By AOMEI / Last update August 12, 2021

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Need help: How do I reset Windows 10 from command prompt?

"My Windows 10 issues started after a recent update. I was unable to connect to the internet so I did a restore. After that, everything started going wrong. I'm unable to run most programs and I can't open Windows settings to try a reset. This is the same in safe mode.

I can restart in safe mode with command prompt but I don't know how to run the reset from there. Does anyone know the command? I know that rstrui.exe runs the system restore dialogue, but I need the one to reinstall Windows. Thanks in advance! "

Except for rstrui.exe, you still can try systemreset.exe command line options, which can help you open Reset this PC and factory reset Windows 10 to default settings. Also, if your computer is still bootable, you can try to access Reset this PC within Windows. And I'll introduce it in detail later.

How does Reset This PC work in Windows 10?

Windows 10 Reset This PC feature resets itself to its factory default state. You may feel bad when you read this, but it's a lot smarter than you think. It provides users two options, namely, Keep my files and Remove everything, so users can choose whether to keep data on the disk. Note that it will remove all the installed apps while keeping only the preinstalled. Then, let's get details.

Keep my files: Your computer will boot into Windows recovery environment (WinRE), scan and place all your files and personal settings aside, install a fresh copy of Windows with Windows recovery image, and then put your personal files and settings back where they were found.

Remove everything:  Similar to the previous option, but this one will erase and format your C: drive in the WinRE and then install Windows from scratch.

Method 1: Perform Windows 10 reset from command line step by step

1. Open an elevated command prompt.

>> If¬†your Windows 10 is bootable,¬†type ‚Äúcmd‚ÄĚ in the search box and right click on the result Command Prompt and then select Run as administrator.

>> If your Windows 10 cannot load normally, restart your computer, press and hold the Power button for 5-10 seconds, repeat twice and it will enter the Windows Recovery Environment automatically on the third boot. Then, select Advanaced Options > Troubleshoot >Command Prompt.

2. From the command prompt window, type ‚Äúsystemreset ‚Äďfactoryreset ‚ÄĚ (without quotes). Then, hit Enter.

Reset Windows 10 from Command Prompt

Notes:
‚ôā If you are resetting Windows 10 from boot, you need to replace¬†X: with C:. Since the systemreset.exe is located in C: drive while the Command prompt from WinRE is in X:\windows\system32\.
‚ôā sometimes, the drive letter assigned in WinRE may not be the same as normal Windows. So you can type ‚Äúdiskpart‚ÄĚ and then use ‚Äúlist volume‚ÄĚ command to show the drive letter assigned to each drive.

3. Then, select "Keep My Files" or "Remove Everything" to reset your PC, depending on if you want to keep your personal files. Here take Remove Everything as an example.

4. Select "Just remove my files" or "Remove files and clean the drive" when you are asked if you want to clean the drive. If your computer is problematic, it's suggested to completely clean the system disk. 

5. In the Ready to reset this PC window, confirm the items need to be removed and click "Reset". 

Tips:

>> If you do not want your installed programs lost, you can custom Windows 10 reset image from command prompt and use the custom refresh image to reset your Windows 10 PC beforehand.

>> If WinRE also fails to load, you can boot your computer from Windows 10 recovery disk or installation disk to use the recovery options.

>> If Windows 10 reset failed with no changes were made, then you should check if the WinRE image and reset image are in place. You can run the command ‚Äúreagentc info‚ÄĚ to check the recovery image status.

Method 2: Fresh start Windows 10 using command prompt 

Except for¬†systemreset ‚Äďfactoryreset, you still can use¬†‚Äúsystemreset -cleanpc‚ÄĚ, which can help reinstall and update Windows. It will retain¬†any data it can find, but removes all applications, including those preinstalled by the manufacturer. Upon reset, it will reinstall any Microsoft Store apps that had been previously installed.

1. Open command prompt with priority.

2.¬†From the command prompt window, type ‚Äúsystemreset ‚Äďcleanpc¬†‚ÄĚ (without quotes). Then, hit Enter.

Fresh Start Windows 10

3. A few seconds later, you will see the Fresh start window. Click Next to continue.

4. Then, it will start to download any required files and perform the refresh process. Just wait until the process complete, and restart your computer to see the fresh version of the operating system.

No matter which way you choose, resetting or refreshing Windows 10 will remove all the software you installed, even some of the preinstalled apps. Then, you need to spend much time reinstalling programs you will use. What’s worse, you have to reactive, re-login, and re-configure some of the software.

Then, you may be confused, do you really have to reset your PC when your system has problems? The answer is NO, you can choose to create a complete system backup while everything runs well, which can help you restore system image to new hard drive including the operating system, installed programs, games, personal data, etc. 

Best way to protect your computer instead of factory reset 

As mentioned earlier, a full system backup can help you protect your computer. Now let's learn how to make it. You need the best free backup software that has the ability to backup system including everything on the system partition.

In order to get all the latest files and programs in the backup, it is capable of backup system on a regular basis, such as, daily, weekly, monthly. Would that backup the entire system every time? Does it spend much time and require a very large backup disk?

The answer would be ‚Äúno‚ÄĚ if you use¬†AOMEI Backupper Standard. Below are some advantages of this software:

  • It not only supports system backup, but also supports 3 different backup solutions, including disk backup, partition backup, and file partition.
  • It supports backup only changed files with incremental backups and differential backups, so you don't need to backup entire system every time.¬†
  • It supports multiple backup destination, such as, external hard drive, USB flash drive, network drive, cloud drive, NAS, etc.¬†
  • It supports all editions of Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, both 32bit and 64bit.
  • It has a¬†concise interface, so you can easily get a backup done even if you use it for the first time.

If you don't mind investing a little more, you can enjoy more useful features in the advanced version of this software. For example, you can delete old backups regularly using Backup Scheme feature, which greatly reduces the risk of backup disk full issue while keeping the latest backup. For more, please upgrade to the professional version at least. 

Now refer to the following steps to see how it works.

Step 1. Go to Download Center or click the button below to download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard on your computer.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Click System Backup under the Backup tab. If you need to backup the entire hard drive, just select Disk Backup instead.

System Backup

Step 3. To make a system backup even easier, AOMEI Backupper Standard will include all the system-related partitions in the backup automatically. You just need to specify a location to save the image backup.

Backup Location

Step 4. For auto backup task, click Schedule and select daily/weekly/monthly as you like.  After that, click Start Backup to launch the backup process.

Start Backup

Other features you can enjoy: 

Options: You can comment on this task for clearly distinguish, compress image with normal or high compression level, enable backup encryption to avoid any unwanted access, etc.

Schedule: You can backup system to USB drive automatically when it's plugged in with "USB plug in" feature. or backup system at a specific event, such as, system shutdown, etc. Both are available in the professional version.

Scheme (advanced version): You can use it to manage backup disk space based a specific role, deleting some of the old backups and keeping the newest. 

In addition, you can choose to create a bootable USB, which can help you boot your computer when it fails and and restore system image easily and quickly.

Summary

Resetting Windows 10 from command prompt is a helpful way to get your computer back when it has problems. And it allows you to keep your data. Besides, nothing will be kept, the operating system, installed programs, drivers, etc. If you fresh start a computer, some of the preinstalled programs will be deleted as well. Thus, it can be the last resort but not the best way.

To keep everything as they were, it's suggested to create a full system backup with best free backup software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. When that is done, you can create a bootable media under Utilities tab so you can restore your PC when computer fails to boot. With a backup ready, you can solve any system problem without losing programs by restoring from a backup. If you do not have backups, then resetting Windows 10 from command prompt is also an option.

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. It enables you to create a portable version on removable device, and connect it to target PCs to use AOMEI Backupper without installation. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.