      And that is one of my recommendations. Otherwise, bloatware + user apps will still slow down a computer more than just bloatware. Not that I'd like to keep that bloatware, but it'll still be faster than before.

  29. Mike White
    March 28, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I use a CustomRefresh.wim (recimg) for recovery; this keeps all your current programs and drivers in tack. Windows will register the CustomRefresh.wim for use with the Refresh your PC option. Important if you move this file use the (recimg /setcurrent) command to set it as the active recovery image.

  30. jelabarre
    March 28, 2014 at 2:49 am

    I am of the opinion that if a vendor does *not* include reinstall disks, I can only conclude all the software on the system is bootlegged or otherwise illegally copied. At that point they need to be turned into the BSA (Blackshirted Software Antagonists). If they have to start dealing with thousands of reports against the likes of Dell, HP and all the other computer vendors, then they'll have to re-evaluate the stupid procedure of not including disks.

    Of course, I can just DL a copy of Linux Mint for all *my* systems, and re-install the OS, apps, etc with a simple "dpkg --get-selections > packagelist" on the old system, and a "dpkg --set-selections < packagelist" on the new one.

    • dragonmouth
      March 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      "I am of the opinion that if a vendor does *not* include reinstall disks, I can only conclude all the software on the system is bootlegged or otherwise illegally copied."
      Not true. Major PC manufacturersd have discontinued providing reinstall disks as a cost cutting measure. They instead provide you with a Recovery Partition. When you're building millions of units, saving even a penny per unit can affect amount of profits.

  31. Paleolith
    March 28, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Macrium free passed my litmus test. I have successfully restored a Windows 8.1 rig using a Macrium free image and a Macrium free DVD emergency boot disk. Macrium was able to create the DVD for the "WIN PE" environment using my rig.

    I just checked the EaseUs and Paragon websites. The free versions only offer the Linux emergency boot disk. I am guessing--I don't think Windows 8 will boot Linux without a lot of fiddling with the UEFI settings. Who wants to do that? What good is an image if you cannot restore it when disaster strikes?

    Am I wrong?

    To go off on a tangent: Does one have to reactivate Windows when using the built-in refresh or restore? If one refreshes or restores do all Windows updates have to be installed again?

    Thank you.

  32. Ed
    March 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    Clonezilla after your system is the way you want it.
    Not the most user friendly, but it gets the job done.

    I have an image on an external HDD. Never had to restore in the 3.5 years of my Win 7 install, so don't even really know how well the restore would go.

    Not a huge deal, since I have the original OEM Win 7 DVD and a copy of all my apps and drivers.

  33. Henry Bowlsman
    March 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Strange how many comments recommend commercial software that just isn't needed.

  34. ValM
    March 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Not a criticism, but I do wish MUO would remember that computer users in their millions have NOT adopted Windows 8. Be nice if this sort of article recognised that Windows 7 was the almost-welcome relief after the horrors of Vista and that statistically its user base is on track to be as high as good ol' Windows XP.

    • Danny S
      April 1, 2014 at 6:15 pm

      That's understandable, but there's really only one tip that concerns just Windows 8 -- the rest apply to all versions of Windows. And while there are millions that haven't upgraded yet, there are also millions that have, and we don't want to leave them out.

  35. Eric S
    March 27, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    An easy way to get the drivers for your network adapters is use a wireless adapter as long as you have the install disc. Once that is installed you can go to device manager and get online and get the most up to date drivers!!

  36. A G B
    March 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    If You Are Using XP:

    A - Start Like If You Were Making A Total Install,

    B - Immediately After The F8 For The EULA, Press The Recovery Option.

    The XP Install Will Be Like A New One, But Your Non M$ Applications Will Not Need To Be Installed Again.


    • Bob
      March 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Instead of using recovery option try to install operating system, it will find your old one which you can then opt to repair- this will allow you to keep all your old progs and data.

    • A G B
      March 31, 2014 at 9:05 am


      There Are Several 'R' Options.

      I Know The Option, I Was Referring To, Starts With An 'R' And Is In The Screen Immediately Following The F8 Option EULA Screen.

      I Do Not Know The Exact 'R' Wording But I Think We Are Talking The Exact Same Option.

      XP, FOREVER !

  37. Davin Peterson
    March 27, 2014 at 9:34 am

    Your list is missing Emachines/Gateway. My old Emachines does have a recovery partiton and an app called the Emachine Recovery Center which would allow me to return it to the Factory. This machine orginally came with Vista and I upgraded it to Windows 7

  38. Haris D
    March 27, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Another way is to create a disk image once you installed windows with all appropriate drivers and apps. Then when there is a need for a reset, just apply the image over the existing installation and you will have a freshly installed windows with all drivers and apps needed.

    • GraveDigger
      March 27, 2014 at 4:12 pm

      I agree with the idea of creating a disk image of your freshly installed windows system for faster re-installs, but I take the idea a bit further. I periodically restore the clean disk image and then update it for all updates to Windows or system drivers that might've been released since. Then I create a new "clean" disk image of my system for future restorations. I keep a couple of these on an external hard drive and replace the older one with a new version so I have a redundant backup if needed.

      Another advantage of this method is I don't have tons of Windows updates to download if I need to restore my operating system (which isn't the case using the recovery partition or recovery media) and it's MUCH faster - I can restore my laptop in less than 5 minutes using the disk image versus several hours using the recovery DVDs I made when I purchased my Windows 7 laptop.

      I've been using the free version of Macrium Reflect to create and restore my disk images for several years - if you're looking for an effective method to reset your computer to the "fresh out of the box" experience or backup your system for those "just in case" situations, this is an excellent solution.

    • David Shear
      March 27, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      I agree absolutely. Make an image (I swear by EASUS ToDo Backup - Free for home use) when your system is setup and working exactly how you want (rather than how it arrived, full of the usual c**p).

      If you do images regularly (once per month) then you can always get back to a good working system, with a minimum of effort. Then apply your most recent data backup and away you go.

      These days, with fast USB3 external hard drice images, you can even treat images as your backups. Simply do them more often, You'll need to keep a data partition different from the system partition if you have very large amounts of data, of course.

      Individual items (files and/or folders) can easily be recovered from images with most decent backup software (including EASUS free version).

      Imaging needn't take away any productive time at all - simply set the image going, and tick the box "Switch off when image completed" before you go to bed (or out, or whatever).

  39. John Smith
    March 27, 2014 at 5:30 am

    I am just a LPS dedicated user ;)

  40. Allen G
    March 27, 2014 at 4:35 am

    Running this command:

    sfc /now

    Usually avoids needing a refresh. Running JLite tools to decrap registry in conjuction with that, 99% of problems are solved. -Former PC Technician

  41. Howard B
    March 27, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Microsoft *used* to require computer manufacturers to include either a Windows CD/DVD or system recovery discs. I haven't needed either of those (or a recovery partition, which just wastes a huge part of your HD) in 15 years or so...I build my own PCs from scratch, and download all the drivers I need.

    • Cody
      March 27, 2014 at 7:16 pm

      Reformatting one of those computers will make a HUGE difference for an average user, no matter how many "tune-ups" they run. Needed to reformat, maybe not. Should reformat- yes.