Windows 11 is knocking at our door. Anyone who has a Windows 10 computer running the latest version and meets the minimum hardware specifications will be able to upgrade. One question that always comes to mind in these transitional moments is: will my accessories work well in the new system? Yes, if they are working fine on Windows 10.

But often Windows 10 is not working well, as there are errors when installing a program, modifications made to the machine by viruses or trojans, and even problems with installing an update. All of this can cause slowdowns and crashes. So, to avoid upgrading a crashed system, formatting Windows 10 might be a good idea.

Formatting your PC, an operation considered extremely complex a few years ago, is now a simple procedure and capable of eliminating any problematic background programs, as well as cleaning any unnecessary files from your computer’s hard drive.

How to format Windows 10 without downloading programs or installation disc?

When deciding to format your PC or laptop, the good news is that, unlike what happened a few years ago, Windows 10 has a native function, which allows the user to perform a system restore, even without losing personal files.

This means that the Windows 10 settings themselves will automatically perform the system restore, via a fresh installation of the operating system. For this, you only need a reasonable internet connection, which allows you to download a 3GB .ISO image.

Before you start formatting, it’s good to know that this process can be a bit time consuming, it can take up to 2 hours depending on the connection, as Windows 10 will do all the updates and the installation of device drivers. It is also recommended that you back up your important files to an external device or the cloud.

Formatting Windows 10

1. Open the “START” menu and go to the “Settings” icon, represented by a gear shape.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

2. In the Settings tab, select the “Update and Security” option.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

3. In the side menu, on the left side of the screen, select the option “Recovery”.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

4. Recovery offers the options: “Advanced Boot”, which allows you to boot from a recovery drive or flash drive; and “Back to the previous version of Windows 10”, for nostalgics who want to go back to previous versions of the operating system (provided that one of those previous systems has been upgraded by Windows 10).

To format, go to the first option “Restore PC” and click on “Start now”. Once a new Windows window opens, don’t shut down your machine until the entire process is complete.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

5. In this new window, you can choose between the options “Keep my files”, which preserves your personal files, or “Remove all”, which will delete all files, programs and photos. Whichever you choose, all settings will return to defaults, and all applications will be uninstalled.

The option to wipe drive (“Remove All”) takes longer, but it ensures that if you’re selling your computer, for example, the buyer won’t have access to and won’t be able to recover your deleted files.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

6. Make your settings as per the desired restore option and click “Next”.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

7. It may take a while, but Windows 10 will automatically make all the preparations to format your computer. And, as soon as the process is complete, you will receive a machine “zeroed” and ready to be used.

Source: Windows 10/Reproduction
Source: Windows 10/ReproductionSource: Windows 10

How to format without accessing the settings menu?

If your PC or laptop is having a problem, and you cannot access the settings menu, there is still the possibility to perform the formatting from the login screen. Do the following:

  1. press the Windows logo key and the “L”. This will take you directly to the Windows 10 login screen, but don’t login;
  2. instead, restart the computer while holding the “Shift” key and the power button, then choose the “Restart” option in the lower right corner of the screen;
  3. the device will reboot into Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE);
  4. On the options screen, select Troubleshooting > Reboot this PC and from there, just choose the options as explained above.
Image: Microsoft OneDrive
Image: Tecmundo Recommends

Microsoft OneDrive

Discover the available Microsoft One Drive plans and benefits, for up to 6 people.

Check the offers