Windows 11 Reset Options
Our Senior IT Escalation Engineer, Andy Palmer, is always keen to share ways to use and understand your technology better. His latest tech tip is all about resetting your Windows 11 device – when to do it and why it’s important. He says:
Our computers have become central to our daily lives. From work-related tasks to personal entertainment, these devices store a treasure trove of valuable data. However, over time, our PCs can become bogged down with software clutter or encounter persistent issues that hinder their performance. Thankfully, Windows 11 offers a built-in solution to rejuvenate your PC: the reset feature. We will delve into the various options for resetting your PC on Windows 11 and how they can help you breathe new life into your computer.
I. Understanding the Reset Options
Windows 11 provides three primary options for resetting your PC, each serving a distinct purpose:
- Reset and Keep Files
- Reset and Remove Everything
- Custom Reset – Data Erasure Options
Let’s explore each option in detail.
II. Reset and Keep Files
This option is ideal when you wish to refresh your PC while retaining your personal files, such as documents, pictures, and videos. The process removes third-party apps and settings but ensures your important data remains intact. This option comes in two variations, depending on the status of preinstalled apps:
With Preinstalled Apps On: Windows 11 will reinstall the operating system, keeping your personal files and apps that came with your PC from the manufacturer. Any other apps and settings you’ve installed will be removed.
With Preinstalled Apps Off: Similar to the previous option, Windows 11 will reinstall the OS and keep your personal files. However, this time, it will also remove all apps that came preinstalled with your PC, ensuring a clean slate.
III. Reset and Remove Everything
As the name suggests, this option is a more thorough reset, erasing all your personal files, settings, and apps. Use this option with caution, as it effectively wipes your PC’s storage, making data recovery impossible without a proper backup. This option can be valuable if you plan to sell or donate your PC, ensuring your sensitive data stays secure.
IV. Custom Reset – Data Erasure Options
This option is targeted at consumers who want to reset their PC securely before selling or donating it. It includes two data erasure choices:
Data Erasure On: This option securely removes files and cleans the drive, making it difficult for others to recover any sensitive data. It is a more time-consuming process, taking an hour or more, but provides enhanced security.
Data Erasure Off: The quicker alternative, this option simply removes files without cleaning the drive thoroughly. While it takes less time, it is less secure and might not be suitable if you’re dealing with sensitive information.
V. Accessing Reset Options
Resetting your PC on Windows 11 can be initiated from different access points:
From Settings: Click on Start, then go to Settings > System > Recovery. Next to “Reset this PC,” select “Reset PC” and choose the desired option from the available list.
From the Sign-In Screen: If you can’t access Settings, you can reset your PC from the sign-in screen. Press the Windows logo key + L to reach the sign-in screen and restart your PC while holding the Shift key. Then select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC and choose an appropriate option.
The ability to reset your PC on Windows 11 can be a lifesaver when dealing with performance issues or preparing your computer for new ownership. By understanding the different reset options and their implications, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs. Whether you opt to keep your personal files or perform a thorough wipe, Windows 11 offers versatile tools to revitalise your PC and enhance its performance for a seamless computing experience.