How to reset Windows 11 from boot when PC won’t boot

If your Windows 11 PC can't boot, you use these steps to reset to the factory default settings.

Windows 11 reset from boot
Windows 11 reset from boot
  • To reset a Windows 11 device when it doesn’t boot, start the computer in WinRE, open Advanced options > Troubleshoot, click “Reset this PC,” choose “Keep my files,” click “Just remove my files,” choose “Cloud download,” and click “Reset.”

You can perform a factory reset on your computer to reinstall Windows 11 from the boot environment. The option comes in handy when the device has problems or can’t start correctly, making it impossible to proceed with the reset from the desktop environment.

The option available through the Windows Recovery Environment (Windows RE or WinRE) is the same “Reset this PC” feature available in the Settings app. You can reset a laptop or desktop computer to the factory default settings using the local image or download a fresh copy of Windows 11 from the cloud using this feature. Also, the feature gives you a choice to preserve your files, settings, and apps, or you can choose to remove everything beyond recovery.

This guide will teach you the steps to reset Windows 11 to the factory settings from the boot process. 

Factory reset Windows 11 from boot (BIOS)

To reset Windows 11 from boot, use these steps:

  1. Start computer.

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

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 twice, and in the third restart, Windows 11 should enter WinRE.

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

  5. Click on Troubleshoot.

    Troubleshoot option

  6. Click on “Reset this PC” option.

    Reset Windows 11 from boot

  7. Select the “Remove everything” to wipe out the hard drive and reinstall a fresh copy of Windows 11. Or select the “Keep my files” option to reinstall Windows 11, remove apps and settings, and preserve your files.

    Advanced startup remove everything

  8. Click the “Just remove my files” option if you plan to keep the device. Or select the “Fully clean the drive” option if you plan to get rid of the device (it takes a long time).

    Advanced startup clean drive option

  9. Select the “Cloud download” option to re-download Windows 11 instead of using the available image. Or, if you prefer to use the local image, select the “Local reinstall” option (quicker).

    Cloud download and Local reinstall options

  10. Click the Reset button.

Once you complete the steps, the feature will reset the computer to default settings, fixing any problems that may have been preventing a successful startup.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].