When files on your PC start taking up too much space or maybe some malware got installed on your PC, and no fixes have worked so far, resetting the Windows on your PC is the surefire way to wipe all data and viruses from your PC completely. If you need to reset your PC, you might be wondering: How long does it take to reset a PC?  

This article will answer that question, explore PC resetting options, the best methods of removing the junk on your PC, and the factors that affect the period of a PC reset. And much more.  

How Long Does It Take To Factory Reset a PC? 

Resetting a PC could take from 30 minutes up to 3 hours; however, it also depends on many factors. Like what storage device you’re using, how much data is on your PC, and how many files you want to keep from getting wiped out. There have been cases where a PC reset took a whole day on extremely slow computers. Factory resetting your PC also gives you two choices: “Keep my files” and “Remove everything .” 

The “Keep my files” option removes all apps and the settings but keeps personal files. This process takes much shorter than the “Remove everything” opportunity because the computer doesn’t delete everything on your disk and its partitions. You can keep your files and important folders from getting wiped, and they’ll be there when Windows is reinstalled. 

In the “Remove everything” option, all personal files, settings, and apps are completely removed. Unlike the “Keep my files” option, this one takes much longer as everything on your computer is wiped out, and the Windows 10 is reinstalled without previous files, apps, and settings.  

When you Factory Reset your PC, all files, programs, folders, and applications are deleted from your computer, and the system automatically reinstalls Windows 10 on your PC. So you won’t need to reinstall Windows when you factory reset your PC. It is one of the reasons why it takes so long to reset the Windows on your PC and your PC’s specs.  

It is a good idea to reset your PC once in a while when you think your PC is getting too crowded with unnecessary apps and files. Along with that, a lot of data automatically fills up on your PC regardless of user intervention. This data slows down your PC, so when you reset your PC, your PC temporarily performs much better until all that data fills up again.   

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Reset this PC vs. Fresh Start 

Windows 10 comes with multiple factory resetting methods so you can wipe your current OS and get rid of all your data. These are the “Reset this PC” method and the “Fresh Start” method. These methods are pretty similar, but they have uses of their own which they’re more suited to. We’ll explain them below.  

Reset this PC 

Reset this PC removes everything on your computer, including files, folders, apps, and settings, and reinstalls Windows with pre-installed drivers, trialware, and bloatware. So, everything except software and drivers which came pre-installed on your system will be deleted when the Windows is reinstalled.  

Moreover, this option allows you to save your important files and keep them from getting deleted on your HDD or SSD. You can also enable the system to delete all the files.  

Reset this PC is mainly used when something’s wrong with your system, for example, if a virus infects it. It’s also used for clearing up all personal data before selling computers.  

Fresh Start 

Fresh Start removes everything on your PC just like Reset this PC and reinstalls Windows, but unlike Reset this PC, drivers, trialware, and bloatware aren’t automatically installed again. The Windows Update downloads all the drivers and software (including bloatware and trialware). But some drivers that the Windows Update couldn’t recognize might not be installed again. 

Furthermore, the Fresh Start option allows you to keep your files and important data. But it doesn’t enable the option to remove everything, which is different from the Reset this PC option. 

Fresh Start is more suitable for fixing booting problems and power and performance issues. And if you  

How to Backup Files & Programs before Factory Reset 

When resetting your PC, you should consider backing up your files to an external storage device, or you could also use Windows Backup & Restore feature to keep your files so you can restore them once a new copy of Windows is installed. If you want to back up your files and programs before factory resetting your PC, you should follow these steps:

Search for Control Panel
Step 1: Search for Control Panel
  1. Click on the Start Button or press the Start key on your keyboard. Search for Control Panel and open it.

    Navigate through Backup and Restore
    Step 2: Navigate through Backup and Restore
  2. Navigate through System & Security -> Backup and Restore (Windows 7) 

    Set up backup
    Step 3: Set up backup
  3. Once you’re there, click on “Set up back” under the Backup tab.  A setup wizard will open.
  4. Follow the setup wizard and choose which external drive you want to back up the files if you’re going to let Windows automatically restore all files or decide them yourself.
  5. Once you’ve gone through the setup wizard, you can click on the “Back up now” option to save all your files.   

If you already have a backup, you can update it. If you haven’t set up a backup before, you can set up a new backup to store your files and programs. You can also create an entirely new backup from scratch by following the above steps. 

After you’ve reset your PC, you can restore the files on your brand-new Windows by following these steps:

File History
Step 1: Open File History
  1. Open the Control Panel from the Start menu and then select File History 

    Select Drive
    Step 2: Select Drive
  2. On the left, you’ll see an option saying “Select drive.” Once you click on that, you’ll be prompted with any external devices that Windows detected containing your backup.

    File History activated
    Step 3: File History activated
  3. Select the drive you stored the backup on, and you’ll find a list of all backups saved on different dates. Make your choice and click on Ok. This will take you back to File History, which will now activate.

    Restore Files
    Step 4: Restore Files
  4. Again, you’ll find the “Restore personal files” option on the left. Click on it, and you’ll find all the files that were backed up on the drive. You can restore all of them by simply clicking on the restore button on the bottom.  
  5. You can also manually select which files you want to restore by clicking on them individually, clicking on files and folders, and selecting the restore button. 

How to Reset Windows 10 PC 

In this section, you’ll find easy steps to completely reset Windows 10 on your PC using the Reset PC method. This way, you don’t have to use an external flash drive or installation disc.  

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  1. Open the Start menu and type in “Settings.” Now click on Update & Security, and on the left, you’ll find the Recovery tab.

    Update and Security
    Step 1: Navigate to Update and Security
  2. Click on the Recovery tab, and under the “Reset this PC” section, click on “Get Started.”

    Recovery tab
    Step 2: Click on the Recovery tab
  3. You’ll find two options: “Keep Everything” and “Remove Everything,” and their descriptions.

    Click on Keep my Files
    Step 3: Click on Keep my Files
  4. For this guide, we’ll use the “Remove Everything” option. After selecting this option, you’ll be directed to another menu with two options: “Just remove my files” and “Remove files and clean the drive.”

    Remove my files
    Step 4: Remove my files
  5. Click on “Just remove my files,” as it is the faster option. However, if you are selling your PC, “Remove files and clean the drive” is the better option because it makes file recovery harder for the new user. Once you select either of the options, the Windows reset starts.
  6. The old version of Windows gets deleted during this process, and a new copy is installed automatically. Your PC might restart several times and afterward, you’ll be prompted to enter your Microsoft account and customize your new Windows.   

How to Reset Windows 11 PC 

Installing Windows 11 on a PC is quite similar to installing Windows 10.  

  1. First, open the Start menu and click on the Settings option on the top right.

    Search for Settings
    Step 1: Search for Settings
  2. In the Settings interface, click on Update & Security. 

    Click on Recovery Tab
    Step 2: Click on Recovery Tab
  3. On the left, you’ll find the “Recovery” option. Once you’re there, you’ll find the “Reset PC” option under the “Reset this PC” section.

    Click on Reset PC
    Step 3: Click on Reset PC
  4. This will give you “Keep my files” and “Remove everything” options, just like in Windows 10.

    Click on Keep my Files
    Step 4: Click on Keep my Files
  5. Once you select either of the options, you’ll be directed to additional settings where you can make changes if required. It’s recommended to leave this on default and click on next.  
  6. Lastly, you’ll need to click on the reset button to start the process of resetting your Windows. This could take a while, and your PC may restart a few times before directing you to your new Windows 11 customizing options.  

How to Fix Windows 10 Reset Stuck 

When resetting your Windows, the installation could be stuck at any percentage for a very long time. This typically occurs due to a corrupted file in your system, which stops your PC from resetting. There could also be a reset file that isn’t functioning correctly and interrupting processes like copying your previous files.  

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So, you might be wondering how to fix this issue and reinstall Windows successfully on your PC. In our research, we’ve concluded that there’s no fix. You have to wait for the reset process to move, and there isn’t a proper estimate of how long you’ll have to wait. It is recommended that you wait for at least 8 hours before taking any other measures.  

However, if you think you’ve waited long enough, you can try rebooting your PC. After rebooting, Windows should resume the resetting process from where it left off. However, we wouldn’t recommend it because it could corrupt your system.  

You can also turn off your PC and use another computer to make a bootable Windows 10 USB drive and use it to back up your files on the first PC. You can back up your files to the same USB drive or another external device of your choice.  

Once this is done and you’ve backed up your important files, it’s time to do a clean install of Windows 10/11 on your PC. You can install Windows through a USB drive or an installation disk. You’ll have to format your previous C drive for safe installation. Once the Windows is installed on your PC, you can copy your backed-up files from the external drive on your new PC. This should fix the problem.  

While you could go through the whole process of backing up your files on an external drive and reinstalling Windows, just waiting it out seems to be the best approach for this issue.  

It is always recommended to keep a backup of your essential files whether it be on an external drive, cloud storage, or other means. They come in handy when there are problems like this and other issues that might occur on your storage device. 

This is all you needed to know about How Long Does it take to reset a PC – including types, on which is better, various errors you might encounter, and things to be cautious off. 

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Abdemanaf has been a creative writer since 2011. He first dwelled in the tech world in early 2015 and has since compared many product offerings by different companies. Abdemanaf started working for Tech4Gamers in February 2022 as a blog and comparison writer.