Can’t factory reset Windows 10? Try these 3 ways to fix it

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as a front-end web developer. Read more
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  • Not being able to reset Windows 10 can be extremely confusing, especially because you would resort to this action to fix another problem.
  • The most common reason for this error occurring is using a faulty Windows 10 installation when creating the reset point.
  • To start resolving this annoying problem, you should check your system for any corrupted elements and system file errors.
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A factory reset also referred to as a hard reset or a master reset, is a software restore for a computer or other device to its original state.

It does that by erasing all data and files stored in it to get the device back to its original state and manufacturer’s settings.

When doing a factory reset, it is possible to decide whether you want to keep your files or remove them, then reinstall the operating system.

The only data that is removed, however, is any that you added such as new apps, contacts, messages stored on your device, and multimedia files like music and photos.

Some users have complained about not being able to initiate the factory reset process on Windows 10, which has caused a lot of confusion.

To add even more to the problem, the error message displayed will vary considerably, even though at its base, it is the same error.

Here are some other variations:

  • There was a problem refreshing your PC, no changes were made
  • Can’t reset PC Windows 10
  • There was a problem resetting your computer computer

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

What are the main reasons for this error occurring?

The most common reason for the occurrence of this error is a corrupted Windows 10 Recovery image.

This can be caused by a variety of smaller issues, which can have a snowball effect in time:

  • Malware infection
  • Sudden loss of power for your PC
  • Corrupted system files
  • Mistakenly removing an important file from your system
  • Corrupted Windows file used when creating the recovery image
  • Not having your Windows activated

As you can see, small issues that seem unrelated could cause your recovery process to fail, but this guide will provide you with all the information you need to resolve it once and for all and even prevent it from happening in the future.

What can I do if I can’t factory reset Windows 10?

  1. Check your system for errors
  2. Use a system restore point
  3. Use the installation media

1. Check your system for errors

1.1. 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.

2.2. Run a 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.

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2. Use a system restore point

  1. Click the search tool from the taskbar, write control , and open the Control Panel.
  2. Choose Recovery from the list.
  3. Select Open System Restore.
  4. Click Next.
  5. Choose the restore point that is related to the problem-causing app, driver or update then select Next and Finish.
Note icon
NOTE
The system restore points available in your case will vary depending on when your system has created them, and if the option was activated in the first place.

Run a System Scan to discover potential errors

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Run a PC Scan with Restoro Repair Tool to find errors causing security problems and slowdowns. After the scan is complete, the repair process will replace damaged files with fresh Windows files and components.

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.

3. Use the installation media

3.1 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.

3.2. 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.

To advance this task further, it will depend on what your goal and circumstances are. There are two possible options:

➡ Using the ISO file on another PC

In case 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 in 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 reset the same 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: 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 because you didn’t set them up.

If you don’t see any restore points, then your system protection service is turned off. 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, and in the future, you will be able to revert any of the changes by simply restoring your system to the previous configuration.

As you can see, there are a variety of modalities that you can engage if your PC can not be reset. We presented them in order from the least intrusive to the final resort, which is reinstalling Windows entirely.

Did any of the above solutions work? Let us know by dropping your comment in the section below.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • First, try to restore your system from a system restore point and use a recovery drive. If if you find this too complicated, read our expert guide to solve this problem.

  • If your device freezes at any point during the factory reset, hold down the Power button until the system restarts. Try the factory reset again. If the computer is stuck in factory reset, here’s an excellent guide to fix it.

  • There is no function key that can restore your computer to factory settings. Here’s an awesome guide on how to reset your computer to factory settings.

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