How to Restore XP Factory Defaults Without a CD

By Susan Reynolds

If your Windows XP computer is acting strangely, you need to do a factory settings restoration. This type of reinstall completely erases all documents and software that you have installed since purchasing your computer. Factory restoration turns the PC back to its original "factory settings." The benefit of this is that a factory restore can usually fix any problems you are experiencing. The downside is that you have to reinstall all of your old files and software programs.

Step 1

Turn on your computer and log on as the administrator if you have more than one account.

Step 2

Back up the files you want to save with a USB drive or external hard drive.

Step 3

Go to "Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Restore."

Step 4

Choose "Restore My Computer to Factory Settings" and hit "Next."

Step 5

Click "OK" when asked you if you want to restore to factory settings.

Step 6

Wait for your computer to restore itself. The process may take up to two hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • First try to restore your computer to an earlier setting rather than do a factory restore.
  • Make sure you back up all the data you want to save, since factory restores are irreversible.