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Resetting Windows 10: Formatting your PC

Here 's how to format a Windows 10 laptop

Windows 10 can malfunction in many ways, from sudden file disappearances to issues when installing updates. If your computer is not working properly, with strange errors or poor performance, it may be time to restart.

You may also want to reset your Windows 10 laptop if you switch to a new device and want to sell your old one. Of course, you don't want to give a stranger a laptop full of confidential information and personal documents. So, before you exchange cash for technology, reformat your Windows 10 laptop.

Reformatting your PC or restoring it can remove any annoying background programs and delete unnecessary files from your computer's hard drive. The operating system offers several options that allow you to reset your Windows 10 computer.

Here's how to reset PC settings in Windows 10 using the settings menu. If you can't access the settings, scroll down to the Windows 10 formatting instructions on the login screen.

How to Reset PC Settings with Windows 10

  1. Go to Settings. In the Start menu tap the gear icon.
  2. Select "Updates and Security"
  3. Click Restore in the left pane.
  4. Windows offers you three main options: reset this PC, revert to the previous build, and Advanced Startup. Restarting this PC is the best option for a fresh start.

    Advanced Boot allows you to boot a USB drive or recovery disc, and "Go to Previous Build" is for Windows insiders who want to revert to a previous version of the operating system.

  5. Click Start in the Reset this PC section.
  6. Click 'Save My Files' or 'Delete All,' depending on whether you want to save the data files. Otherwise, the Delete All feature will do what it says: delete all files, photos, and programs. In any case, all your settings will return to the default and the program will be removed.
  7. Select Delete only my files or Delete files and clean the disk if you selected "Delete all" in the previous step.

    Disk cleaning takes longer, but ensures that if you pick up your computer, the next person will not be able to recover your deleted files. If you're saving your computer, select "Delete only my files."

  8. Click Next if Windows warns that you will not be able to revert to a previous version of the operating system.
  9. Click Reset when prompted. Windows will then reboot and take a few minutes to recover.
  10. Click Continue when prompted.