How to Reset a Laptop to Factory Settings for Free

By Tina Amo

The process of resetting a laptop to factory settings wipes off the contents of the computer's hard drive. This is ideal for those who wish to delete personal information before selling their laptops and those who need to eliminate some computer problems. Some manufacturers save the system restore files on a small partition on the hard drive, while others provide disks containing these files. Regardless of the method you use, the system restore process could last from 45 minutes to an hour.

Things You'll Need

  • System restore disks

Step 1

Back up your files. Save important documents, pictures and music to removable storage media, such as a flash drive or a CD.

Step 2

Place your recovery disk into the disk drive and restart your laptop. This will launch a program to guide you through the system recovery process. Follow the directions onscreen to restore the laptop to factory settings.

Step 3

Access the system recover files stored on the hard drive. Restart your computer. Watch the black screen for instructions on which function key to press to access the computer management module. The function key used varies by manufacturer, but the keys commonly used are F2, F8, F10 and F11. Select the option to reset the computer from the list of options in the management module. Follow the directions to begin the process.

Step 4

Wait for the computer to complete the process. This could last up to an hour. The program may prompt you to restart the computer at the end of the process. If you reset the laptop with system restore disks, make sure you remove the disks from the disk drive before you restart the system.