A user should restore the default settings on his computer if he’s experiencing performance-related issues or if the programs and the operating system do not function properly. The process typically involves reinstalling the operating system and removing all files, settings and applications other than the system defaults.
Users whose computers run on the Windows operating system normally restore them to factory settings or a previous state if they introduce changes that end up harming the system, such as inadvertently installing malware or modifying certain settings in the registry that cannot be rectified manually.
Windows 8 users can choose between two options: resetting and refreshing. The first option involves using a recovery partition or a medium, such as a DVD or a USB drive, that contains files necessary to complete the process. Resetting also removes all personalized settings and files, making it important to back up information before proceeding. Refreshing is a less-comprehensive version of restoring the computer to factory settings that doesn't involve removing personalized settings and applications that have been downloaded from the Windows Store.
Users who operate computers that run on older versions of Windows can perform a clean installation of their operating system or use a recovery tool provided by the computer manufacturer. If the operating system doesn’t boot, the recovery tool can be accessed through the recovery interface by pressing F11 while the boot screen is displayed.