How to Restore a Computer to Factory Settings Using the F Key

By Tricia Goss

Before you trash your computer, you can try to restore it to factory settings.
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If you are experiencing serious problems with your computer that no amount of troubleshooting can fix or you just want to start over, you can restore the system to its original configuration from the Windows boot menu by using a system image -- basically a snapshot of your computer system. Restarting the computer and the pressing the correct function key gives you access to the System Restore menu even if Windows isn't functioning properly.

Step 1

Press the power button to turn on the computer or reboot it if it's on already.

Step 2

Press and hold the "F8" key before the computer begins to boot if you only have one operating system loaded on your computer. Press the up or down arrow key to select the operating system you want to use if you have more than one installed, and then press and hold the "F8" key.

Step 3

Select "Repair Your Computer" using the up or down arrow key on the Advanced Boot Options screen that opens. Press "Enter." Choose the keyboard layout you want to use and click "Next."

Step 4

Select your username and type in your password. Click "OK." The System Recovery Options menu appears.

Step 5

Click the "System Image Recovery" link and follow the on-screen prompts.