How to Wipe a HP Laptop Clean and Start Over

Sometimes, when you’re experiencing a ton of issues with your HP laptop, you wish you can just simply take it back to when you first bought it. After doing all the updates and troubleshooting steps you find online, but the issues keep coming up, the whole decision to wipe your HP laptop entirely clean and start over is not such a bad idea.

Blue HP Laptop

You got to keep in mind though that when you do wipe out your HP laptop clean, you’ll lose all your files. All the years of pictures, videos, and other documents will also be deleted. Before you even jump right into resetting your HP laptop into factory settings, make sure you back up all your files. You can use an external USB hard drive or use cloud storage to store your files to, such as Google Drive or Dropbox.

When all that’s done and everything’s ready for a clean wipeout, plug your HP laptop to power and following either of the two methods below. Take note: the methods below on wiping an HP laptop clean use the Windows 10 operating system platform. Prior version of Windows, or a different operating system, may have entirely different steps.

Resetting an HP laptop using Windows Settings

Resetting an HP laptop running Windows 10 is a lot easier and quicker compared to resetting a laptop running older versions of Windows. There’s no need for an installation CD or doing a debug fix to wipe things clean. Windows 10 has made it easier to reset your computer to factory settings.

To reset an HP laptop to factory default using Windows 10 settings, follow the steps below. Take note: this method can only be done when you’re still able to log in to Windows. Otherwise, you’ll have to use a different method.

  1. Turn your HP laptop on.
  2. Navigate down to the bottom leftmost corner of the desktop and click the Windows icon.
  3. Find the Settings icon (the one that looks like a gear) and click on it. You’ll be taken to the Windows Settings window.
  4. Navigate to the Update & Security option (the one with the two revolving arrows) and click on it.
  5. At the settings page, find the Recovery option at the left column.
  6. Click the Get Started icon below the Reset this PC option. You’ll be taken to the Reset this PC window.
  7. Click the “Remove everything” option in the Reset this PC window. This is assuming you’ve finished backing up your files. Otherwise, you can select the “Keep my files” option to reset Windows without erasing your files. This may temporarily resolve the issues on your computer but not as effective as totally wiping it clean.
  8. Wait for the entire process to complete. This may take a while and may require several restarts of the laptop. This is the reason why it’s important to keep the laptop plugged into power during the entire reset process.

Once the whole reset process is done, you’ll be taken to the login screen just like when the first time you got the laptop. You can start adding your files back and install any programs or software that have been removed because of the reset.

Resetting an HP laptop using Advanced Settings

There are times when the issues on your laptop have totally disabled you to log in to Windows. In this case, the computer has severely crashed due to viruses, malware, configuration failures, etc. When you’re no longer able to log in to Windows to perform a factory reset, there’s an advanced way to wipe the laptop clean and start over again.

First things first: make sure to have a backup of your files. If you’ve waited up to this point, then there might be a great chance that you’ll lose all your files. Especially when you can’t find a way to log in to Windows and perform a backup. Worst case scenario is to remove the hard drive out of the laptop and take the hard drive to a backup specialist to pull all your files out of the hard drive through some more advanced method.

Nonetheless, when you’re ready to perform a clean wipe of your HP laptop, unplug anything that’s connected to your laptop, plug the power of your laptop, and then follow the steps below.

  1. Press the power button of your HP laptop to turn it on.
  2. Press the F11 repeatedly while the laptop is powering up. Make sure to do this before you even see the HP logo. This should take you to the Windows Recovery Environment. If you’re unable to get to this page, you’ll have to restart and perform the steps again until you successfully get into the Windows Recovery Environment. You may need several tries to do this.
  3. On the Choose an Option page, click Troubleshoot (the one with the tools icon).
  4. Click the Reset this PC option (the one with the circular arrow above a white computer icon).
  5. Click the Remove everything option (the second option found at the bottom) to erase all the files on your computer. This process may take a while. If you prefer to choose Keep my files, Windows will be reinstalled and will keep your files but may not effectively resolve any issues with your HP laptop.
  6. Click All Drives under the Reset this PC page to remove everything inside your computer.
  7. Click the Reset icon. This will begin the reset to factory defaults process. This whole process will take a while and will restart the HP laptop several times throughout the whole process. Always keep your HP laptop plugged into power during the whole process.
  8. Turn the power back on and reinstall all the software or programs that may have been removed because of the reset. Move back your files into your HP laptop and scan it with your antivirus software.


Unlike the old way of resetting a computer to factory defaults, Windows 10 allows for a much easier way to wipe out the computer entirely clean and start over. All you got to keep in mind all the time is to make sure your files are regularly backed up. Always make it a habit to keep your computer updated as well as have an active antivirus software all the time.