1. Navigate to Settings.  You can get there by clicking the gear icon on the Start menu.

2. Select “Update & security”

3. Click Recovery in the left pane.

4. Windows presents you with three major options: Reset this PC, Go back to an earlier build and Advanced startup. Reset this PC is the best option for starting fresh.

Advanced startup lets you boot off a recovery USB drive or disc and “Go to an earlier build” is made for Windows Insiders who want to roll back to a previous version of the OS. 

5. Click Get started under Reset this PC.

6. Click either “Keep my files” or “Remove everything,” depending on whether you want to keep your data files intact. If not, Remove everything will do as it says: delete all of your files, photos and programs. Either way, all of your settings will return to their defaults and apps will be uninstalled. Advertisement

7. Select Just remove my files or Remove files and clean the drive if you chose “Remove everything” in the prior step. 

Cleaning the drive takes a lot longer but will make sure that, if you are giving the computer away, the next person can’t recover your erased files. If you are keeping the computer, choose “Just remove my files.”

8. Click Next if Windows warns you that you won’t be able to roll back to a prior version of the OS.

9. Click Reset when prompted. Windows will then restart and take several minutes to reset itself.

10. Click Continue when prompted.Advertisement

How to reformat Windows 10 from the sign-in screen

If your laptop is acting up, and you can’t access the settings menu, you can try resetting your PC from the sign-in screen. 

  • Press the Windows logo key and L on your keyboard. This will take you to the Windows 10 sign-in screen. Don’t login.
  • Instead, you can reset your PC by holding the Shift key while you click the Power button>Restart in thelower-right corner of the screen. 
  • Your PC will restart in Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE) environment. 
  • From the option screen, choose Troubleshoot>Reset this PC. From here, choose between the options listed above.

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