Can I Recover Personal Files After Factory Reset Laptop

Why Do We Need to Factory Reset Laptop

Can I Recover Personal Files After Factory Reset Laptop 1 There is no doubt that Windows laptops are rarely quicker and easier to use than the day they ship from the factory. Over time, the accumulation of files, mis-configured settings, and other factors will slow down performance, and impact programs. In this case, restoring our laptop to the state it came out of the factory can solve these mentioned problems easily and quickly. Besides, factory reset can help to remove all our programs, files, passwords and other sensitive information before selling/donating the laptop so as to prevent private or confidential information from being leaked. So, how can we factory reset a laptop easily and effectively? Let’s see the following content to get detailed steps.

How to Factory Reset Laptop

A reset to factory conditions is the quickest and easiest way to return to normal, whether our system has been running slow or caught a virus.
However, how to restore computer to factory settings? As we know, different computer systems require different ways to complete this task. Here, we take Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 for example to show this issue.

How to Reset a Windows 7 Laptop to the Factory Settings

Can I Recover Personal Files After Factory Reset Laptop 2 If you are running Windows 7 (or Windows Vista), you have two choices to perform a factory reset.

The first is to re-install Windows from scratch, which isn’t a factory reset at all, unless you have all the original, factory-provided install media available. This method is a good way for users who want to destroy all information saved in their laptop permanently.

Alternatively, you can use a manufacturer-provided recovery tool and factory-provided recovery partition (most major computer manufacturers, like HP and Dell, provide recovery partitions on laptops and tablets in lieu of installation media.). Here are common names for recovery software from each major PC manufacturer.

Note: If you are not sure whether your Windows 7 laptop has a recovery partition, check the user manual for your specific model. Besides, you can turn to Disk Management tool to know if your laptop has a built-in recovery partition. Right click “Computer” in the Start menu, choose “Manage”, and then select “Disk management”. After that, you can see a list of drives as well as their partitions. Nevertheless, sometimes, the one you are interested in may not be called Recovery. In this situation, you should look at any partition that is 8-16GB in size and check its properties.

HP: HP System Recovery or Recovery Manager
Dell: Dell Factory Image Restore, DataSafe, Dell Backup & Recovery, and a variety of other names
Acer: Acer eRecovery or Acer Recovery Management
ASUS: ASUS Recovery Partition or AI Recovery
Lenovo: Rescue and Recovery ,or ThinkVantage Recovery (on ThinkPads)
Sony: Sony Vaio Recovery Wizard

Here, we will take HP as well as Dell for example to show the detailed steps to reset Windows 7 laptop to the factory settings without a disc.

Step 1: Power down the computer, and remove all peripheral devices. Then, boot the computer into Windows 7.
Step 2: Click “Start” button, and then click “All Programs”.
Step 3: Click “Recovery Manager”, and then click the “Recovery Manager” option once again. The Administrator login prompt or User Access Control dialog box may display. Click “Yes” in the UAC dialog box to continue, or type the administrator password, and then click “OK” to log in as an Administrator. The Recovery Manager main screen opens.
Step 4: Click the “System Recovery” option in the left column. The Restore Your Computer To Its Original Factory Condition screen opens.
Step 5: Click the “Yes” radio button, and then click “Next”.
Step 6: The laptop powers down and then reboots. When the computer boots again, the operating system and all default applications are restored to factory defaults.

Step 1: Turn off the laptop and remove any attached devices. After that, power on it.
Step 2: When the Dell logo appears on the screen, press F8 several times to open the Advanced Boot Options menu.
Note: If the Advanced Boot Options menu doesn't open, wait for the Windows login prompt. Then restart the computer and try again.
Step 3: Use the Arrow keys to select “Repair Your Computer” and then press “Enter”.
Step 4: On the System Recovery Options menu, select a keyboard layout and click “Next”. Then, users can log in as a local user or the Administrator.
Note: Use the drop down menu to the right of User name: select the local user or the Administrator account and enter the password for that account. If you have not set up a password on the local user account, leave the password space empty and click “OK”.
Step 5: Depending on the configuration, you may need to select “Dell Factory Tools” and then click “Dell Factory Image Restore” from the Dell Factory Tools menu. Click “Next” to open the Confirm Data Deletion screen.
Ste 6: Select “Yes, Reformat Hard Drive and Restore System Software to Factory Condition”, and then click “Next”.
Note: The restore process begins and may take five or more minutes to complete. A message appears when the operating system and factory-installed applications have been restored to factory condition.
Step 7: Click “Finish.” The computer reboots.

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How to Reset Windows 8 Laptop to the Factory Settings

Can I Recover Personal Files After Factory Reset Laptop 3 Windows 8 lets users restore their laptop back to factory default settings, regardless of who made it or whether users have an install disc.

Step 1: Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, tap “Settings”, and then tap “PC settings”.
Step 2: Tap “General”. Then, you will see three options including: Refresh your PC without affecting your files, Remove everything and reinstall Windows, and Advanced startup. (as shown below)

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Step 3: At this time, you can select a suitable one according to actual needs. After that, you will be given detailed operating prompts. Just do as told.

a:) The first option reinstalls Windows and keeps personal files, settings, and any apps downloaded from the Windows Store. While this is not a full reset to factory settings, it’s pretty close, and may solve performance problems with less inconvenience. Just click the “Get Started” button.

b:) If you choose the second option “Remove everything and reinstall Windows”, all your data will be lost.
Note: if you turn to the first and second option, you need an active Windows Recovery Partition or installation media (a disc with a Windows installer on it).

c:) If you don’t have a recovery partition or installation media, you can create an installation drive as long as you have a valid product key and a USB drive.

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How to Reset Windows 10 Laptop to the Factory Settings

Can I Recover Personal Files After Factory Reset Laptop 5 Step 1: Click “Start>Settings>Update & security> Recovery” button to see the following window. Windows presents you with three major options: Reset this PC, Go back to an earlier build and Advanced startup. “Reset this PC” is the best option for starting fresh. “Advanced startup” lets you boot off a recovery USB drive or disc and “Go to an earlier build” is made for Windows Insiders who want to roll back to a previous version of the OS.

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Step 2: Here, to reset Windows 10, you need to click “Get stated” under the Reset this PC.

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Step 3: In this window, you can see two options ( “Keep my files” and “Remove everything”). Here, we can click the first option to get the next operating interface.

Note: “Keep my files” will keep things like your saved documents, photos, and music files intact, while “Remove everything” will completely wipe everything except Windows 10 itself. Both options will delete any installed programs and reset all settings.

Step 4: This interface displays a list of conventional programs installed on your computer (ones not installed from the Windows Store). This list will be saved to your desktop when you finish the recovery process. Click “Next”.

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Step 5: Click “Reset”. Your PC will reboot automatically and begin the reset process. This might take an hour or more, so if you’re using a laptop it’s a good idea to plug in the power cord. It may reboot itself several times. Wait for Windows to restart and begin the setup process, then enter your personal information, log in, and begin setting up your refreshed PC.

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However, though restoring laptops to factory default can help us solve some problems, it will lead to data loss if there is no backup. Well, is it possible to recover personal files after factory reset?

Can We Recover Personal Files after Factory Resetting Laptop

  Actually, whether we can complete data recovery depends on how the factory restore was done. Here, let’s discuss several situations.

1: Turn to recovery partition or recovery disc to factory reset Windows computer

As we know, Windows 7 users can use a manufacturer-provided recovery tool and factory provided recovery partition to perform a factory reset. However, restoring laptop to factory reset via this way will delete all data and apps saved on the system partition (C drive). In this situation, if you want to get these data back, you can try turning to professional data recovery companies or data recovery software.

Note: the possibility of data recovery is small since new Windows files might overwrite the deleted data.

2: “Refresh” or “ Reset” Windows 8

As we know, for Windows 8 and more recent Window OS, Microsoft implemented its own functions for “refreshing” and “resetting” computers.

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Refreshing your PC reinstalls Windows and keeps your personal files, settings, as well as the apps coming with your PC and installed from the Windows Store. That is to say our personal files are kept intact if we choose to refresh laptop, and there is no need to do recovery. Of course, you can try using data recovery software or turn to data recovery companies to recover other deleted files.

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Resetting”, which is called “Remove everything and reinstall Windows” by Windows, means you’ll lose everything, including your Metro apps, personal data, and other applications and return to a fresh copy of Windows. Well, can we recover personal files if we choose this method?

During the process of resetting laptop, you'll be asked to choose whether you want to erase data quickly or thoroughly. If you choose to erase data quickly, some data might be recovered by special software or professional data recovery companies. However, if you choose to erase data thoroughly, this will make recovering data less likely.

3: “Keep my files” or “Remove everything” Windows 10

It is known that you will receive two options (“Keep my files” as well as “Remove everything”) when you reset Windows 10. Both options will reinstall Windows, but the first one “Keep my files” will keep your personal data while the second one will remove all your personal files.

And if you click “Remove everything”, you will be given two options: “Just remove my files” and “Remove files and clean the drive”. (as shown below)

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Just Remove my files: The first option is quicker and recommended if you just want a fresh start and you plan to keep the computer. Your files might be recoverable by someone else since they are only marked as deleted.

Remove files and clean the drive: The second option performs a secure erase to fully clean your drive by overwriting your files so that they can't be easily recovered. That is to say it will be quite difficult to recover data if users choose this way to reset laptop.

Summary: it could be either easy or difficult to recover our personal files, depending on which factory set method we choose. However, even if there is a little chance to recover desired data, we shouldn’t give up. And both data recovery tool and data recovery companies can help us do this work. In addition, it is recommended to stop all working once we realize data loss, because it can increase data recovery rate largely.

How to Recover Personal Data after Factory Reset

We have said both data recovery software and data recovery companies are capable of doing data recovery, but if you don’t want to pay a lot of money or bear the risk of privacy leakage, using a program is highly recommended. Here we take MiniTool Power Data Recovery for example.

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The above window is the main interface of the program, where 5 relatively independent data recovery modules are shown. You can select a suitable one according to actual needs to recover lost data. Here, we can choose “Damaged Partition Recovery” to recover data after factory reset. Then, fully scan the partition which stored our personal files, and finally find and save desired data to another device or partition. In general, as long as these lost files are not overwritten, you can recover them with this software.

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After seeing the simple introduction about factory reset and data recovery, if you still want to reset your Windows to factory settings, the following tips may be useful.

Top Tips for Factory Reset Laptop

1: Backup Data

Before you begin the process of resetting or restoring your laptop or computer, it is highly recommended that you create a backup of your laptop or computer. Then, you will not lose all the important data stored on your hard drive such as business data, working documents, music, apps, etc.

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Here, to quickly and easily backup data, you can turn to a free disk clone tool like MiniTool Partition Wizard. This tool offers “Copy Disk” feature which can help to copy all files, including operating system, personal files, settings, and any types of files, from one disk to another in several steps. And these files can be used directly.

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2: Know the Reset Option That Will Work for You the Best

Windows will offer several options when we reset it to factory settings, as we all know. So, we should know which one would be the best for us. For instance: when we reset Windows 8 to factory default, we will be given “Refresh” or “Reset” options. Here, if we want to reset it without losing our music, video and some other personal data, we had better choose the “Refresh” option; if we want to sell our laptop, we had better choose the second one to remove all important data.

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Will you want to factory reset your laptop? If you have any question about factory reset and data recovery, please leave comments below.

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