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Last updated: Mar 21, 2023

How to Recover Files after Factory Reset Windows 10?

If you experience persistent problems with your computer, performing a "factory reset" may be the last resort before considering hardware upgrades or a new computer altogether. Essentially, a "factory reset" involves restoring the operating system to its original state and erasing any changes that were made by the user.

If the process goes smoothly, your computer should feel as good as new, with no extraneous files or settings. However, if you were not aware that this would result in the deletion of your personal files, don't worry - there is still a chance that you can recover some or all of them after performing a factory reset on Windows 10. Keep reading to learn more.

Why might you need to factory reset your computer?

When your computer slows down or is infected with a virus, a factory reset may be the last resort. Here are some of the reasons why your computer may require a factory reset:

1. The most popular reason to factory reset a computer is to improve its speed. Over time, applications and bloatware can accumulate on your computer, affecting its performance. You may have accidentally changed critical settings or installed apps that you rarely use. A factory reset is the fastest and easiest way to restore your computer to its original state. You only need to reinstall the apps that you actually use.

2. Another common reason to factory reset a computer is to remove persistent malware. Some viruses can gain root access to your computer and infect the boot record and registry, making them impossible to remove. In such cases, your only option may be to perform a factory reset.

3. Sometimes, Windows updates can create more issues than they solve. A smoothly running PC may suddenly develop problems after an update. Uninstalling the update may not always work. In such cases, a factory reset may help as it restores the PC to its default settings and installs a fresh copy of Windows.

4. Many people use a factory reset to erase their laptops' data before selling or giving them away. This is considered an easy and reliable way to wipe a computer clean without manually deleting each file. However, it's possible to recover data from a factory reset computer. To permanently erase data, you need to use a specialized shredding tool that overwrites the drive multiple times.

Recover Files after Factory Reset Windows 10

Method 1: Use Data Recovery Software

Resetting Windows to its factory settings will result in the loss of all data on your computer, including the system files. Therefore, it is highly recommended to create a disk image beforehand to prevent data loss.

DiskInternals Partition Recovery can help you create a free disk image and recover deleted files from it. You can use this image to restore your OS to a previous state. Additionally, the software can perform deep scanning of each disk section to recover all types of files, with a recovery success rate of around 98%. The program provides these results for free, allowing you to verify its effectiveness before exporting the necessary files to another storage medium. To do this, you will require a license, which also provides you with technical support from the company's specialists for a year.

After you have secured your data, you can proceed to reset Windows 7 to its factory settings.

Method 2: Recover Files Using Backup

If you have performed a reset on your Windows 10 and do not have any backup saved, you can still retrieve your lost files. One option is to check if you have a backup folder available, where you might have stored your data on external storage devices like Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), Solid-State Drives (SSD), USB drives, etc. In such a case, you can easily recover your files from the backup folder.

If you do not have any backup available, you can use Windows data recovery software such as DiskInternals Partition Recovery to recover your lost files.

Method 3: Apply Data Recovery Services

In the event that all other options have been exhausted, seeking assistance from experts is a viable option. Numerous companies provide professional data recovery services to assist in retrieving lost data from any circumstance, including an unresponsive hard drive. If none of the methods we previously mentioned have yielded results, it may be worthwhile to consider this approach.

Are there any ways to save data when restoring the PC?

Creating backups is an excellent way to safeguard your data, but the catch is that you need to set it up in advance.

There are several reliable applications available that can generate external backups. For instance, there's File History that backs up specified folders, and System Image that creates a backup of the entire disk. However, File History is system-specific and doesn't work with a fresh Windows 10 installation. Though you can technically make it work, it's more of a workaround than a dependable feature.

In this case, a System Image is what you require. This alternative generates a perfect backup of all the content on your computer, including installed applications, allowing you to completely undo a factory reset.


  • Does a factory reset delete everything on a laptop?

    Yes, a factory reset on a laptop will delete everything on the hard drive, including all personal files, installed applications, and settings. It will restore the computer to its original state, as it was when it was first purchased.

  • Can you recover photos after performing a factory reset on a laptop?

    Performing a factory reset on a laptop will erase all data including photos, so it's not possible to recover them using traditional recovery methods. However, if you had previously backed up your photos to an external storage device or cloud service, you may be able to retrieve them from there.

  • Can you undo a factory reset?

    Unfortunately, once a factory reset has been performed, it is not possible to undo it completely. The factory reset process is designed to wipe all data from the device's internal storage and restore it to its original state, as if it had just been taken out of the box.

  • Can I Recover files after a Windows 10 System Restore?

    It depends on the type of system restore you performed. If you did a System Restore that creates a restore point, your personal files will not be affected, and you can recover them after the restore is complete.

  • How to reinstall Windows 10 after a factory reset?

    To reinstall Windows 10 after a factory reset, you can follow these steps:

    • Create a bootable USB drive or DVD with the Windows 10 installation files.
    • Insert the USB drive or DVD into your computer and restart it.
    • Press the key to enter the boot menu (usually F12, but may vary depending on your computer model).
    • Select the USB drive or DVD as the boot device.
    • Follow the on-screen instructions to install Windows 10.
    • When prompted, enter your product key or skip this step if your computer came with Windows 10 pre-installed and activated.
    • Choose your language and other preferences.
    • Select the option to install Windows 10 on the same partition as before or create a new partition if you prefer.
    • Wait for the installation process to complete.
    • Once the installation is finished, reinstall any necessary drivers and software.

    Note that this will completely erase all data on your computer, so make sure you have a backup of any important files before proceeding.

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