How To Factory Reset A Lenovo Laptop?

reset key displayed on a keyboard

If you’re using a Lenovo laptop (or any Windows laptop for that matter), a time may come when your computer doesn’t function the way it’s supposed. You might lose certain functions, start seeing error messages,  run into crashes frequently, etc.

It’s hard to diagnose the issue without having a trained technician or tech-savvy person alongside you, in front of the laptop. 

However, you can use the factory reset function built into Windows to completely restore your laptop to its original configuration.

There are two main ways to do this, one that can be accessed from within Windows and another that works if your laptop can’t even boot into Windows.

There is a 3rd way to do this, you’ll need a thumb drive or disk with an install-ready version of Windows on it. But this is the last resort.

Factory Resetting A Lenovo Laptop | General Guide

To do this, you have to have a Windows laptop that is booting up into the OS and at least functioning on the desktop. Simply go into the search bar next to the Windows Start button and type “Reset”.

This will open up a list of options, select the “Reset This PC” option at the top. Once you’re in, you should see a window that says “Recovery”.

This can be found in the Update and Security section of “Settings”. But just typing “Reset” into the search bar is a faster way to reach it.

Once you’re in the Recovery section, go ahead and click “Get Started” under Reset this PC. Here you will get two options and need to make a choice-

  • Keep my files: This will completely restore the system to factory default settings without deleting any of your data. However, it will uninstall any software you had downloaded, so you’ll need to reinstall those manually after the reset. Your data like videos, photos, documents, etc. will not be removed. 
  • Remove everything: You will lose all your apps, settings, and files. Basically, it’s like a clean install of Windows. Everything will be back to how it was when you booted up your laptop for the first time. This option should be selected only after backing up all your important data like documents, photos, software, etc. on a storage drive (thumb drive, external hard drive, etc.)

Once you have decided which option to go with, you can simply let Windows do its job. After 10 to 15 minutes, your PC will be restored and you shouldn’t see any of the issues that were plaguing your laptop before the reset.

The hard reset (the option that deletes all your data) is recommended if you’re having serious issues using your laptop.

The soft reset (where you keep all your data) is recommended for less intrusive problems, like if you just want to remove bloatware and speed up the system. 

For malware attacks, you need to do a full system scan with antivirus software and if that doesn’t resolve the issue, do a hard reset.

The last option is when you can’t even boot into the Windows desktop. Use a secondary PC or ask a friend to provide you with a bootable USB drive that has the Windows installer on it.

Insert the USB drive into your laptop, and go into your BIOS settings (keep tapping F11 or F12 right after pressing the power button). Within BIOS, you can change which drive the system boots from.

Select the USB drive with Windows on it. Restart your laptop with the power button. This should bring up the Windows install menu on your screen, from here you can wipe your drives and install a fresh copy of Windows.

If you don’t have a copy of Windows, go to this link and download the tool under “Create Windows 10 installation media”. Watch this video for more help on the subject.

Why Would You Want To Factory Reset Your Laptop?

A lot of you reading this article might be on old student laptops that aren’t running as well as they used to, so the reset option that keeps all your data is recommended. It will clear out some of the garbage and bloatware, speeding up your operating system.

You can further increase performance by cleaning your laptop fan and changing the thermal paste.

If you don’t already have an SSD installed in your laptop, get one. They are very cheap these days, and a basic SATA III 512GB SSD will significantly improve your computing experience.

The second reset option, the one that erases all your data, is most likely to fix any problems like crashes and loss of functionality. It does a deep clean and full reset, but you need to back up your files. Because they will get wiped. All your documents, software, videos, photos, music, games, etc. will be gone if you choose this option.

We hope this article helps you fix any issues you’ve got with your Lenovo laptop. On older laptops, you can boot into the troubleshooting backdoor by pressing one of the function keys as you boot up. It’s usually F11 but varies from laptop to laptop.

On newer models with SSDs (especially PCIe SSDs), the bootup is so fast that you can’t access the BIOS or troubleshooting backdoor.

In that case, you will have to insert a USB drive or CD/ DVD containing a bootable copy of Windows.

That will prompt the system to start a Windows install, and you can wipe the storage drives from there or create a new partition for Windows.

Frequently Asked Questions


We hope this article was helpful in guiding you through the process of resetting your Lenovo laptop. Or any Windows laptop for that matter since the process is similar and done through Windows itself.

If you can’t even boot into Windows, you’ll need a secondary computer to download a Windows installer and copy it into a bootable USB drive.

You should still be able to access the BIOS as it’s contained in a ROM and functions separately from the Windows OS. 

So even if the OS itself is corrupted, the BIOS should work just fine.

However, you probably don’t know the key to enter the BIOS. Not to worry, just try till you find the right one. It’s going to be one of the function keys.

Usually, it’s F11 or F12. But some laptops have it on F9. If you don’t want to try and fail till you find the right one, do a Google search for your laptop model to find the BIOS key.