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Last updated: Jan 26, 2024

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.

Your computer should feel brand new if everything goes according to plan and there are no unnecessary files or settings. Don't panic, though, if you didn't realize that doing this would result in the deletion of your personal files; there's still a chance that you can get them back after completing a Windows 10 factory reset. Read on to discover more.

Why might you need to factory reset your computer?

If your computer is running slowly or has been compromised by malware, resorting to a factory reset might be your final option. Below are some common scenarios where a factory reset could be necessary:

  • One of the primary reasons people opt for a factory reset is to enhance their computer's performance. Over the years, your machine can get cluttered with unused applications and bloatware, slowing it down. Mistakenly altering crucial settings or installing seldom-used apps could also impact performance. A factory reset quickly restores the computer to its initial configuration, allowing you to reinstall only the apps you actually need.
  • Eradicating persistent malware is another frequent cause for a factory reset. Some viruses can obtain root access, infecting essential areas like the boot record and registry, making them nearly impossible to eliminate. In such instances, a factory reset might be your only viable option.
  • At times, Windows updates can introduce more problems than they solve. A computer that was operating smoothly may start experiencing issues post-update. Simply uninstalling the problematic update might not fix the issue, making a factory reset a potential solution as it reverts the PC back to its default settings and installs a clean Windows version.
  • A factory reset is commonly used to securely erase all data from laptops before selling or giving them away. It's a straightforward and dependable way to clean your computer without having to manually delete each file. However, data recovery is possible even after a factory reset. To truly make data unrecoverable, you should utilize 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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