Windows 10 reset PC
Clean start preserving files

How to reset PC keeping personal files on Windows 10

Windows 10 includes a feature to quickly reset your PC to factory default settings without losing your files when things are not working correctly.

UPDATED 8/4: If your device isn’t working correctly, it’s performing very slow, or you’re experiencing problems with battery life or Microsoft Store apps, resetting it to the factory default settings may help you to resolve these issues.

Windows 10 includes “Reset this PC,” which allows you to quickly reset your computer keeping your personal files and reinstalling the operating system using the locally available image or downloading a fresh image from the Microsoft servers. However, the process will remove apps and settings, but you can always reconfigure them later.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to use “Reset this PC” to refresh your computer while keeping your files if you’re having problems after a Windows 10 upgrade or as a result of an app or system misconfiguration. (To reset your device while removing everything use these instructions.)

Reset device keeping files on Windows 10 2004 or higher

To reset your computer while keeping files on Windows 10 version 2004 and higher, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 10.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Recovery.

  4. Under the “Reset this PC” section, click the Get started button.

    Reset this PC on Windows 10 version 1809
    Reset this PC on Windows 10 version 1809
  5. Click the Keep my files option.

    Windows 10 reset: Keep my files
    Windows 10 reset: Keep my files
  6. Select the Cloud download option to download a fresh copy of Windows 10, instead of using the locally availble image. (If you prefer to use the local image, select the Local reinstall option.)

    Reset this PC keeping files with Cloud download
    Reset this PC keeping files with Cloud download
  7. Click the Next button.

    Reset this PC additional settings
    Reset this PC additional settings
  8. Click the Reset button.

Once you complete the steps, a fresh image of Windows 10 will download, and it’ll be used to reset the device keeping all of your files.

Reset device keeping files on Windows 10 1909 or earlier

To reset your computer while keeping files on Windows 10 version 1909 and earlier, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Update & Security.

  3. Click on Recovery.

  4. Under the “Reset this PC” section, click the Get started button.

    Reset this PC on Windows 10 version 1809
    Reset this PC on Windows 10 version 1809
  5. Click the Keep my files option.

    Windows 10 reset: Keep my files
    Windows 10 reset: Keep my files
  6. Click the Reset button.

    Windows 10 Reset this PC keeping files
    Windows 10 Reset this PC keeping files

After you complete the steps, the process will remove every application installed on your device, change settings back to their defaults, and Windows 10 will be reinstalled without removing your files.

The process usually takes anywhere between 15-20 minutes, but it could take a long time depending on your device. If you come across any issues, you can submit your questions in the Pureinfotech forums.

Update August 4, 2020: Originally published in July 2015, updated in August 2020 to reflect the most up-to-date changes.