How To Factory Reset Dell Laptop in 7 Steps

Is your Dell laptop slowing down or having software issues? Well, a factory reset might be the solution for you!

In this article, I teach you how to factory reset Dell laptops in a few simple steps.

Make sure you backup all of your valuable data first before doing a factory reset.

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how to factory reset Dell laptop

Dell laptops are very straightforward to factory reset.

I have written instructions for Windows 11, 10, 8 and 7 below.

Windows 10

Step 1: Turn on your laptop and wait until you get to the login screen.

Step 2: Hold down the shift key then click on the power button in the bottom right corner and click Restart

Step 3: Press “Yes” to the prompt.

Step 4: Select “Troubleshoot” from the recovery window.

Step 5: Select “Reset this PC”

Step 6: Select “Fully clean the drive” for a full factory reset or “Keep my files” to do a soft factory reset without touching your files.

Step 7: Press “Reset” on the final warning

This process will take roughly 45minutes to do a fresh install. Plug in your laptop to a power source so your computer does not shut off while doing the restore process.

Windows 8

Step 1: Click on the start menu button

Step 2: Click on the settings icon

Step 3: Click on update & security

Step 4: Click on recovery

Step 5: Under Reset this PC select “remove everything” for a full wipe of your laptop or “keep my files” for a soft factory reset.

Step 6: Press Reset

Before pressing reset you can click the option to “check programs that will be removed” to see exactly what the process is going to do to your computer.

If you press “remove everything” your laptop will fully reset to the state that you had it when it came out of the box.

After pressing “Reset,” Plug in your laptop to a power source so your computer does not shut off while doing the restore process.

Windows 7

Here’s how you can factory reset a Dell laptop that has a Windows 7 operating system.

Step 1: Click on your start icon

Step 2: Click on control panel

Step 3: Click on system & security

Step 4: Click backup and restore

Step 5: Click recover system settings or your computer

Step 6: Click advanced recovery methods

Step 7: Click Return your computer to factory condition

Step 8: Click Back up now if you want to backup your files, otherwise press skip

Step 9: Click Restart

Step 10: Follow the recovery wizard if one appears.

Windows 11

Windows 11 generally has a smoother and faster factory reset process. To do this, follow these steps below.

Step 1: Right click windows start button and click settings

Step 2: Scroll down and click on recovery

Step 3: Click Reset this PC.

Step 4: Choose either “Keep my files” or “Remove everything”

Step 5: Click “cloud download” if you have wifi to get the newest version of windows or “”local reinstall”

If you still don’t have enough space after factory resetting because you chose the “keep my files” option, you can do this next trick to free up some space.

Go to your file explorer and click on This PC. Then right click on your local disk and click properties. Then press disk cleanup and select the items to remove. Additionally you can click clean up system files.

How To Factory Reset Dell Laptop Without Password

If you can’t access windows, there is another way that you can factory reset your Dell laptop without having to be logged in and using the start menu method.

Here are the instructions.

Step 1: Turn on your laptop or restart it.

Step 2: Press F9 repeatedly, if that doesn’t work try F10, F11 or F12

Step 3: You will see a blue automatic repair screen. Click on advanced options.

Step 4: Click on troubleshoot

Step 5: Click on reset this PC

Step 6: Select either “remove everything” for a full factory reset or “Keep my files” to do a soft factory reset without touching your files.

Step 7: Select your account to continue and type in your password, if you don’t have one then just press continue.

Step 8: Click Reset

Dell Factory Reset From Bios

You can alternatively factory reset your Dell laptop from the BIOS, however this process can be more difficult that the others.

To do this you will need to:

  • Access the BIOS menu upon startup
  • Navigate until you find an option to reset this PC.
  • Follow the prompts until you can factory reset the PC fully.

How Do I Factory Reset My Dell Alienware 14?

You can factory reset your Alienware 14 laptop by using the Alienware Respawn tool. Google Alienware Respawn or click on the link above. Then find your Dell model and download the corresponding driver.

You will need a USB with 8-16GB of data to use Alienware Respawn.

If you are having trouble factory resetting or accessing your Alienware 14 laptop, you can launch recovery mode and then select the system restore tool. To do this, do the following:

  • Restart or start up your laptop
  • Press the F8 key repeatedly
  • Click “Safe Mode with Command Prompt”
  • Type in “cd \windows\system32\restore” to the CMD prompt and press enter.
  • Type in “rstrui.exe” when you are in the restore folder and press enter.
  • Follow the prompts and restore your computer.

This method is more complex than the previous ones however it is there in special cases where you can’t access your computer.

Backup Your Data Before You Reset

A factory reset will completely wipe all of your hard drives and solid state drives on your laptop. This means that any data that you have not backed up externally will be lost.

The easiest ways to backup your data before a factory reset are:

  • Using cloud software like google drive to store your files.
  • Using an external hard drive. (this will take some time to transfer files over)

Google offers 15GB of free storage space and dropbox offers 2GB of free storage space in the cloud. Now 15GB is not that much, so you might want to consider getting an external hard drive which price around $50 and can store up to 1000GB of data.

Cloud storage is a lot more reliable at storing your data compared to a physical drive because a physical drive can have ports that break and the files would be unretrievable.

What does a factory reset do?

Factory resetting your laptop will remove all files on the storage drives, any device drivers you have installed and revert the system settings back to the settings that existed when you first got your laptop.

Sometimes factory resetting your laptop can even remove all of the bloatware and extra files that come with the operating system upon purchasing.

This can be done by doing a factory reset in an alternative way which includes partitioning the hard drives.

Factory resetting is usually a good option when the laptop is running slow due to overuse or too many files. It will give you a clean slate to start on and can improve your FPS in video games.

Another benefit to factory resetting is that it can fix any driver issues or bugs that you may encounter.

Why should i factory reset my Dell laptop?

I think everyone can benefit from factory resetting their Dell laptop.

Dell is known for making some good laptops with good build quality. However, most laptops regardless of the manufacturer are faulty in the long run and will eventually begin to die after a few years.

If you have any software bugs with your laptop, it may be easier for you to try and resolve the problem yourself then to take it up with their customer support.

Conclusion

All Dell laptops can benefit from a factory reset every once in a while. As long as you back up all of your important data and do the right steps, you are guaranteed to have a smoother laptop experience once you do the reset.

If you are not a fan of the software that comes with Dell laptops and you would like a fresh install of Windows, then doing a factory reset is a good option for you.

Factory resetting is also a great way to clean up a laptop if there was a previous owner of the device. That way you can ensure that you don’t run into any legal issues if the previous owner did something sketchy on that laptop.

You also fix any bugs and performance issues because you start with a clean slate.

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Grayson
Grayson is a laptop specialist who writes informational articles and reviews about all kinds of laptops.