Windows 7 Reset to Factory Settings

Reset Windows 7 to Factory Settings help to fix some computer problems or crashes, it will clear your personal information from the system also. Over time, the accumulation of files, mis-configured settings, and other factors slows down performance, and impact programs. This may eventually leave you wishing you could turn back the clock. Fortunately, you can – and here’s how.

Back up your stuff!

Before you restore your system, you’ll want to backup important information that you don’t want to lose. This obviously includes documents, photos, music and movies. While you can backup these files manually, you may be better served by backup software that automates the process, reducing the room for error and saving you time.

There are other items to back up as well. Make sure that you know all of your saved passwords, have exported all of your browser bookmarks, and have installation files for all the software you’ll want to reinstall (or know where to get them). Also, make sure you back up app-specific data, like custom filters saved in a photo utility, or save files from your favorite games.

While you might be able to use the cloud for this, there’s a great chance that the volume of data will exceed the capacity of a free Google Drive (15GB) or DropBox (2GB) account. Budget for an external hard drive if you don’t have one. You can also use a non-OS internal drive if enough space is available. However, make sure you disconnect your backup drive before you actually perform the factory reset. The process shouldn’t delete data on a secondary drive, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Windows 7 Backup

Reset Windows 7 PC

Windows 7 do not have the built-in refresh and reset options found in Windows 8 / 8.1. Users with these operating systems have two choices when looking to perform a factory reset.

The first is to re-install Windows from scratch, which isn’t a factory reset at all, unless you have all the original, factory-provided install media available. Still, if you want to wipe your computer completely clean and start from scratch, this is probably your best option. You can reinstall by opening Recovery (do a Windows search for it), selecting Advanced Recovery Options, and then selecting Reinstall Windows.

Go to the Control Panel and click on Recovery. If you don’t see icons, click on the little drop-down at the top right and choose from small or large icons instead of Category.

Windows 7 Reset to Factory Settings

Next click on the link at the bottom for Advanced Recovery Methods.

Windows 7 Recovery Methods

Now click on the Reinstall Windows (require Windows installation disc) option.

Reset Windows 7 form CD

Go ahead and put in the disc and the reinstall process will begin. First, you’ll be asked to backup your data if you want and then you’ll have to restart. Once restarted, a Recovery Options dialog pops up and then you’ll be asked to confirm whether you really want to reinstall Windows.

Reset Windows 7 with Recovery Management App

Your second option is to use a manufacturer-provided recovery tool and factory provided recovery partition. Here are common names for recovery software from each major PC manufacturer. Entering these terms into Windows’ desktop search tool can help you find them.

Reset Windows 7 with Recovery Management
  • Acer: Acer eRecovery or Acer Recovery Management
  • ASUS: ASUS Recovery Partition or AI Recovery
  • Dell: Dell Factory Image Restore, DataSafe, Dell Backup & Recovery, and a variety of other names
  • Gateway: Gateway Recovery Management
  • HP: HP System Recovery or Recovery Manager
  • Lenovo: Rescue and Recovery ,or ThinkVantage Recovery (on ThinkPads)
  • Sony: Sony Vaio Recovery Wizard

You can also access recovery from outside Windows, which is useful if you can’t find the software, or if Windows won’t load. To do this, reboot your computer, and pay close attention to the boot screen that appears before Windows loads. Keep an eye out for a shortcut key that brings you to the recovery interface. In most cases, the key will be F11. Note, though, that you do need a recovery partition for these methods to work. If you don’t have one, your only option will be to perform a full reinstall of Windows.