What Happens When You Reset Your Windows 11 PC

Windows 11 is the latest operating system in town, boasting new improvements, a modern UI, and noteworthy features. However, like its predecessors, it is not immune to snags and hiccups. There may come a time when you need to reset your Windows 11 PC, intentionally or unintentionally. But what exactly happens when you reset your computer? Let’s explore the process and its implications.

Things to Do Before Resetting Windows 11 PC

Before you proceed with resetting your Windows 11 PC, there are a few things you should take care of:

  • If you use BitLocker, make sure you have the BitLocker key handy. You can find it in your Microsoft account.
  • Ensure a continuous power supply throughout the reset process. Connect your laptop to a power adapter or use a UPS for desktop computers.

What Happens When You Reset Windows 11 PC

A Windows reset essentially resets all system files and reinstalls the complete operating system on the C drive. What happens after the reset depends on the option you choose. Microsoft offers two methods:

1. Keep my files:

  • Uninstall apps and drivers you installed.
  • Reset settings to default.
  • Personal files in Documents, Downloads, Music, and other folders will remain untouched.
  • Exclude apps installed by the PC’s manufacturer.

2. Remove everything:

  • Uninstall apps and drivers you installed.
  • Reset settings to default.
  • Remove apps installed by the PC’s manufacturer.
  • Delete all files, including personal files.

If you choose the “Remove everything” option, you will also lose login information and need to set up Windows Hello again. However, apps that you previously purchased from the Microsoft Store can be easily reinstalled.

Cloud-based apps like Outlook and password managers will download their data automatically. For locally stored Microsoft Office files, back them up on OneDrive or a USB flash drive before selecting the “Remove everything” option. Similarly, Google Chrome will sync your data, including extensions, bookmarks, and passwords, when you reinstall the browser.

How to Reset a Windows 11 PC

Here’s how you can reset your Windows 11 PC:

  1. Press the Windows key, type “Reset,” and press Enter.
  2. Go to the Recovery options section and click on the Reset PC button.
  3. In the Reset this PC window, select the Keep my files option to preserve your personal files.
  4. Choose between Cloud Download or Local Reinstall.
  5. Proceed to the additional settings page and click Next.
  6. Review the apps that will be removed during the reset.
  7. Take a screenshot of the apps for reference and click Back.
  8. Click the Reset button. The setup will prepare your system for a reset and restart automatically.
  9. The system will restart multiple times during the installation process.
  10. Once the reset is complete, enter your PIN to continue.
  11. Windows will finish setting up your PC, and you will boot to the desktop.

After resetting your Windows 11 PC, there are a few steps you should follow:

  1. Check for updates in the Windows update section of the Settings app and install them. Update all drivers as well.
  2. Install all the apps you had on your previous system from the Microsoft Store.
  3. Manually download any desktop programs you previously installed from sources other than the Microsoft Store.


1. How do I force a factory reset on Windows 11 without settings?
If the Settings app isn’t opening, you can press and hold the Shift key and restart Windows to boot to the Windows recovery environment.

2. Does a factory reset make Windows 11 go back to Windows 10?
No, a factory reset will reinstall Windows 11. Users who upgraded from Windows 10 to Windows 11 have a limited time to revert to the previous operating system.

3. Does Windows 11 reset delete everything?
A Windows 11 reset only deletes the contents of the system drive. Personal files can be preserved by selecting the “Keep my files” option.

4. What happens if my computer shuts down during reset?
A power failure or battery shutdown during the reset process can cause issues, such as the PC not booting or encountering errors. It is important to ensure a stable power supply during the reset.

Resetting Windows 11 Is Easy

When faced with severe issues or hiccups in Windows 11, a system reset can be a convenient solution. However, it should be used as a last resort, and you should consider a system restore before proceeding. Resetting your Windows 11 PC is a straightforward process that doesn’t require installation media. Just be sure to back up your files and follow the steps carefully.

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