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Resetting your PC can be a good way to clear out old junk files and help reduce technical issues within your Windows PC. In the past, you used to have to rely on physical disk media and ISO files to reinstall Windows. Now, though, Microsoft has actually made it much easier, and you can reset your Windows PC to get a fresh start directly from the operating system.

How to reset a Windows 11 PC

Reseting a Windows 11 PC only requires a few essential steps. Microsoft offers two options for resetting your PC—you can keep your files, which makes the process easier, or you can delete everything. If you want to delete everything and start completely fresh, you can backup any important files to an external drive or to your preferred cloud service.

Once you have everything backed up, it’s time to get to the bread and butter of the situation. Go to Start > Settings > System > Recovery and then select Reset this PC.

At this point, you’ll have the two options I mentioned before. If you want to keep your files and just reinstall Windows, choose Keep my files, choose your preferred storage option (cloud or local) and then change any other settings that you see that you want to change. If you aren’t sure about a setting, leave it set to default. When you’re ready to continue, set Restore preinstalled apps to no and then continue through the process (if you don’t see Restore preinstalled apps in the settings, it means your PC didn’t come with any preinstalled apps that you can configure).

The process for wiping everything is pretty much the same, though you’ll have to confirm that you do want to wipe all your files before continuing. Now, all you need to do is let Windows complete the process, and then run through the setup to get everything back to where you want it.

How to reset a Windows 10 PC

Depending on which version of Windows 10 you are running, you will have to go about this process differently.

If you’re running a version of Windows 10 that is older than version 2004, you’ll need to utilize the Fresh Start option. Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Defender > Device performance & health > Fresh Start.

Next, select Additional info, then hit Get Started and follow the settings here.

If you’re running a version of Windows 10 that is newer than version 2004, follow these steps:

Start > Settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Reset this PC > Get Started. Select Keep my files if you want to start over with all your files still saved, or backup all your important files beforehand and choose to delete everything. Make sure to change Restore preinstalled apps to No and then click continue to finish the process and reset your PC.

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