How to Restore a Computer With F2

By Alexei C. Kirov

When all other methods of restoring your computer fail, there is a backdoor method to try. This method accesses the Automated System Recovery program installed on all Windows computers since Microsoft Windows XP. Prior to XP, this method required the use of the original installation disc. In many cases, there is a brief period during the boot cycle where the user is alerted to the possibility of using this in an emergency. It should be noted, however, that the F2 fix will restore your computer to its original factory settings, thereby removing all user-created programs and files.

Step 1

Reboot the computer. Watch the screen closely. After you see the screen that prompts you to "Press any key to boot from CD", begin pressing the F2 key at the top of your keyboard repeatedly. This will open the Automated System Recovery program.

Step 2

Choose to continue with the recovery. As soon as the program loads, you will be given the option of continuing with the restoration of your computer to factory settings or aborting the recovery. This will be your last chance to cancel the recovery. Press "Esc" to abort or "Enter" to continue. The process will complete automatically from this point.

Step 3

Select "Yes" to reboot the system after the recovery process is complete. On most computers, this reboot will be automatic. On some older computers, there is a prompt.

Tips & Warnings

  • Automated System Recovery is standard on all Windows-based computers since the Windows 98 operating system was developed.