How Do You Factory Reset a Computer?

To factory reset your computer, disconnect all peripherals and external devices, such as smartphones, tablets and flash drives. Restart the computer, and follow the instructions in your owner’s manual to get to Advanced Boot Options or the equivalent. Follow the prompts until you reach Factory Image Restore.

  1. Back up all crucial data and files

    Save everything from your computer that you want to preserve on an external memory source, such as an external hard drive or a jump drive. A factory reset returns your computer’s memory to its original status, deleting any items you have added.

  2. Disconnect all devices and peripherals

    Unhook everything from the computer except for the input devices (mouse and keyboard) and the monitor; this includes printers, scanners, network and modem cables and any external memory sources as well as anything connected to USB ports. Take the computer from the docking station if it is a docked laptop.

  3. Restart the computer, and follow instructions to complete factory reset

    Follow the procedure for restarting your computer, and access the menu for Advanced Boot Options. For Windows computers, this involves pressing F8 repeatedly as the computer boots up. Follow the menu to choices that include System Repair or Recovery. Log in as the administrator. Access Factory Options or Tools, and proceed to the Factory Image Restore option. Confirm that you want to complete the factory restore when prompted. The exact path to this destination depends on the operating system and computer manufacturer.