Your PC is likely full of files and programs you seldom or never use. There are apps you used once or twice before forgetting about them. Then there are registry files, failed downloads and bloatware that sneaks onto your computer without your knowledge. In addition to taking up storage space, all that clutter slows your computer down.
You probably have some photos and videos on your PC that you want to keep around. But there are sure to be files that you don’t need and are just unnecessary clutter. Tap or click here for instructions on getting rid of some common clutter on your PC.
Do you remember how well your PC ran when it was new? Not only was it faster, but it was easier to find what you needed without sifting through countless files and folders. You could get a new one but before you do that, consider resetting your PC. This can breathe new life into the machine. We’ll show you how to do it the right way.
Resetting your PC gives it a like-new feeling, and you can perform this task once a year to keep things running smoothly. This will also solve a few issues along the way, as obsolete, corrupt and broken files will be removed. You will even get rid of viruses and malware you weren’t aware of.
This is not simply rolling back an update or bringing your rig back to a restore point. This is a clean slate move, everything is removed, and Windows is reinstalled. Keep that in mind before you consider proceeding.
Since most users are still on Windows 10, we’re going to stick with that version of Microsoft’s operating system for these instructions.
Want to speed up your smartphone and give it room to breathe? Tap or click here for 3 ways to free up space on your phone.
First things first
Before anything else, you should see what you have. Check your list of installed software so you’ll know what to reinstall and what to leave out. Perhaps it’s time to let go of Snood? Here’s how: Tap the Start menu and go to Settings > Apps to see a list under Apps & features.
Look through your folders and check for photos and other files you do want to keep. Consider Office documents such as work papers, tax information, that unfinished novel, etc. Use the search function to find everything you’re looking for. All of this needs to be backed up before you move any further.
You have a couple of options. You can move your files to an external hard drive or flash drive or back them up via the cloud. We recommend our sponsor, IDrive.
IDrive makes it easy to back up all of your devices, whether you have a Mac, PC, Android, iPad or iPhone. You can also manage your backups through a single online account.
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Once all your stuff is safe and sound, it’s time to reset your PC using Windows.
Resetting your PC
Resetting your PC in Windows 10 lets you reinstall the OS and gives you the option to keep your files or remove them. You can reset your PC from Settings, the sign-in screen, or by using a recovery drive or installation media.
We’re focusing on removing everything, which includes programs, apps, settings and personal files that you installed on your PC. If your PC comes with Windows 10, apps added by the PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.
Windows 10 makes it simple to reset your PC with just a few clicks. Here’s how:
- Open the Start menu, then go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.
- Click Get started under Reset this PC.
- Click Remove everything.
- Next, you can choose how to reinstall Windows 10. Cloud download gets a fresh copy of Windows from Microsoft’s servers. It’s a good option if you have been experiencing problems such as corrupt files, plus you don’t need to use any other media such as a USB stick. The local download uses local files from your machine. Cloud download is easier to use but be careful if you have a data cap on your internet.
- After you’ve chosen a method to reinstall Windows, you can click Change settings for more options. Toggling the Clean data to Yes and it will clean the drive. This is a good idea if you are selling, giving away or just getting rid of your PC. It makes it harder to recover files.
- Cofirm your settings, then click Next to be taken to the final screen. You’ll get a reminder of what you’re doing here.
- Click Reset.
If you can’t get into Settings or your PC won’t start, and you haven’t created a recovery drive, you can reset your PC from the Windows sign-in screen or by using installation media. Tap or click here for instructions from Microsoft.
You can back up and factory reset your phone in a few easy steps as well. We’ll show you how, along with tips on preparing your phone for a sale or trade.