How To Factory Reset HP Laptop Running Windows

HP laptops are popular and reliable. But if your laptop is infected with viruses or you want to sell it off, you would want to reset your HP laptop. Resetting laptops and computers to factory settings is not as common as smartphones. But it is a powerful feature and you can easily perform it on your Windows 8.1, 10, and 11 HP laptop.

What Does Reset Mean For Windows and HP Laptops?

There are two methods of resetting your HP laptop running Windows 8.1, 10, and 11 (For Windows 7, jump to the Windows 7 section). One is to use the Windows settings or recovery options to reset your PC and the other is the HP Recovery Manager.

Both perform the same thing: Reset your laptop. But their names are different.

On Windows, the reset option will delete everything on the system drive (usually C:) and only leave a Windows image with factory settings (if you choose the ‘Remove everything option).

Other drives aren’t deleted unless you choose to. You get an option where you can reformat just the Windows drive or the whole hard drive.

The same happens if you choose ‘System Recovery’ from HP Recovery Manager. 

Windows 7, it doesn’t provide a reset option per se, but HP does. More on this is in the Windows 7 section.

Note: We are using the term ‘Reset’ which means deleting everything only on the system drive except the Windows image. On the other hand, ‘Factory Reset’ means that everything on the whole hard drive will be deleted except the Windows image. We’ll show you which settings lead to a factory reset because this option is hidden in the reset options. So, follow the instructions closely.

Before You Reset Your Laptop, Backup Your Data

It’s been established already that resetting your HP laptop deletes all the data on the system drive. So, if you have any data or files you don’t want to lose, now is the time to save them. Move your data manually to cloud storage or use a tool for backing up your data.

How To Factory Reset Your HP Laptop Running Windows

Before performing any of these methods, remove any unnecessary external devices such as printers, and scanners, from your computer or laptop. If it’s a laptop, plug in the power cord.

  1. Reset Your HP Laptop Running Windows 7
  2. Factory Reset Your Windows 8 HP Laptop
  3. Reset Your HP Laptop Running Windows 10 or 11

1. Reset Your HP Laptop Running Windows 7

Reset options on Windows 7 are messy. There is no clear method to factory reset Windows 7. If you don’t want to go through the trouble, perform a fresh installation of Windows 7 on your HP laptop by reformatting your system drive (C:) and call it a day (See section 1.2). Because this will do exactly what a complete reset does.

Some methods are close to resetting a Windows 7 HP laptop. Follow below:

1.1 Reset Windows 7 with a System Image

If you create system images or system restore points regularly or set your computer to frequently create restore points, you can take your Windows back to a saved point.

If you created a system image when you installed Windows, you can take it back to that point with the saved system image (recovering). Not only that, the liberty of creating a system image is that you can save any point of your Windows state for later use.

So, you can install all of your necessary programs on Windows and then save a system image of that state. But the only problem here is that if you never created a system image, you have no state to go back to when your Windows is corrupted or infected.

Create a System Image on Windows 7. These steps are the same for Windows 8.1, 10, and 11 as well:

  • Go to Control Panel
  • Type ‘backup’ in the search area that is at the top right corner.
  • Select ‘Backup and Restore’.
  • Choose ‘Create a System Image’ from the left side menu.
  • It’ll open a wizard. Select the location where you want to save the system image. For a USB drive, select ‘on a hard disk’ and choose your USB drive.
  • Depending on the size of the image saved, it will take some time. You should choose an external USB drive with a decent size for saving the system image.
  • When the backup is done, you’ll get an option to create a System Repair Disc. You can use that disc to restore the system image even when your Windows is not booting. It’s recommended to perform this step. Click ‘Yes’.
  • Select the drive you want to make the System Repair Disc. It could be a CD, DVD, or USB drive. (USB drives are recommended.) Then, select ‘Create’.

Recover Your Windows 7 with the System Image:

If you created a system image beforehand and your HP laptop is infected or corrupted, you can use it to take it back to the state where Windows was functioning properly.

Again, if you created a system image right after Windows installation or right after getting the HP laptop, you can use that image to practically reset your laptop.

  • Turn on your HP laptop and press F8 before Windows loads.
  • Select ‘Repair Your Computer’ from the Advanced Boot Options.
  • You may be asked to enter your Windows account password to access the ‘System Recovery Options’.
  • You’ll see five options. Select ‘System Image Recovery’.
  • A wizard will open. Click ‘Select a system image’.
  • Insert the USB drive that has the system image and select it to initiate the recovery process.

Recover Your Windows 7 with the System Repair Disc:

If you created a System Repair Disc, you can recover your Windows even when it’s not booting. 

  • Insert the System Repair Disc (USB or DVD).
  • Turn on your computer and press any key on your keyboard when prompted.
  • Select your language and click ‘Next’.
  • Choose ‘Repair Your Computer’.
  • Pick the Windows you want to repair and select ‘Restore your computer using a system image you created earlier’.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

1.2 Factory Reset Windows 7 by Reformatting Your Computer

Reformatting means removing everything on your system drive, including the operating system, and then installing a new copy of Windows on it. You need a Windows installation USB or DVD to perform these steps:

  • Insert the Windows installation USB, DVD, or external hard drive.
  • Turn on your laptop.
  • Press any key when prompted to boot from the USB.
  • Select your language and click ‘Next’.
  • Press the ‘Install Now’ button.
  • Read and accept the license terms.
  • Choose ‘Custom (Advanced)’ to clean install Windows 7.
  • Select the drive where you want to install Windows.
  • Setup will show that all data on the drive will be lost. Confirm.
  • Windows installation will begin.

1.3 Restore Your Windows 7 Computer to Factory Conditions Using HP Recovery Manager

HP laptops and computers come preloaded with HP Recovery Manager which may help factory reset your Windows 7. The success of this method depends on whether your system created a recovery partition with an image of your Windows 7.

  • To boot into HP Recovery Manager, turn on your laptop and press F11 once every second during the booting process. (In some HP laptops, you need to press ESC and F11.)
  • Select ‘System Recovery’ from the options.
HP Recovery Manager on a Windows 7 computer
  • Follow the instructions.

2. Factory Reset Your Windows 8 HP Laptop

Windows 8 was the first version of Windows that came with the reset option.

2.1 Factory Reset Your Windows 8.1 HP Laptop from Settings

To reset your HP laptop running Windows 8.1, follow these steps:

  • Move your mouse to the right corner of the screen to reveal the start options. Select ‘Settings’.
  • Choose ‘Change PC Settings’.
  • In the Settings window, select ‘Update and Recovery’.
  • Then, select ‘Recovery’.
  • In the Recovery settings, select the ‘Get Started’ button under ‘Remove everything and reinstall Windows’. This will reset your Windows 8 deleting your data.
Recovery options on Windows 8.1
  • This will open the ‘Reset Your PC’ menu. Click ‘Next’.
  • On the next screen, select ‘Just remove my files’ if you want to reset your Windows operating system, but will keep the PC for your use. Moreover, select ‘Fully clean the drive’ if you want to sell it off or give it to someone else. This step takes longer because it prevents people from recovering your data when you sell the laptop.
Reset options on Windows 8.1
  • Choose ‘Reset’.

2.2 Factory Reset Windows 8 and 8.1 When You Can’t Boot into Windows

Some issues can prevent your Windows from booting. In this case, resetting can help you fix the problem (when startup repair fails). Moreover, factory reset from the boot menu works fine as well. Follow these steps:

  • Turn on your computer and when you see the Windows logo, long-press the power button to turn it off.
  • Repeat the above step.
  • Power it on the third time. Now, Windows will load Automatic Repair.
  • Once loaded, select ‘Advanced Options’.
  • Choose ‘Troubleshoot’.
  • Pick ‘Reset Your PC’.
Windows recovery options

2.3 Factory Reset Your Windows 8 With HP Recovery Manager

On Windows 8, HP Recovery Manager’s features are powerful as well and they can reset your PC. We’ll access HP Recovery Manager without booting Windows:

  • Turn on your HP laptop and press the F11 key once a second until the blue screen appears.
  • If it asks for a keyboard layout, select one.
  • You’ll see Windows Advanced Options. Choose ‘Troubleshoot’.
Advanced recovery options on Windows 8.1
  • Now, select ‘Recovery Manager’.
Troubleshoot options on an HP laptop running Windows 8.1
  • Pick the Windows that you want to run the program for.
  • Under ‘I need help immediately’, choose ‘System Recovery’.
HP Recovery Manager on Windows 8.1

3. Reset Your HP Laptop Running Windows 10 or 11

The methods for factory resetting on Windows 10 are 11 are similar so we’ll cover both in the same section.

3.1 Windows 10 and 11 Factory Reset from Settings

The easiest way to reset your Windows 10 or 11 HP laptop is from Settings.

  • Go to Settings > Update & Security > Recovery (for Windows 10).
  • Navigate to Settings > System > Recovery (for Windows 11).
  • Select the option of ‘Reset this PC’.
Recovery options on Windows 10
  • It’ll open the PC reset option. Select what you want to remove. We’re factory resetting, so select ‘Remove everything’. If you don’t want to delete your personal files and only want to remove the apps and settings, select ‘keep my files’.
Reset options on Windows 10
  • Pick ‘Local reinstall’. You don’t need internet connectivity for this. However, if you want to get a system image over the internet, choose ‘Cloud download’.
How would like to reinstall Windows options on Windows 10
  • On the next screen, review the things the reset will do. If you want to change something, click ‘Change settings’. Otherwise, select ‘Next’.
  • Review your selections and press the ‘Reset’ button.
PC reset confirmation on Windows 10

3.2 Factory Reset Your HP Laptop Running Windows 10 or 11 When You Can’t Boot

  • Turn on the laptop and long-press the power button before the Windows logo appears.
  • Repeat the above step.
  • Power on the computer. Windows will load Automatic Repair.
  • When you see the ‘Automatic Repair’ blue screen, choose ‘Advanced options’.
  • Then, select ‘Troubleshoot’.
Advanced recovery options on Windows 10
  • Click ‘Reset this PC’.
Troubleshoot options in Advanced Recovery for Windows 10
  • For performing a factory reset, select ‘Remove everything’.
Reset this PC options on Windows 10
  • Choose ‘Local reinstall’.
  • On the next screen, both options perform a factory reset for your Windows 10 or 11. Select ‘Just remove my files’ if you’ll keep the laptop or choose ‘Fully clean the drive’ to remove everything if you sell the laptop or give it to someone.
Reset this PC. Options to Just remove my files or Fully clean the drive.
  • The next page will show you your selections. Choose ‘Reset’.

3.3 Factory Reset Windows 10 and 11 Using HP Recovery Manager After Logging In

HP laptops come with HP Recovery Manager, which is useful in performing many system tasks, including a factory reset. If you can log in to your Windows, follow these steps:

  • Open the Start menu, type ‘HP Recovery Manager’, and select the app.
  • Choose ‘Windows Recovery Environment’.
HP Recovery Manager on Windows 10 and 11
  • This will restart your computer. Click OK.
  • On the blue screen, select ‘Troubleshoot’.
  • Then, choose ‘Recovery Manager’.
  • This will show you the option to backup your data. It’s recommended to perform this step by selecting ‘Back up your files first (recommended)’.
System Recovery options from HP Recovery Manager
  • Choose ‘Auto Selection’ if you want to select file types (images, spreadsheets, etc.). On the other hand, click ‘User Selection’ to manually select the folders and files.
  • It’ll create a backup of your selected files. Once done, insert a USB and select it to save the backup.
  • After copying the backup to the USB, remove the USB, and click ‘Next’ on the wizard.
  • Now, select ‘Recover without backing up your files’.
System Recovery options of HP Recovery Manager
  • It’ll show what happens if you carry out this function. Select ‘Next’.
  • The recovery process will begin.
  • When it’s done, click ‘Continue’ to restart your laptop.
  • Now, the setup will install a factory image of Windows and default programs.
  • After the restart, set up your computer.

3.4 Factory Reset Windows 10 and 11 with HP Recovery Manager When You Can’t Boot

If you can’t boot to Windows, reset your laptop with the below method:

  • Turn on your computer and press the F11 key until the blue screen appears.
  • Select your keyboard layout (if asked).
  • After this, select ‘Troubleshoot’.
  • Pick ‘Recovery Manager’.
  • When the HP Recovery Manager opens, choose ‘System Recovery’.
HP Recovery Manager on Windows 10
  • It’ll ask if you want to backup your data. Select ‘Back up your files first (Recommended)’.
  • In the File Backup options, pick ‘Auto Selection’ if you want to choose files with their types and pick ‘Manual Selection’ for manually selecting the files and folders.
  • It’ll create a backup.
  • After this, you’ll be asked to select a drive where you want to save the backup. Insert a USB drive and select it.
  • Click ‘Next’ to save the backup to it.
  • When the backup is saved, remove the USB drive, and click ‘Next’.
  • Now, choose ‘Recover without backing up your files’.
  • It’ll show what would happen when you recover. Select ‘Next’.
  • The resetting process will begin.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions.

3.5 Factory Reset Windows 10 and 11 by Using the HP Cloud Recovery Tool

If the above methods don’t work, you can get the system resetting files online using the HP Cloud Recovery Tool for your HP laptop or computer. If you can’t boot to your HP computer, you may need another PC to get the HP Recovery Tool and save it to a USB drive. Currently, this tool supports HP products made in 2016 or later. Follow these steps:

HP Cloud Recovery Tool on Microsoft Store
  • Insert the USB where you want to save the recovery files. It should be at least 32 or 64GB.
  • Open it by clicking Start, typing ‘Cloud Recovery Tool’, and selecting ‘Run as administrator’.
  • On the welcome screen, click ‘Next’.
  • It’ll check your internet connection and your HP product.
  • If it says that ‘Product is not match or invalid’, checkmark the box ‘I need to enter Product ID for my HP system’.
System Information page on HP Cloud Recovery Tool
  • Find the Product ID of your laptop at its bottom side or open start, type ‘system information’, select the app, and you’ll see a list of your system information. Find the Product ID next to ‘System SKU’.
  • After entering the Product ID, click ‘Next’.
  • Select the USB drive and choose ‘Next’.
  • It’ll show that all information on the USB will be lost. Select OK.
  • Now, the tool will download and copy the necessary system recovery files to the USB drive.
  • Once done, select ‘Finish’.
  • Reboot your laptop. If you used another computer, shut that down.
  • Insert the USB on the HP laptop and plug in the charging cable.
  • Turn on the laptop and press the ESC key multiple times.
  • On the Startup Menu, press the F9 key.
Startup Menu on an HP laptop
  • Choose the USB drive and press Enter.
  • It’ll take you to the System Recovery option.
  • Firstly, select the ‘back up your files first (Recommended)’ option, insert another USB, and back up your files. Then, remove that USB.
System Recovery option from HP Recovery Manager on Windows 10
  • After that, select ‘Recover without backing up your files’ and follow the onscreen instructions to reset your HP laptop.


Factory resetting your HP laptop is useful when you want to get rid of viruses or corrupted files. It’s also done when you want to change the ownership of your laptop. Follow the above steps specific to the Windows version installed on your PC.

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Abdul Rahim has been working in Information Technology for over two decades. Learn how Abdul got his start as a Tech Blogger , and why he decided to start this Software blog. If you want to send Abdul a quick message, then visit his contact page here.