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Can I restore to factory defaults but keep Windows 10?

I have an Acer Aspire One D257 that I bought used; someone had upgraded it to Windows 10 (the sticker on the bottom indicates it shipped with Windows 7). I’d like to wipe the machine and reset it to factory settings, but I wonder if there’s a way to do this but still have Windows 10. I assume the restore image is Windows 7, and the “free” upgrade period for Win10 is over.

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As far as I know the free upgrade is still happening, unofficially, but neverthe less still good.

But you can don’t need to do a Windows 7 restore just do a Reset this PC from the Windows 10 Settings menu Update & Security.

First get the Windows 10 install media creation tool, which is insurance and always good to have on hand, and make the USB stick:

then go into settings menu to Update & Security (at the boottom), click on it then click on Recovery and finally Reset this PC and Get started. You will have a choice of “Keep my files” or “Remove everything”. Take your pick.

With this method no worries with Activation.

If you need more details read this:

thanks to Guy McDowell

It also shows how to do a Reinstall.

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Thanks, this looks like the information I needed.


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Unless you know the previous owner personally and they can vouch for the install being recoverable, erase the machine and start over since that’s the only way to be sure. As an example, I may trust the girl I’ve known for years to care for her old computer but I sure as he double hockey sticks do not trust the old install of Windows and would erase it and reinstall once I got the machine on the bench. You just do not know unless the previous owners can confidently say THEY erased it, and they didn’t infect it with semi persistent malware that survives the Microsoft reset process! Even if they were careful, better to start from ground zero just to be sure you will not run into an issue.

It’s better to secure erase the drives if possible (if not, just overwrite the partition table but a lot of the modern BIOSes include a option to secure erase now) and install Windows yourself to be safe (UNLESS the seller already did it and left it at the Microsoft OOBE). That said, you usually need to make your own media for Win10 since a lot of OEMs stopped bothering when Microsoft built it in and got it right after Win8 (Win8 machines usually shipped with both), or moved to a program that makes a bootable recovery USB). Some sellers opt to not include a hard drive since they’re so cheap anyone who doesn’t mind a good discount and can install one will probably overlook it.

For sale purposes, it’s usually nuke and sell it without an OS (but mention it is Win10 Home/Pro ready), or if you want something there to get more potential buyers, get it to the OOBE and leave it at that. The ONLY TIME I’d ever setup a system is if say, I am selling old hardware to a friend who knows me - you can’t trust random people on Craigslist with that level of trust! If I am selling to a stranger, I’d rather use NTLite on an Win10 ISO and write it to a 16GB USB drive using the .inf files*, get it to the OOBE and let them finish.

*I would leave off certain SW like the EOL Dell software due to a known high risk security hole, and just install the base system drivers.

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I've been using it for a few years; I wanted to reset it before selling it. But if resetting it puts it back to Windows 7, it might be worth less to a buyer.


@geoferrari Best thing to do is write a USB drive with a ISO, wipe the drive out entirely and have it at the new PC setup screen so they know it's done.


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GeoFerrari sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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