If you're having problems with your PC, the following table can help you decide which recovery option to use.
|Problem||See this section|
|Your PC isn't working well because of a recently installed app, driver, or update.||Restore from a system restore point|
|Your PC isn’t working well and you're not sure why.||Reset your PC|
|You want to clear all your personal data off of your PC before you donate or recycle it.||Reset this PC > Remove everything > Remove files and clean this drive|
|Your PC won't start|
If you’ve previously created a USB recovery drive
Use a recovery drive to restore or recover your PC
If you haven't created a USB recovery drive
Use installation media to restore your PC
Use installation media to reinstall Windows 10 PC
|You recently updated to the latest version of Windows 10, and you want to go back to your previous version of Windows.|| Go back to an earlier build|
Note: You only have 10 days to use this option in the latest Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
If you’re not seeing any restore points, it might be because system protection isn’t turned on. To check, go to the Control Panel, search for Recovery, and then select Recovery > Configure System Restore > Configure and make sure Turn on system protection is selected.
If you can't open Settings, you can get to reset by restarting your PC from the sign-in screen. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key +L to get to the sign-in screen, then hold the Shift key down while you select Power > Restart in the lower-right corner of the screen. After your PC restarts, select Troubleshoot > Reset this PC.
|Option||What it does|
|Keep my files|
If you're planning to donate, recycle, or sell your PC, use this option and choose to fully clean the drive. This might take an hour or two, but it makes it harder for other people to recover files you've removed.
|Restore factory settings|| Reinstalls the version of Windows that your PC came with (either Windows 8 or Windows 8.1) and removes your personal files. |
If you reset your PC within 10 days of your upgrade to Windows 10, the option in Settings that lets you go back to your previous version of Windows will no longer be available.
If your PC won’t start, you can use a recovery drive to restore from a system restore point or reset your PC. For info on how to create a recovery drive on a working PC, see Create a recovery drive.
If you're using a recovery drive created on Windows 10:
If you chose not to back up system files when you created your recovery drive, Recover from a drive won't be available.
If your PC won't start and you haven't created a recovery drive, download installation media and use it to restore from a system restore point.
Before you follow these steps, try resetting your PC using installation media. If that doesn't work, you can use the same installation media to reinstall Windows 10 (also called performing a clean installation of Windows).
This will remove all your personal files, apps and drivers you installed, apps and customizations from your PC manufacturer, and changes you made to settings.
You'll be able to go back to an earlier version by going to Settings > Update & security > Recovery The time you have to go back depends on what version of Windows 10 your PC is running after the upgrade. For example, if your PC is running Windows 10 Version 1511, you have a month to go back to your previous operating system. If your PC is running the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Version 1607), you have 10 days to go back. (To see what version of Windows 10 your PC is running after you upgrade, select the Start button, then select Settings > System > About )
To go back, you'll need to:
If you go back to Windows 8.1, some apps that came with Windows, like Mail and People, might not work anymore. To fix them, reinstall them from the Store.
If you’re an Insider and the current preview build isn’t working for you, go to Settings > Update & security > Recovery > Go back to an earlier build. This won’t remove your personal files, but it’ll remove recently installed apps and drivers, and change settings back to their defaults.
Going back to an earlier build won’t remove you from the Insider Program. When the next preview build is ready, it'll be installed on your PC.
Article ID: 12415 - Last Review: Oct 26, 2016 - Revision: 52