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How Do I Reset My Computer to the Day I Bought it

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 6/30/2009

This Windows tutorial shows you how to restore your Windows Vista system back to its factory settings.

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    You can use a Vista recovery disk to restore your computer to its original factory settings. This is a disk or set of disks that are designed to completely erase your hard drive and reset your computer to the day you bought it. The recovery disk commonly comes with your Windows system when you buy it. If you do not have one, you can easily create your own recovery disk. Outlined below are the steps you need to follow in order to reset your computer.

    Note: There are slightly different instructions from different manufactures, but these steps provide a general overview of the whole process.

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    Restore your PC to its Factory Settings

    1. Backup all of your files and folders to a removable media such as an external drive or USB stick. If you have an online back up service, you may use that instead. This is essential because you will lose all your personal data files and applications.
    2. Shut down the computer and disconnect all of your peripheral components such as printers or scanners, leaving only the monitor, mouse and keyboard.
    3. Insert your Vista recovery disk into the CD or DVD-ROM drive and restart the computer. If prompted, press any key to boot from the Vista installation DVD.
    4. Select your language preference and the appropriate keyboard layout, and then click Next.
    5. Click on: Repair Your Computer. Press the Enter key. This opens the Systems Recovery Options window.
    6. Select the Windows installation that you want to restore. Enter your administrator user name and password.
    7. Click on Windows Complete PC Restore in the window that opens. Select a backup image then click on Next.
    8. Select Format and repartition disks. This will completely erase your hard drive, restoring it to its default factory settings. Click on Finish to complete the process.
    9. Place a check mark to select: I confirm that I want to erase all existing data and restore the backup. Click OK. Allow Vista time to complete the process.
    10. Re-install your software and data files from your back-up. And you are done!