Restore To Factory Settings – Guide for Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10

Factory Settings or Factory Defaults usually refers to performing a restore or a reset of your computer to its original configuration as it first was when it was purchased.

Web destinations you visit office.com/setup 

A restore to factory settings is also known as a reset to factory settings or as a restore to factory defaults.

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Restoring a computer to its factory settings will delete all personal files: music, movies, pictures and any installed software applications or drivers that were not included in the original configuration of that computer.

Your computer can be restored to its factory settings if any of the following are applicable to you:

  • You have a recovery partition installed on your computer. This partition is usually installed by the PC manufacturer (examples: Dell or HP) and can be used to restore a computer.
  • You have a set of recovery discs for your computer. These discs usually come with your computer purchase and can be used to perform a restore.
  • You have the original Windows installation disc. This is the original disc that has Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10. You can use this media to reinstall Windows.
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If none of the above are applicable to you, you still have these options to restore or repair your computer:

  • Use System Restore. Windows XP-8 systems have the System Restore feature enabled by default which can be used to restore a PC to an earlier time. If System Restore wasn’t enabled, you won’t be able to use to restore the PC.
  • Use Easy Recovery Essentials. Depending on the error your computer is showing, use the Automated Repair feature to automatically fix boot errors or its System Restore feature to restore your computer plus other useful features: access and backup your files, web browser, antivirus scanner etc.
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Restore Windows XP to factory settings

If no tools are available from the PC manufacturer, e.g. recovery disc or recovery partition, use the following tools from Windows XP itself to reset a computer to its factory settings:

  • The System Restore software (read instructions if you can boot into the system or instructions if you don’t have a Windows XP CD)
  • The installation CD to perform a Repair Install or a reinstall of the system.
  • Easy Recovery Essentials.
  • Restore with installation CD.
  • If System Restore isn’t available for your Windows XP (turned off), use the original installation disc to perform a repair or reinstall Windows XP again.
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To perform a Repair Install, follow these steps:

  • Insert the original disc in the disc tray
  • Start the computer
  • Press any key when the computers shows the “Press any key to boot from CD” message
  • Wait for the Windows XP CD to load
  • At the Welcome to Setup screen, press Enter to access Repair Install.
  • Do not press R. You don’t need access to Recovery Console, but the Repair Install.
  • You must agree to the End-Use License Agreement. Press F8 to agree.

At the next screen, make sure that you have the drive where Windows XP is installed highlighted. This is usually presented as:

  • C:\Windows “Microsoft Windows XP Professional”
  • Confirm that Setup presents you with these 2 choices:
  • To repair the selected Windows XP installation, press R.
  • To continue installing a fresh copy of Windows XP without repairing, press ESC.
  • If you don’t have the “press R” option, you can’t perform a Repair Install.
  • Once highlighted, press R
  • Wait for the process to perform Repair Install
  • Windows XP Setup will begin to install the operating system again
  • Continue with the steps of the wizard to setup the system again

For more information about System Restore on Windows XP systems, read the Windows System Restore: Windows XP guide.

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If you can’t use the installation CD, you can use Easy Recovery Essentials:

  • Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Burn the ISO image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD
  • can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  • Boot Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Select Windows XP from the list and click System Restore
  • Choose a restore point
  • Easy Recovery Essentials will now create a backup of your current system configuration and begin restoring the selected snapshot
  • Once the process is complete, click Restart
  • Done! Your Windows XP should now start again.
  • Restore without installation CD

If you don’t have the original Windows XP installation CD, you may be able to use System Restore in Safe Mode if this feature was enabled from the start.

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To access Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  • Turn on the computer
  • Press and hold the F8 key right after booting
  • At the Windows Advanced Options screen, choose Safe mode with a Command prompt
  • Once the option is highlighted, press Enter
  • Login as Administrator or as any user with administrative rights to your PC
  • When Command Prompt appears, type this command and hit Enter:
  • %systemroot%\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

Follow the next of instructions to continue with System Restore.

If you can’t boot into Safe Mode, access System Restore from Easy Recovery Essentials:

  • Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Burn the ISO image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD
  • can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  • Boot Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Select Windows XP from the list and click System Restore
  • Choose a restore point
  • Easy Recovery Essentials will now create a backup of your current system configuration and begin restoring the selected snapshot
  • Once the process is complete, click Restart

Done! Your Windows XP should now start again.

Other options for restore

Method #1: Reinstall Windows XP

If Fix #1 (Repair Install) explained above doesn’t fix the computer, you can also reinstall the system to have a hard reset of your system.

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Reinstalling Windows XP will delete all personal files. Use Easy Recovery Essentials to backup your files before you proceed.

To do so, follow these steps:

  • Insert the Windows XP CD in the tray
  • Turn on the system
  • Press any key to boot from the CD, when at the “Press any key to boot from CD” screen
  • Wait for the CD to load the necessary library of files
  • At the Welcome to Setup screen, press Enter to begin the installation
  • Agree to the End-Use License Agreement. Press F8 to do so.
  • Select where to install Windows XP. You can also use the D and C keys to delete and then create a new partition.
  • Press Enter to install the system on the selected partition (highlighted)
  • Press Enter to continue
  • Choose to format the partition
  • Wait for the process to finish
  • Remove the CD from the disc tray when Setup mentions that your computer will restart
  • Wait for the system to boot into the Windows XP

Follow the instructions of the wizard to setup the system again

Method #2: Use Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials (or EasyRE) can be used to repair or restore a Windows XP system:

  • Find and fix errors automatically with Automated Repair
  • Recover your PC from infections with the built-in antivirus
  • Restore your PC to a working state
  • Access and backup your most important data (like documents, pictures, music, videos and so on)
  • Restore Windows Vista to factory settings
  • To restore a Windows Vista to factory settings, you can use:
  • System Restore to restore the computer to an earlier working session
  • An install CD to run System Restore, a Startup Repair or a reinstall to restore the computer
  • Easy Recovery Essentials
  • If the above aren’t available for you, you can also boot into Safe Mode and attempt to run System Restore and Startup Repair.
  • To perform a hard reset of the computer, you need the installation disc to reinstall Windows Vista.
  • Restore with installation CD/DVD
  • If you still have the original Windows Vista CD/DVD and the CD has the Startup Repair feature installed, you can use it to either repair your computer or reinstall the system.
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Fix #1: Run Startup Repair

Startup Repair won’t reset a computer to its original factory settings, but it can attempt to fix various errors.

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To run Startup Repair follow these instructions:

  • Boot the computer
  • Insert the Windows Vista CD
  • Press any key at the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” screen
  • At the Install Windows window, select your language, time and currency and keyboard method
  • Click Next
  • Click Repair Your Computer
  • Select the operating system from the list
  • Click Next
  • Wait for Startup Repair to search and fix for any issues it finds
  • At the Restart your computer to complete the repairs screen, click Finish

Fix #2: Use Easy Recovery Essentials

  • Easy Recovery Essentials can access System Restore snapshots created on a Windows Vista computer. To do so, follow these steps:
  • Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Burn the ISO image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD
  • can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  • Boot Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Select Windows Vista from the list and click System Restore
  • Choose a restore point
  • Easy Recovery Essentials will now create a backup of your current system configuration and begin restoring the selected snapshot.
  • Once the process is complete, click Restart
  • Done! Your Windows Vista should now start again.
  • Restore without installation CD/DVD
  • Fix #1: Run System Restore from Safe Mode
  • System Restore may also be available via Safe Mode without a need for the original Windows Vista installation CD.
  • System Restore will not work if it has been turned off!

To access System Restore via Safe Mode, follow these steps:

  • Start the PC
  • Press and hold the F8 key before the Windows Vista logo appears on your monitor
  • At the Advanced Boot Options, select Safe mode with Command Prompt
  • Press Enter
  • When Command Prompt is available, type the following command: rstrui.exe
  • Press Enter
  • Enter the password for the Administrator and press Enter, if prompted to do so
  • Follow the wizard instructions to choose a restore point

Fix #2: Run Startup Repair from Safe Mode

  • Startup Repair might also be installed on your hard disk. Startup Repair won’t reset your computer to its factory settings,
  • but it can attempt to fix various errors.
  • To access it, follow these instructions:
  • Boot the computer
  • Press F8 and hold until your system boots into Windows Advanced Boot Options
  • Select Repair Cour Computer
  • Select a keyboard layout
  • Click Next
  • Login as an administrative user
  • Click OK
  • At the System Recovery Options window, select Startup Repair

Fix #3: Use Easy Recovery Essentials

Easy Recovery Essentials can access the snapshots created by System Restore on a Windows Vista computer. Follow these steps:

  • Download Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Burn the ISO image. Follow these instructions on how to burn the bootable ISO image very carefully, as making a bootable CD can be tricky! Alternatively, these instructions explain how to create a bootable EasyRE recovery USB stick/drive.
  • Boot Easy Recovery Essentials
  • Select Windows Vista and click System Restore
  • Choose a restore point
  • Easy Recovery Essentials will now create a backup of your current system configuration and begin restoring the selected snapshot
  • Once the process is complete, click Restart
  • Done! Your Windows Vista should now start again.Windows Vista Boot Screen
  • Other options for restore

Method #1: Run System Restore from Windows Vista

Windows Vista systems can be restored to an earlier time if System Restore was enabled and was able to create snapshots correctly.

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If you can access System Restore on your Windows Vista system, follow these steps:

  • Boot your computer
  • Click Start
  • Type restore in the search bar
  • Select Backup and Restore Center from the search results list
  • Select either to select a custom date for restore or a recommended date by Windows Vista
  • Click Next
  • Click Yes, at the warning message
  • Wait for process to finish
  • Your computer may restart
  • When your computer boots back, click Close when presented with the success message: System Restore completed successfully
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For more information about System Restore on Windows Vista systems, read the Windows System Restore: Windows Vista guide.

Method #2: Reinstall Windows Vista

To reinstall Windows Vista and perform a hard reset of your computer, follow these steps:

  • Reinstalling Windows Vista will delete all personal files. Use Easy Recovery Essentials to backup your files before you proceed.
  • Insert the install CD
  • Restart the computer
  • Press any key to boot from the CD when prompted to do so
  • At the Install Windows window, select a language, time and keyboard method
  • Click Next
  • Click Install Now
  • Follow the wizard instructions to install Windows Vista on your computer

Method #3: Use Easy Recovery Essentials

  • Easy Recovery Essentials (or EasyRE) can be used to repair or restore a Windows Vista system:
  • Find and fix errors automatically with Automated Repair
  • Recover your PC from infections with the built-in antivirus
  • Restore your PC to a working state
  • Access and backup your most important data (like documents, pictures, music, videos and so on)

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