How to Factory Reset a Lenovo Laptop

Resolve performance issues with a clean slate

What to Know

  • From the Windows Start icon, choose Settings > Update & Security > Recovery, and under Reset this PC, select Get Started
  • Choose between resetting while saving your files or deleting everything and reinstalling Windows.

This article explains how to factory reset a Lenovo laptop running on Windows 10. Lenovo offers two options for factory resetting your device: You can keep your files or remove them.

How to Reset Your Lenovo Laptop While Saving Files

You may opt to delete just your files or wipe all files and clean the hard drive to start from scratch. Whichever route you choose, resetting also includes a fresh installation of Windows on your Lenovo laptop. To preserve your documents and files when you reset, follow these steps.

If you have a Lenovo IdeaPad or ThinkPad laptop, you may have the option of using the NOVO button to enter the Lenovo OneKey Recovery mode to factory reset your device. Instead of a button, your laptop may have a recovery button pinhole that you activate with a paper clip.

  1. From the Start menu, go to Settings > Update & Security.

    Update and Security option from Windows Settings menu
  2. Choose Recovery and under Reset this PC, select Get Started.

    Get started button under Reset this PC from the Recovery section of Windows Settings
  3. Choose Keep my files to save your documents.

    Keep my files option from the Reset this PC dialog box in Windows
  4. You’ll see a message saying This won’t take long as the system readies your machine for a reset.

    Getting things ready message that appears when a PC prepares to reset
  5. Next, you’ll be prompted to review the changes, including removing all apps you’ve added, resetting the machine to system defaults, and reinstalling Windows. 

  6. Click Reset to confirm and start the process.

    Reset button when factory resetting a computer running Windows 10

    Factory resetting your Lenovo laptop may take a long time. To ensure it goes smoothly, keep your laptop is plugged into a power source.

Even if you choose the reset option that preserves your files, it’s best to first back up your files manually just in case something goes wrong. If you don’t have a file backup system, consider using a cloud-based storage service or an external hard drive.

How to Perform a Hard Reset and Remove Files

If you’ll be donating your laptop or you want to fix nagging issues with a clean slate, try a hard reset to wipe the machine of everything and sets it to zero.

  1. From the Windows Start menu, choose Settings > Update & Security > Recovery.

  2. Under Reset this PC, select Get Started > Removing everything.

    Get started button from the Reset this PC section of the Windows 10 Settings menu
  3. If you’ll be keeping your PC, choose Just remove my files.

    Just remove my files option from Reset this PC dialog box on Windows 10

    This option is the faster of the two, but it’s potentially less secure if you’ll be giving your laptop away. You may want to opt for the longer but more thorough option to remove all files and clean the drive.

  4. If you are donating your laptop or prefer to perform a more detailed reset, choose Remove everything > Remove files and clean the drive to delete all apps and custom settings.

    Remove files and clean the drive option from the Reset this PC dialog box on Windows 10

    If you choose this route, there’s no way to walk it back. This choice resets your device to its original factory settings, which means the process will remove all applications and files. 

  5. Whichever option you select, once you’re ready to begin, click Reset.

    Reset button to factory reset a PC running on Windows 10

Unsure about whether you need to reset your laptop or if a reboot could help? Dive deeper with this guide on the differences between rebooting vs. resetting your laptop.

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