Reset or reinstall Windows 10 on your Dell computer

Summary: Learn how to reset or reinstall windows 10 on your dell computer, without affecting your personal files.

Article Content


Symptoms
Cause

This article covers several different types of restoration, reset, and reinstallation of Windows 10. Refer to the following table and select the scenario that most closely resembles your own:

Problem See section
Your device is not working correctly because of something installed recently. Perform a System Restore in Windows 10
Your device is not working well, and you are not sure what is causing it. Refresh your copy of Windows 10 without losing your data
You want to reset your device back to a clean Microsoft version of Windows, and Windows starts normally. Reset Windows 10 using Push-Button Reset
You want to reset your device back to the way Dell shipped it to you, and Windows starts normally. Reinstall Windows 10 to the Dell factory image using the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)
You want to reset your device back to the way Dell shipped it to you, but Windows does not start. Reinstall Windows 10 to the Dell factory image using recovery media

Back up your files with File History

Before you attempt a refresh or reset of your operating system, Dell recommends that you back up your data using File History.

Learn more about File History at Microsoft's Back up your files page.


 

Perform a System Restore in Windows 10

To perform a System Restore, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start SLN297920_en_US__1WinKey, then type Control Panel.
     
  2. Search Control Panel for Recovery.
     
  3. Select Recovery > Open System Restore > Next.
     
  4. Choose the restore point that is related to the problematic app, driver, or update, and then select Next > Finish.
     
If you receive an error while using System Restore, refer to article, "System Restore failed while restoring the directory from the restore point ."

Refresh your copy of Windows 10 without losing your data

Windows 10 can reset all its system files without affecting your personal data. Refresh does the following:

  • Reinstalls Windows 10 and keeps your personal files.
  • Removes apps and drivers you installed.
  • Removes changes that you made to settings.
  • Removes any apps your PC manufacturer installed. (If your PC came with Windows 10, apps from your PC manufacturer will be reinstalled.)

To get started with a refresh of your system files, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start SLN297920_en_US__1WinKey, then type "reset."
     
  2. Select Reset this PC (System Setting).
     
  3. Under Reset this PC, select Get Started.
     
  4. Select the option to Keep my files.
     
  5. Note any apps or drivers that will need to be reinstalled after the refresh has completed.
     
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the refresh process. This takes some time and your computer will restart.

 

Restore your Dell computer using Windows Push-Button Reset

If you would like to reset your computer to a clean Windows 10 version and remove all your files, follow these steps:

This is not a Dell factory image reset, this process reinstalls Windows 10 operating system, removes all your personal files, removes apps and drivers you installed, removes any changes that are made to settings, and removes any apps that Dell installed. Be sure you have backed up your files before beginning this task.

Some Dell tablets may be configured to add Dell factory-installed software during this process.

  1. Click Start SLN297920_en_US__1WinKey, then type "reset."
     
  2. Select Reset this PC (System Setting).
     
  3. Under Reset this PC, select Get Started.
     
  4. Select the option to Remove everything.
     
  5. If you are keeping this computer, select Just remove my files. If you are recycling the computer, select Remove files and clean the drive.
     
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset process. This takes some time and your computer will restart.

 

Reinstall Windows 10 to the Dell factory image using the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE)

To reset your computer to the Dell factory image as it was originally shipped, including Dell factory-installed apps and software, follow these steps:
 

This step does not apply for devices that are shipped with less than 2 GB of memory and/or less than 32 GB of storage.
 
This process formats the hard drive and removes all data. Be sure you have backed up your files before beginning this task.
  1. Click Start SLN297920_en_US__1WinKey, then type "reset."
     
  2. Select Reset this PC (System Setting).
     
  3. Under Advanced Startup, select Restart now.
     
  4. At the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
     
  5. Select Factory Image Restore.
     
  6. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset process. This takes some time and your computer will restart.

From outside Windows

After the third attempt to boot, the computer will automatically enter the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE). Follow these steps to restore your operating system.

  1. At the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
 
  • At the Troubleshoot screen, select Factory Image Restore.
 

 

Reinstall Windows 10 to the Dell factory image using recovery media

Customers who upgraded their device to Windows 10 from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 must reinstall the original operating system that is provided with the computer and upgrade to Windows 10 again.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset process. This takes some time and your computer will restart.
 
Visit the Media Backup page to get information about creating recovery discs for your Dell computer or downloading an image online.
 
This step does not apply for devices that are shipped with less than 2 GB of memory and/or less than 32 GB of storage.
 
This process formats the hard drive and removes all data. Be sure you have backed up your files prior to beginning this task.
  1. Insert the recovery media into a USB port or a DVD drive, depending on the format you used to create the recovery media.
     
  2. Power the computer off.
     
  3. Power the computer on. At the Dell logo screen, tap the F12 key several times until you see Preparing one time boot menu in the top right corner of the screen.
     
  4. At the boot menu, select the device under UEFI BOOT that matches your media type (USB or DVD).
     
  5. Select your keyboard language.
     
  6. At the Choose an option screen, select Troubleshoot.
     
  7. Select Recover from a drive.
     
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the reset process. This takes some time and your computer will restart.

Install or update Windows 10 drivers for your Dell computer

Dell updates drivers, applications, and firmware to meet the demands of new software and hardware. Learn more about installing and updating drivers in the correct order by visiting the Drivers and Downloads FAQs page.


Videos

How to Restore or Reset Windows 10


Additional information and useful links

Below are some additional links that may be useful for customers wanting to reinstall their operating system:


Resolution

Out of Warranty support Out of warranty? No problem. Visit the Dell.com/support website and enter your Dell Service Tag and view our offers.

NOTE: Currently, offers are only available for US, Canada, UK, and France PC customers. Server and Storage not applicable.

Article Properties


Affected Product

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Last Published Date

26 Feb 2021

Version

5

Article Type

Solution

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