Windows 11 offers multiple recovery options. Reset PC is one of them. With the Reset PC feature, you can reset/reinstall your Windows 11 installation by keeping your personal files. An option is also available to delete everything and perform the reset/reinstall operation.
The Reset PC can be used if your Windows 11 PC is not working well and you are unable to fix the issue(s) with the help of built-in troubleshooters.
The only downside of Reset PC functionality is that it cannot retain installed apps and programs. This means that, when you reset, all installed apps (except apps that came with your PC) will be removed.
Here is how to reset your Windows 11 PC to default settings.
IMPORTANT: Although you can keep your personal files with this method, resetting your Windows 11 PC will delete apps and settings. So, you will have to install your favorite apps again after resetting the Windows 11 installation.
IMPORTANT: About 15 GB of free disk space on the Windows 11 installation drive is required to perform the reset operation. Please make sure that sufficient free disk space is available or free up disk space before proceeding further.
IMPORTANT: Connect your Windows 11 PC to a power source and keep it plugged in until the reset operation is completed.
Reset Windows 11 installation without data loss
Step 1: Save all your work and close running applications.
Step 2: Open the Settings app. On the left side, click System, and on the right, click Recovery.
Step 3: Here, under the Recovery options section, you will see Reset this PC option. Click on the Reset PC button.
Step 4: Upon clicking the Reset PC button, you will get the following dialog where you need to click the Keep my files option if you want to reset your Windows 11 installation without deleting your files.
The other option, Remove everything, will delete all files and programs, your personal data and reset Windows 11 to default factory settings.
So, we recommend you click on the Keep my files option.
NOTE: If you get the “Could not find the recovery environment” error message, please refer to our fix to Could not find the recovery environment error in Windows 11/10 guide and then start from the beginning of this guide again.
Step 5: Next up, you will see the following dialog. As you can see in the picture below, there are two options to choose from: Cloud download and Local reinstall.
As the name might suggest, if you select the Cloud download, Windows 11 will download a fresh copy of Windows 11 from Microsoft servers and use those files to reinstall Windows 11. Since the download size is above 4 GB, this option is not suitable for users with slow or limited internet connections. However, we recommend this option if you are on a good internet connection.
The Local reinstall option uses files that are already on your Windows 11 installation to reinstall the operating system. Use this option if you are on a limited internet connection. However, we recommend the Cloud download option if you are resetting Windows 11 due to corrupt or missing system files.
In this guide, we are selecting the Cloud reinstall option.
Step 6: Next, you will get the following Additional settings dialog. Here, make sure that the page is showing your selected settings before clicking on the Next button.
Step 7: Finally, click the Reset button to restart your Windows 11 computer and start resetting your PC.
Step 8: Your PC will now begin downloading a fresh copy of Windows 11 from Microsoft servers. Once the required files are downloaded, your PC will be automatically restarted to start the reset/reinstall job.
Step 9: Once the PC restarts, you will see the “Resetting this PC” screen.
Step 10: After a few minutes, the following screen will appear on the screen. Your PC might restart several times.
Step 11: Once the installation/reset operation is completed, you will see the “Hi” and “This might take a few minutes” screens for a while before seeing the desktop.
You may now install required apps, check for Windows updates, and then start using your Windows 11 PC. Note that resetting will not affect your Windows 11 activation status.