Software Windows

How should I reset Windows 10 before I donate my machine?

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It’s better for all of us if we reduce, reuse and recycle. In the spirit of that sentiment, we’re going to show you the easiest way to reset Windows 10 before the machine passes on to a new owner.

Even if you know the new user, it’s important to erase all the private data – photos, documents etc. – from the machine before it leaves your possession. Data is a precious commodity, and it’s challenging enough to keep it secure on the devices we own. A machine crammed with your data should not be in anyone else’s hands. Fortunately, it’s really easy to wipe a machine and install Windows 10 in one move.

Windows 10 has a built-in reset system that, with a few tweaks, will also clean the drive. This makes it far more unlikely that data retrieval would succeed.

Let’s begin.

  1. Open the Windows start menu and type Reset. Click on Reset this PC from the menu.
Step 1 - Click "reset this PC" from start menu.

  1. Under Reset this PC, choose Get Started.
Step 2 - Click Get started.

  1. Select Remove everything.
Step 3 - Click Remove Everything.

  1. Choose Local reinstall – if you’re curious about Cloud download, you can find our article about it here.
Step 4 - Click local re-install.

  1. Here’s the secret sauce. In the Additional settings box, choose Change settings.
Step 5- Click change settings

  1. Flick the switch on the Clean data? option and press Confirm.
Step 6 - Click clean data

  1. Double check the settings and press Next.
Step 7 - Check settings and click next.

  1. If you’re happy to proceed – and you’re certain there is a backup of all the data you’re about to erase – press Reset.
Step 8 - Now click Reset

That’s it. Depending on how large the drive it, the reset can take a few hours. If you’re performing this on a laptop, make sure it’s plugged in, as your battery may not make it to the end of the process.

Step 9: Sit and wait. You're done.

The machine will restart several times, but eventually you’ll have a shiny new copy of Windows 10, ready to pass on and extend the lifespan of the machine.

READ NEXT: How can I create a Windows 10 USB boot device?

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About the author

Lee Grant

I can normally be found attacking things with screwdrivers in my small computer repair business or writing a column for PC Pro magazine.

I am also trying to solve a mystery involving David Bowie.

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