How to Reset a Laptop to Factory Settings

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How to Reset a Laptop to Factory Settings
Reset your laptop to its original settings. (reset image by Dozet from Fotolia.com)

If you've recently found yourself with a malfunctioning, frozen or virus-laden laptop, you may need to reset the computer to its factory settings. This means that it wipes every piece of information that you've added to the computer since you first used it and returns it to the state it was in right out of the box. Since this is a pretty extreme solution for any computer problems you may be having, the methods for performing this action vary from brand to brand. However, there are general ways to do this that are common to many computers across the board.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Turn on your computer and back up any important data to an external hard drive, CD or disk.

  2. 2

    Locate the install disks (or Factory Reset disks that ship with certain computers) for your operating system that came with your computer when you first purchased it.

  3. 3

    Insert the install disk into the disk drive of your computer and follow the prompts on screen to reinstall the operating system on your computer. This will restore your computer to its factory settings. If you don't have the install disks for your particular model computer, proceed to Step 4.

  4. 4

    Turn off your computer and restart it. While the computer is powering on, hold the ALT and F10 or F11/F12 (depending on your particular model computer) keys until the flash (logo) screen gives way to the Recovery screen.

  5. 5

    Select "Yes" when the text box appears on screen asking if you want to perform a system restore on your computer. Confirm when prompted.

  6. 6

    Wait for the status bar to indicate when the computer is finished performing the reset. The computer will then restart. For some computers, the whole process can take up to three hours.

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