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Save your slow or unreliable PC with a reset

A PC Reset is a built-in function on Windows which can reinstall your operating system from scratch. Picture: Pixabay

A PC Reset is a built-in function on Windows which can reinstall your operating system from scratch. Picture: Pixabay

Published Jun 12, 2022


Windows PCs tend to get more sluggish with use, whether that’s slowly over time or drastically after installing a new program or update.

At times we may even find ourselves with a system that is clearly broken or barely functioning. Luckily, there are some relatively painless solutions that can go a long way to reclaiming PC speed and quality of life.

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There are several reasons why Windows PCs get slower over time. Many sources will cite users bloating their systems with unnecessary and unoptimised apps. Certainly, programs running in the background and at start-up can have a significant effect, and negligent programming can clutter up your registry and menus over time.

It is also the case that updates are not always aimed at making the system run better on old computers. As time goes on your PC will get worse at handling a bigger and more complex operating system.

This holds true for Macs and iPhones as well, but iOS seems to be more resilient and not nearly as volatile – whereas I find you can wake up one morning to a Windows PC that barely functions.

It seems likely that Windows does not just slow down due to bloat, but clearly has tendencies to degrade over time and has an update system prone to errors and hogging background resources.

Not to mention that as good as Windows’ inbuilt anti-virus is (yes, really – please don’t use Norton), some malicious programs like adware and spyware can slip through and cause hiccups.

Fortunately there is a solution that can address all these issues – the PC Reset. A PC Reset is a built-in function on Windows, which can reinstall your operating system from scratch.

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While the process leaves your personal files intact, it will uninstall your apps. It will put a list of removed apps on to your desktop afterwards so that you know what you lost.

A reset should go a long way to minimising bloat and giving you a fresh system that works as intended. Just keep in mind that this process will take some time – it’s often best to leave it to work overnight.

You can find the PC Reset feature by heading to Settings, Update and Security, Recovery, then Reset this PC. You will be given the option to either keep your personal files or wipe your drive completely.

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Most people will want to keep their files unless they have a full backup. There will also be an option to reinstall the programs that came with the laptop. This is often useful as it means less things to reinstall yourself, but it may be good to avoid if your laptop manufacturer filled your PC with adware.

You will also get the option to reinstall Windows locally or to download it. If you have an internet package that can handle a roughly 4 gigabyte update I would recommend downloading it.

Reinstalling locally will usually mean the PC has to still download some updates immediately afterwards, which just adds more time and points of potential failure.

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But before doing any of this, it’s important to consider what you may lose in a reset. By uninstalling your apps you will lose any saved settings and any user data that is n6t stored in the cloud.

Luckily, many services these days do make you create an account and save your data to the cloud which can be easily recovered.

However, if you are using a program which does not do this and which you have changed significantly compared to a fresh install, it is important to search up how to preserve that app data.

Of primary concern to many people is the personal data for their internet browser – their history, settings, bookmarks and saved passwords.

Many browsers make this process seamless as they save all this to an account – often Google or Microsoft. If you use Google Chrome or Edge you are likely in the clear – especially if your settings are shared between your phone and PC.

To be safe, many browsers enable you to export your bookmarks, history, and saved passwords to a file on your disk. Like your other personal files, these won’t be cleared during a reset and can be used to recover anything your browser did not back up.

Reinstalling your operating system is an important annual chore. Operating systems gather junk and slow down over time, especially Windows systems.

A reset can go a long way to speeding up a working system or saving a PC that is barely functioning. While it takes some care in making sure you don’t lose any vital app data, the switch to cloud services is making this easier and easier.

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