Can't Reset Windows 10? 5 Ways to Fix It Now

You can force a factory reset by using third party tools

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Key notes

  • There was a problem resetting your pc is one of the most common Windows reset issues.
  • Using a faulty Windows 10 installation when creating the reset point can be one of the causes.
  • If Windows won't reset to factory defaults, start by checking your system for corrupted elements and system file errors.
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Sometimes, you need to change your system settings to default, but some users complain that they can’t factory reset windows 10 for some reason.

There was a problem resetting your PC, no changes were made is the error that shows up and halts the process. Make sure to download and install the PC Health Check app on your Windows 10 PC to confirm that everything is working properly.

You can also download the PC Health Check app on Windows 7 and 11. Remember that if pc health check says compatible but Windows update says no, you’re probably dealing with file corruption.

After encountering the error, most are looking for a way to reset their laptop hard or force it to factory settings.

Now there are many ways in which you can perform a factory reset in Windows 10:

  • There is the Reset this PC option that allows you to choose whether you’ll keep your files, or remove them altogether, and then reinstall Windows (Settings >Update & Security > Reset this PC > Get started).
  • You can also perform a Windows 10 factory reset from boot/login screen/lock screen PC (Simply press the Windows logo key + L, then hold the Shift key down as you select Power >Restart, then Troubleshoot > Reset this PC).
  • Make use of your BIOS/ USB key, or even factory reset Windows 10 from Command Prompt

There are plenty of options and just as many potential obstacles. If the Reset this PC option does not work, you can always try the CMD.

But what if the good old Command Prompt fails to recognize commands such as system reset or if systemreset – cleanpc/factoryreset simply does not work?

The systemreset is not recognized as an internal or external command operable program or batch file error is more common than you think. Your Windows 10 PC can get stuck in a factory reset loop and keep resetting forever, or worse, you can end up with a Windows that won’t activate after reset and simply remain stuck in boot.

No matter what your preference is regarding troubleshooting the reset feature on Windows 10, this guide will cover them all, so make sure to follow the steps exactly.

But first, let’s see some potential causes for which you can’t restore Windows 10 to factory settings.

Why can’t I factory reset my Windows 10 PC?

The most common reason for the occurrence of this error is a corrupted Windows 10 Recovery image. Nevertheless, it can be caused by a variety of smaller issues, which can have a snowball effect in time. Some of them are the following:

  • Malware infection: This is the most common reason users can’t factory reset Windows, and an effective antivirus should help in this case.
  • Sudden loss of power for your PC: Continous power supply is vital for the effective functioning of the PC, and sudden fluctuations or loss of power can severely affect it.
  • Corrupted system files: If the system files are corrupt, it’s likely that you won’t be able to reset the OS in addition to performing other critical functions.
  • Mistakenly removing an important file from your system: The OS contains several important files that allow the reset to complete, and if these are missing, the operation won’t go through.
  • A corrupted Windows file was used when creating the recovery image: Another likely reason you can’t reset Windows 10, but it can be easily fixed using specialized software.
  • Not having your Windows activated: Activating Windows is necessary to perform a range of functions, and the process is quick.

Moreover, our readers reported similar issues that can be addressed by following the solutions below. The most common ones are the following:

  • There was a problem resetting your PC no changes were made – By using a system restore point, you can go back in time before this error occurred on your PC.
  • There was a problem resetting your PC from USB – You can opt to reset your computer by using software solutions, or you can try to create a new Windows 10 bootable USB drive.
  • There was a problem resetting your PC without a password – By clicking the Forgot your password link you can proceed to reset your previous one. This works if you can’t factory reset Windows 10 without a password.
  • Can’t factory reset Windows 10 without losing data – in some instances, the option to keep your personal files might not be available. You’ll have to save them externally before proceeding with the reset.
  • Can’t factory reset Windows 10 from BIOS – Some users tried to reset their PC directly from the BIOS, but the option was missing. This is most commonly due to file corruption.

Without further ado, let’s jump right into the list of effective remedies that you can apply in order to solve yet another Windows 10 error. Follow along!

How do I force a factory reset on Windows 10?

1. Use specialized software

Even though you can perform these steps manually as well, considering the high possibility of causing system instability, we recommend that you first try using specialized software to resolve the can’t factory reset windows 10 issue.

This software automatically restores registry values to their default version without affecting personal files or data.

2. Use a system restore point

1. Click the search tool from the taskbar, write control , and press Enter to open the Control Panel app.

launch control panel from windows search

2. Choose Recovery from the list.

recovery section in control panel

3. Select Open System Restore.

open system restore

4. Click Next.

click next

5. Choose the restore point that is related to the problem-causing app, driver or update then select Next and Finish.

choose the restore point

If you can’t factory reset Windows 10, you can use a system restore point to fix the problem. This makes your computer revert to an earlier point in time, also known as a system restore point, generated when you install a new app, driver, or Windows update, or when you create a restore point manually.

Restoration will not affect personal files, but it will remove any apps, drivers, and updates that were installed after the restore point was created.

Needless to say, there are plenty of alternatives to the Control Panel and you can use the method with which you are most comfortable in order to enter the recovery mode in Windows 10.

Note icon NOTE
The system restore points available in your case will vary depending on when your system created them and if the option was activated in the first place.

3. Check your system for errors

3.1. Run a DISM scan

  1. Press Win + X keys and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin).
  2. Copy-paste the following command and press Enter to run it: DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth
  3. Wait for the process to complete – could take up to 30 mins to complete.

If this does not solve the can’t factory reset windows 10 issue, run the scan below.

3.2. Run an SFC scan

  1. Press Win + X keys and choose Command Prompt (Admin) or PowerShell (Admin).
  2. Run the following command by pressing Enter: sfc /scannow
  3. After the process is completed, type Exit or manually close the console window.

These two commands will check for any damaged system files and repair them as needed. Thus it will fix the can’t factory reset windows 10 problem.

4. Disable the REAgentC.exe

  1. Press Windows then type cmd and open the resut as an administrator by clicking that option under the result on the right side.cmd-run-admin 0x80070002 windows update
  2. Type or paste the following command and press Enter to disable this Windows tool: Reagentc /disablereagent-disable can't reset windows 10

This program also allows you to administer recovery options and customize recovery settings. It is possible to execute the REAgentC command on either an offline Windows image or a Windows operating system that is already running.

This should solve the can’t factory reset windows 10 issue.

5. Use the installation media

5.1 Download and run the tool

  1. Choose the Media Creation Tool for your Windows version.
  2. Click Download tool now.
  3. Navigate to the preffered download location on your HDD.
  4. Click Save.
  5. Run the Media Creation Tool by double-clicking it.

5.2. Set up the tool

  1. Wait for the app to load, and click Accept when the Applicable notices and license terms window appears.
  2. Select Create installation media for another PC.
  3. Tick the box next to the Use the recommended options for this PC option, and click Next.
  4. Choose the ISO file option if you plan on creating a DVD, or choose USB flash drive if using a USB stick, and click Next.
  5. Navigate in Windows Explorer window and choose a location for your Windows ISO file, and click Save.
  6. Wait for the download process to complete.

With this, you can now factory reset windows 10. To advance this task further, it will depend on your goal and circumstances. There are two possible options:

➡ Using the ISO file on another PC

If you’re creating the ISO file on a different PC than the one you want to reset, simply click the Finish button and follow the steps required to create a bootable USB drive by using the ISO file you created.

After you have the bootable USB drive created, follow these steps:

  1. Plug your bootable drive into a USB port on the PC you want to reset.
  2. Restart your system, and boot from the USB.
  3. On the Install Windows screen, choose Repair your computer.
  4. Click on Troubleshoot.
  5. Select Advanced options.
  6. Choose Reset this PC.

➡ Reset the same PC you used to create the ISO file

If you want to factory reset the same Windows 10 PC that you used to create the ISO file, follow these steps:

  1. Double-click the ISO file from the location you saved it.
  2. Open the setup.exe file to run the installation.
  3. Click the Next button.
  4. Wait for the Windows installation to check for updates.
  5. Click on Accept in the Applicable notices and license terms window.
  6. Wait for the installer to download any updates.
  7. Click the Change what to keep link.
  8. Choose between the 3 options presented, depending on what your goal is.
    1. The first option will allow you to keep all your files.
    2. The second option will remove all files other than your personal items.
    3. The third will remove everything from your system and perform a clean re-install.
  9. Click Next.
Note icon NOTE
The installation will take some time, and your computer will restart a few times, so make sure not to turn it off.

What can I do if I don’t have any restore points?

You might find yourself in a situation in which you mistakenly deleted the recovery partition, or in the situation presented below, in which there are no restore points when you want to factory reset windows 10.

Your system protection service is turned off if you don’t see any restore points. This implies that the solution mentioned above will not apply to you, but it is still a good idea to follow the steps described below to set it up for later use:

  1. Press the Win + X keys and choose Settings.
  2. Scroll down and choose Update & Security.
  3. Choose Backup from the right-side menu.
  4. Click the Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link.
  5. Choose Security and Maintenance.
  6. Click Recovery.
  7. Select Configure System Restore.
  8. Click the Configure button.
  9. Tick the circle next to Turn on system protection.
  10. Set the disk space usage by moving the blue selector, and click OK.

This will ensure that your system will automatically create restore points whenever a big change is applied. In the future, you can revert any of the changes by restoring your system to the previous configuration.

Tip icon Tip
Many users land on this error message when trying to reset Windows 10: Your PC can’t be reset because it’s running Windows To Go.

Unlike a typical installation, Windows To Go does not support refreshing or resetting, which makes it impossible to revert to the manufacturer’s standard.

In many cases, Windows confuses the installation of new partitions (such as SSD) with users running a Windows to Go workspace from a USB drive, which leads to Windows factory reset not working.

Your best bet to solve the can’t factory reset windows 10 issue is to disable this option altogether, and here’s how to do that.

How to disable Windows To Go:

  1. Type regedit in the search area from the Start Menu or open the Run menu and type in regedit.exe.
  2. Once you opened the Registry Editor, navigate to this key in the left pane: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
  3. Check the right pane for this value PortableOperatingSystem
  4. If it’s there, simply right-click and delete it.
  5. The final step is to exit the Registry Editor and restart your PC.

After completing these steps, the can’t factory reset windows 10 issue should be solved.

What do you do when your laptop won’t factory reset?

If you can’t factory reset Windows 10, first check for file corruption and try to repair/update any damaged drivers or programs. If that doesn’t work, consider reverting to a restore point and then try to reset your laptop.

Users commonly complained about factory reset problems on these brands/manufacturers: HP, Lenovo, Dell, Asus, Acer, and Toshiba.

As you can see, you can engage in various modalities if you’re unable to factory reset Windows 10.

We presented them in order from the least intrusive to the final resort, reinstalling the OS entirely. Did any of the above solutions work? Let us know by dropping your comment in the section below.

More about the topics: PC Reset, system restore