How To Factory Reset HP Laptop

Kenny Trinh Updated on October 20, 2020
How To Factory Reset HP Laptop

If you have an old HP laptop stuck in a random cabinet for ages that you want to recycle or just want to reset your current HP laptop which has a lot of seemingly unresolvable system issues, then you might want to factory reset it. This would make it faster, easy to use, and give you a fresh start to reorganize your files. This article would explain different ways on how to factory reset your HP laptop.

To factory reset your HP laptop: type and click “Reset this PC” on the Windows search bar, then select “Get Started”. After this, few options will prompt consecutively that will have no right or wrong answer. Choose what best suits you until you have seen the “Reset” button.

But these are very conservative steps. There are actually many ways to factory reset your laptop that might better suit you depending on what your laptop needs. Also, not knowing the details of how to customize what files would be erased or not is dangerous especially if you have many important files. The good thing is, we have prepared 3 methods to factory reset your HP laptop and all of those are in detail.

3 Ways To Factory Reset Your HP Laptop

There are actually two reasons that you might have before deciding to factory reset your laptop. One reason is that your system really needs a speed boost because problems are arising everywhere and you just want to start all over again. 

The second one is that you forgot your password because who knows? All you know is that you already need to open your HP laptop and your password is deeply buried inside your mind like a pin in a haystack. So these are the choices you have to reset your HP laptop:

Using Windows System Reset

You can use the Windows system reset if you can still log in normally and navigate through your laptop. To do this, you may follow the steps below:

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  1. Find the Windows search bar on the bottom-left part of the screen. Then type and click “Reset this PC”.
  1. The Update & Security Windows will pop up. Make sure that you are on the Recovery Tab. Then under the “Reset this PC,” click “Get Started”.
  1. Select your preferred procedure for reinstalling Windows. You could select from Cloud Download or Local reinstall. You can scroll down below for a detailed explanation of the difference between Cloud Download and Local Reinstall.
  1. After selecting between Cloud Download and Local Reinstall, another window will appear, prompting you to select between “Keep My Files” or “Remove Everything”.

This window just asks you if you want to keep your files while reinstalling all other apps or you want to delete everything to start from scratch. 

  1. If you want to keep all your files, click Keep My Files > Next > Reset. If you want to remove all drivers, apps, and files, Click “Remove Everything”.
  1. After clicking “Remove Everything”, another window will pop up and will ask you, “Do you want to remove all the files from the drive?” This will only pop up if you have more than one drive on your PC.
  1. Click “Only the drive where Windows is installed” if you want to leave out other drives and just want to reset the drive where Windows is installed. Click “All drives” if you want to completely recycle your laptop or PC and all the files will be removed on all your drives.
  1. The next step is that you will be asked, “Do you want to clean the drives, too?” If you want to remove the files and not clean the drives, click “Just remove my files”. If you want a more thorough approach which is to also clean your drives, click “Remove files and clean the drive”.
  1. Finally, on the last step, you won’t have many choices as you will only have to choose between “Reset” and “Cancel”. If you click reset, which is most probably what you will do, your laptop will start to factory reset your HP laptop. Just wait for a while and it will be automatically completed.

Using Windows Recovery Environment

If you had successfully followed through with the method of factory resetting your HP laptop through the Windows system reset, then you would also be able to follow this as easily. Using Windows Recovery Environment is being used for those who really do not want to even try to open their laptop.

This might be because you have already forgotten your password because your laptop came from ages ago and its remarkable durability is just amazing or your laptop is broken inside that just turning it on already takes too long. If your laptop belongs to this category, then follow the steps below:

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(Image credit: HP)
  1. Turn off your laptop and disconnect all external devices.
  1. Turn it on and immediately press the F11 key repeatedly until the “Choose an option” window appears.
  1. Click the “Troubleshoot” key.
  1. Select “Reset this PC”.
  1. You will be asked to choose between “Cloud Download” and “Local Reinstall”. Cloud download is initially better for a really broken system but you may want to check their complete list of differences just below.
  1. After selecting, a new window will appear which will give you an option to delete everything, from files, to apps, and to the settings you changed, or just delete everything except your files. 
  1. You will have to select between “Keep my files” and “Remove everything”. If you want to keep all your files, click Keep My Files > Next > Reset. If you want to remove all drivers, apps, and files, Click “Remove Everything”.
  1. After clicking “Remove Everything”, another window will pop up and will ask you, “Do you want to remove all the files from the drive?” This will only pop up if you have more than one drive on your PC.
  1. Click “Only the drive where Windows is installed” if you want to leave out other drives and just want to reset the drive where Windows is installed. Click “All drives” if you want to completely recycle your laptop or PC and all the files will be removed on all your drives.
  1. Next, another window will appear which would ask you, “Do you want to clean the drives, too?” and you may select between “Just remove my files” or “Remove files and clean the drive”. 
  1. After that, the last window will appear which will only have “Reset” and “Cancel” as your option. After this, you only have to wait until the factory reset of your HP laptop is finished.

Using the Fresh Start Option

Windows has introduced a new way to factory reset your HP laptop. It is indeed similar to those two from above, but have few differences that are actually better in some instances. The following differences are listed below:

  • Unlike in the above methods, Fresh Start does not allow you to erase all your personal files. This prevents you from accidentally deleting an important file that would make you regret your decision of factory resetting your HP laptop.
  • It automatically downloads the latest files and drivers of Windows 10 instead of using the one that is available inside your laptop. This is an amazing feat against laptops that have corrupted Windows files and drivers.
  • Fresh Start keeps some of the Windows settings you have made. This is better if you want your laptop to retain the customization you made previously. The only problem is the word “some” is pretty vague so you might still also manually bring back those settings of yours.

Overall, Fresh Start is another option that Windows offers that might suit others better. To know how to factory reset your laptop using Fresh Start, follow the steps below:

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  1. On the Windows search bar, search and click Recovery Options.
  1. Find and click the text which says “Learn how to start fresh with a clean installation of Windows”.
  1. A window will prompt which states “Did you mean to switch apps?”, then select Yes.
  1. The Windows Security window will pop up, then click “Get Started”.

The steps are much simpler than using Windows system reset and Windows Recovery Environment because Fresh Start automatically chooses some options for you. If you want the options the Fresh Start offers, then it might be better to follow these straightforward steps. 

But if you want to change something that is not in what Fresh Start offers, then it would be better for you to pick from Windows system reset and Windows Recovery Environment.

Local Reinstall Versus Cloud Download

Local Reinstall and Cloud Download are the two types of methods that you can use to reinstall your Windows OS. They have their advantages and disadvantages that are suitable for different situations that is why it should be better for you to know both.

Previously, Local Reinstall was the only method available for reinstalling Windows. Its main difference with the Cloud Download method is that your computer or laptop will get the local drivers that you have inside your PC and use it to reinstall Windows. It is clean and simple.

But its downside is that if you have a faulty driver, it will still be the driver that will be used by your computer after resetting your laptop. This is troublesome because faulty drivers are actually one of the reasons why you would want to factory reset your laptop. 

On top of this, Some of your drivers inside your laptop would be not updated automatically and it might also pose an additional danger on your computer. If you want to download the latest ones, you will manually download it after the factory reset of your HP laptop was finished. This is why the Cloud Download was introduced by Windows.

Resetting your HP laptop using Cloud Download lets your laptop download the latest drivers and Windows files directly from Microsoft. This prevents you from using corrupted files that are one of those reasons you have a broken laptop. 

This is the best option you could do for a cleaner and assured way of factory resetting your laptop, after all, it addresses the exact problem of resetting your HP laptop to its best form.

The downside of this is that it takes much more time than using Local Reinstall because it downloads the files which include those files that may also be already present inside your computer. It just starts literally from scratch. 

Aside from that, you need an internet connection. And the download speed is directly proportional to your internet speed. So if one of the faulty drivers is associated with your network connectivity, you might have a little trouble using this.

Another requirement needed for Cloud Download is that your laptop’s storage capacity should be greater than 32 GB. So, it cannot be performed on some laptops, especially your old HP laptop that won’t meet this requirement. 

If you have a really old laptop that not just can’t use Cloud Download but also your primary tasks, you may also want to consider buying a new laptop. Check our article about the best HP laptops on the market.

Overall, both of these options are viable and the final decision would still depend on you.

What Happens If I Factory Reset My HP Laptop To Factory Settings?

Factory resetting your HP laptop might completely or partially destroy your files on your laptop’s hard drive. What it does is it resets its settings like how it is when you initially bought it. All the software that you installed will be deleted and all that will be left are the pre-installed programs. Your computer settings will also be reset to its initial settings and your files will be deleted.

Backing-up your important files should be done before factory-resetting your HP laptop. But don’t worry if you weren’t able to back up your files. A window will still appear which will ask you if you would want to delete your files before resetting it.

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(Image credit: HP)

Factory Reset an HP Laptop that is on Windows 7 or Windows 8

The instructions above are made using Windows 10 so if you are not using Windows 10, some functions and terms are different. Don’t worry because the instructions are almost the same and you will still be able to follow using the above set of directions. But to ease the possible confusion, here are some differences that you might encounter.

  • On some laptops, to open the “Choose an option” window in the Windows Recovery Environment method, you may have to press ESC + F11 key instead of just the F11 key. So make sure to try both on your laptop.
  • The Cloud Download feature was just recently introduced in Windows 10’s 20H1 update so laptops that are still on Windows 8 and Windows 7 will not benefit from this feature.
Kenny Trinh
Article by:
Kenny Trinh
Editor @ Netbooknews. While he’s not editing articles on the latest tech trends, he likes to discuss business and entrepreneur tips and tricks which featured Forbes and other places.

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