How to Factory Reset a Dell Laptop

Problem with your Dell? A reset might help

What to Know

  • Search for "reset" from the start menu, and select Reset this PC. Follow the prompts on-screen to reset your computer.
  • You can choose to either keep personal files or have them removed during a reset.
  • Another option is to restore your computer to an earlier date using System Restore.

This article covers how to reset your Windows 10 Dell laptop. During this process, you can choose to either keep or remove personal files, and you also have the option to reset and restore your computer to a specific date if you suspect a recent issue is causing you problems.


Regardless of whether you're keeping or removing personal files, it's best practice to backup your important files before attempting a reset. This way, if something goes wrong, you won't lose anything.

How to Reset a Dell Laptop

Microsoft includes a convenient reset tool in Windows 10, so resetting your laptop will only take a couple of clicks.

  1. From the start menu, search for "reset" and select Reset this PC.

  2. Under the Reset this PC heading at the top of the window, click Get started.

    Rest this PC Windows 10
  3. Choose either Keep my files or Remove everything, and follow the prompts on-screen to reset your Dell laptop.

    Reset this PC options Windows 10


Resetting a PC is undoable: You can't un-reset it, so beyond backing up files, make sure you remember any critical settings you've changed or tweaks you've made to your computer that you may have to re-do after the reset. Also, be sure you have a list of the programs you've installed and their product keys to cut back on the frustration of having to find all that.

How to Reset Your Laptop With System Restore

If you don't want to do a hard reset, you can do a soft reset, like System Restore. If you have an available Restore Point, you can turn the time back on your PC to a specific date, undoing any changes made to your PC after that date.

  1. From the start menu, search for "system restore" and select Create a restore point.

  2. Click System Restore at the top of the small, newly-opened window.

    System properties Windows 10
  3. Follow the prompts on-screen, and restore your PC to a Restore Point if you have any available. Windows will, by default, create automatic Restore Points, so it's likely you will have at least one.

  4. After selecting a Restore Point, click Scan for affected programs at the bottom of the window to get a sense of what will be changed on your computer.

    System Restore Restore Point selection


System Restore will change system files, Windows updates, and programs, not your personal files. So if you've, for example, added some photos to your computer after your Restore Point, your photos won't disappear.

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