How to Reset Computers to Factory Settings

By WayneC

A number of problems you encounter while using a computer can have an impact on its performance. Most of these problems have simple solutions, but sometimes the problems are so severe you have no alternative but to perform a factory reset of the computer. A factory reset restores the computer to the state it was in when you first turned it on, meaning any changes you made to it since then are erased.

Dell

Step 1

Turn the computer on. As the computer is starting, press the "F8" key repeatedly until you see the "Advanced Boot Options" menu (you must start pressing "F8" before the Windows logo appears).

Step 2

Use the down arrow key to highlight "Repair Your Computer," then hit the "Enter" key. Specify your language settings, then select "Next."

Step 3

Enter your Administrative username and password when prompted, then click "OK." Click on the "Dell Factory Image Restore" option. Click "Next" when the "Dell Factory Image Restore" window appears.

Step 4

Check the "Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition" box, then click "Next." The computer begins to restore itself to factory settings.

Step 5

Click "Finish" when prompted to restart the computer and complete the reset.

Gateway

Step 1

Click the "Start" button and highlight "All Programs." Select "Gateway," then "Gateway Recovery Management."

Step 2

Select "Restore" from the "Gateway Recovery Management" window, then select "Restore system to factory default." Click "Yes" when the "Confirm Restoration" dialogue box appears, then click "Start." Enter your password when prompted, then click "OK" in the "Confirm Restoration" dialogue box. The computer restarts.

Step 3

Click "Next" when the "Restore from factory default" dialogue box appears. Click "Next" when the "Destination Disk Information" dialogue box appears. When the "Notice" dialogue box appears, click "OK." Wait for the "Finished" dialogue box to appear, then click "OK." The computer restarts, then begins to set up Windows. It might automatically restart again during this process.

Step 4

Click "Next" when the "Set Up Windows" screen appears. Accept the license terms, then click "Next." Enter your information at the "Choose a user name and picture" screen and click "Next." Enter your information at the "Type a computer name and choose a desktop background" screen and click "Next."

Step 5

Select the "Use recommended settings" option from the "Help protect Windows automatically" screen. Enter in the appropriate date and time in the "Review your time and date settings" screen, then choose your computer's location at the "Select your computer's current location" screen. Click "Start" when the "Thank You" screen appears. The rest of the reset is automatically handled by the computer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since everything you added to the computer is erased during a factory reset, you might want to back up important information before trying one.