How to Restore Factory Settings Without a Restore Disk

By Jason Gabriel

Microsoft Windows is an effective operating system, but as with any operating system on any computer, crashes can occur when using it. Especially bad crashes can cause system failure, necessitating a restoration of the hard drive's factory default programs. Generally, this is done with the use of restore disks; indeed, most PC manufacturers ship these CDs with their computers or make them available for purchase. However, there are some who are without restore disks. Fortunately, there is a way to restore a computer to its factory settings without a dedicated restore disk: reformatting the hard drive. This will, however, take far longer, and it will wipe all the data from your main disk partition. Still, it's better than nothing.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows installation disk

Step 1

Place your Windows installation disk into your optical drive.

Step 2

Reboot your computer. Press any key when the boot menu notes that you must do so in order to boot to the disk.

Step 3

Press "F8" in order to accept the Windows licensing agreement.

Step 4

Press "Esc" in order to move past the recovery/repair screen.

Step 5

Scroll the cursor over your hard drive's main partition (that is, the partition on which the operating system is installed). This will typically be the largest partition. Press "Enter."

Step 6

Press "C" to confirm your choice.

Step 7

Scroll the cursor over "Format the partition using the NTFS file system." Press "Enter."

Step 8

Press "F" to confirm your choice. Windows will now reformat your hard drive. Reinstallation of your operating system -- with default factory settings -- will proceed afterward.