Factory reset

How to reset PC keeping files on Windows 11

You can quickly reset your PC running Windows 11 to factory default settings without losing your files when things are not working correctly, and here's how.

Reset Windows 11 keeping files
  • To reset Windows 11 keeping files go to Settings > Recovery > Reset PC, and select Keep my files, and Local reinstall.
  • Or go to Settings > Recovery > Reset PC, select Keep my files, and Cloud download.
  • Or Start Windows 11 on Advanced options then go to Troubleshoot > Reset this PC, and select Keep my files and Local reinstall.

When your computer is not working correctly, it is running slow, or there are problems with battery or apps, Windows 11 includes a feature to reset the PC to its factory default settings that may help to resolve these and many other existing issues.

On Windows 11, the “Reset this PC” feature allows you to quickly reset a device keeping your personal files, and reinstalling the OS using the locally available image, or downloading a fresh image from the cloud. Although using either of these options won’t delete your files, the process will remove your apps and reset the settings to their factory defaults since they can be part of the problem.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to use “Reset this PC” to reinstall Windows 11 after an upgrade if the device is having problems or you are dealing with apps or system configuration issues.

Windows 11 reset this PC keeping files with local reinstall

To reset Windows 11 keeping files using the local reinstall option, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Recovery on the right side.

    Windows 11 recovery
    Windows 11 recovery
  4. Under the “Recovery options” section, in the “Reset this PC” setting, click the Reset PC button.

    Reset This PC
    Reset This PC
  5. Click the Keep my files option.

    Keep my files reset option
    Keep my files reset option
  6. Select the Local reinstall option to use the locally available Windows 11 image to reset the computer without losing your files.

    Local reinstall option
    Local reinstall option
  7. Click the Next button.

    Reset This PC optional settings
    Reset This PC optional settings
  8. Click the Reset button.

Once you complete the steps, the feature will reset Windows 11 using the locally available image keeping all of your files. However, this process will reset all the settings to their factory defaults and will remove all the apps and programs installed in the current setup. The time to complete the process is around 20 minutes.

Windows 11 reset this PC keeping files with cloud download

To reset Windows 11 while keeping your files using the “Cloud download,” use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on System.

  3. Click on Recovery on the right side.

    Windows 11 recovery
    Windows 11 recovery
  4. Under the “Recovery options” section, in the “Reset this PC” setting, click the Reset PC button.

    Reset This PC
    Reset This PC
  5. Click the Keep my files option.

    Keep my files reset option
    Keep my files reset option
  6. Select the Cloud download option to download a fresh copy of Windows 11, instead of using the locally available image.

    Windows 11 reset with Cloud download
    Windows 11 reset with Cloud download
  7. Click the Next button.

    Cloud download optional settings
    Cloud download optional settings
  8. Click the Reset button.

After you complete the steps, a fresh image of Windows 11 will download, and it will be used to reset the device keeping all of your files. However, similar to the local reinstall option, the settings will be reset and apps will be removed through this process. The time to complete the process is around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on your internet connection.

Windows 11 reset this PC keeping files from boot

To reset a computer using local reinstall or cloud download from boot with the Advanced startup settings, use these steps:

  1. Start device.

  2. Immediately after the Power-On Self-Test (POST), press the Power button again to shut down.

  3. Repeat steps No. 1 and 2 twice, and in the third restart, the operating system should enter in the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE).

    Quick note: Windows 11 includes multiple ways to open the Advanced startup settings. If you cannot access the recovery environment, you can try these other options.
  4. Click the Advanced options button.

  5. Click on Troubleshoot.

    Troubleshoot option
    Troubleshoot option
  6. Click on Reset this PC option.

    Reset Windows 11 from boot
    Reset Windows 11 from boot
  7. Select the Keep my files to reset Windows 11 without losing your files.

    Windows 11 reset and keep my files
    Windows 11 reset and keep my files
  8. Select the Cloud download option to download a fresh copy of Windows 11, instead of using the locally available image. (If you prefer to use the local image, select the Local reinstall option.)

    Cloud download and Local reinstall options
    Cloud download and Local reinstall options
  9. Click the reset button.

Once you complete the steps, the feature will take over and reset the device to default settings by erasing and reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows 11 downloaded from the Microsoft servers. The time to finish the reset is around 20 minutes.