Windows 10 Reset this PC deleting files, settings, and apps
Wiping all out

How to reset your PC removing everything on Windows 10

You can reset your computer while securely deleting your files, settings, and apps, and here's how to complete the task on Windows 10.

UPDATE 8/4: On Windows 10, when your device isn’t working correctly, running slow, or having battery and apps problems, resetting it to the factory default settings removing everything on all drives can help to fix most issues and start fresh with a new installation. Also, removing everything is particularly useful to completely clean up your computer when you’re planning to sell or give it away without giving away your information.

Whatever the reason it may be, Windows 10 includes the “Reset this PC” feature, which allows you to quickly reset your device making sure that all your files, settings, and apps are beyond recovery.

In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to reset your computer removing everything on all drives using the cloud download or local image option on Windows 10.

Reset PC removing everything on Windows 10 2004 or higher

Starting with Windows 10 version 2004, there’s also an option to download a fresh copy of Windows 10 from the Microsoft servers in the case the locally available image is corrupted or not working for any reason.

To reset your computer with the “Cloud Download” option, 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 settings on Windows 10 version 1903
    Reset this PC settings on Windows 10 version 1903
  5. Click the Remove everything option. (The “Cloud Download” option is also available for the “Keep my files” option.)

    Windows 10 remove everything option
    Windows 10 remove everything option
  6. Click 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 with Cloud Download option
    Reset this PC with Cloud Download option
  7. (Optional) Click the Change settings option.

    Reset this PC advanced settings option
    Reset this PC advanced settings option
  8. Turn on the Download Windows? toggle switch.

    Reset this PC, download Windows 10 install files
    Reset this PC, download Windows 10 install files
  9. Turn on the Clean data? toggle switch (if applicable).

  10. Click the Confirm button.

  11. Click the Next button.

    Reset this PC, previous installation warning
    Reset this PC, previous installation warning
  12. Click the Next button again.

  13. Click the Reset button.

After you complete the steps, the feature will download a fresh copy from the Microsoft online servers and will reset your device to the default settings. The time of completion will depend on your computer hardware configuration and the reset options that you selected. Alternatively, you can also access the “Cloud download” option from the Advanced startup environment when you can’t start Windows 10 normally. 

Although this feature downloads a fresh copy of Windows 10 from the cloud, it’s not a feature intended to upgrade to a new version of the OS. When using the “Cloud download” option, the process will download the same version currently running on your device.

The new “Cloud Download” option is available starting Windows 10 build 18970 (version 2004) and later releases.

Reset PC removing everything on Windows 10 1909 or earlier

To use “Reset This PC” to remove everything on all the drives on Windows 10 version 1909 or earlier, 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 settings on Windows 10 version 1903
    Reset this PC settings on Windows 10 version 1903
  5. Click the Remove everything option.

    Windows 10 remove everything option
    Windows 10 remove everything option
  6. (Optional) Click the Change settings option. (If you’re running Windows 10 version 1809 or earlier, the wizard will be slightly different, but the options are technically the same.)

    Reset this PC advanced settings
    Reset this PC advanced settings
  7. Turn on the Data erasure toggle switch if you want to remove your files and completely erase the drive. (This option may take several hours, but it’ll be almost impossible for anyone to recover the files.)

  8. Turn on the Data drives toggle switch if you want to remove all files in all the drives. If you don’t enable this option, only the files in the main drive will be deleted.

    Reset this PC Data erasure and Data drives options
    Reset this PC Data erasure and Data drives options
  9. Click the Confirm button.

  10. Click the Next button.

  11. Click the Reset button.

    Remove everything from Windows 10 PC security
    Remove everything from Windows 10 PC security

Once you complete the steps, the feature will take over and reset your device to the default settings by erasing and reinstalling a fresh copy of Windows 10. The time of completion will depend on your computer hardware configuration and the reset options that you selected.

Although we’re focusing this guide on Windows 10, this guide includes the latest changes to use the feature with version 1903 (May 2019 Update), but you can still use these instructions on version 1809 or earlier versions. Also, if you’re not giving away your computer, and you want to keep your files, you can use these instructions instead.

Update August 4, 2020: This article was originally published in May 2019, and it’s been updated to include the steps to use the new cloud download option.