How to Reimage a PC in Windows 11/10 [Secure Guide]

Quick Navigation:

  • Should I reimage my computer?
  • How do I reimage my computer (4 ways)
  • Backup files before reimaging a computer
  • Reimage computer to repair software issues

Should I reimage my computer?

To reimage a PC (aka. reset Windows) means to restore system to factory settings. It typically replaces all upgrades, installations and documents with the original configuration, deleteing all the personal files on the computer while keeping your pre-installed software.

It’s usually suggested to reimage a PC when the Windows 11/10/8/7 operating system gets corrupted (unable to load) or infested with viruses, kind of like a last resort to fix the computer. So you should probably try some more moderate solutions first, if there are any.

💡Reimage vs reformat a computer You may also hear about reformatting a hard drive, what’s the difference of it compared to reimaging? Reformatting refers to erasing everything in your computer including pre-installed apps. You will need to fresh install the system from Windows installation disk afterward. Therefore, unless you decide to discard everything on your old computer, it’s always a more secure and convenient way to reimage your computer.

Reimage a PC

How do I reimage my computer (4 ways)

To reimage computer in Windows 11/10/8/7, here are 4 common used ways for your reference.

  • Way 1 – Reinstall Windows via installation disc or USB drive.

By default, when you buy a computer, an installation disc will come with it. It’s used to repair serious computer issues or install Windows from scratch.

  • Way 2 – Reimage a computer via system image recovery.

Using system image recovery to reimage computer refers to use a backup image created by “Backup and Restore” to restore computer to an earlier date. And it can minimize the losses. The problem is, you need to have a system backup image in advance.

  • Way 3 – Restore computer to factory settings using the factory recovery partition.

For branded computer, such as, Lenovo, Dell, HP etc, there is a hidden recovery partition that can help you factory reset your computer in trouble. But if you have fresh installed Windows or the partition is damaged or deleted, it will be unavailable. For example, you can use the built-in tool to perform Acer Aspire factory recovery.

  • Way 4 – Reimage a PC using “Reset this PC”.
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This feature is built into Windows 10/11, allowing you reinstall OS but “Keep my files” or just “Remove everything”. If you choose to reset this PC with “Keep my files”, it will keep your files in user folders and the programs installed by manufacturer. But the changes you made to settings, the apps and drivers you installed won’t be retained.

If you want to go this way, check this tutorial: Reset Windows 10 keep my files.

reset pc

How to reimage a computer in Windows 10 without data loss

No matter which way you use, you may be at the risk of data loss even if it says you can keep your personal data. Thus, it’s suggested to backup files before reimaging a computer. Then, you can feel free to reimage a computer in Windows 10 without worrying about data loss.

Backup files before reimaging a computer

To backup files, you could consider using “Backup and Restore” or “File History”. But the built-in tool may not work as usual sometimes. In view of this, it’s recommended to backup files using freeware AOMEI Backupper Standard. You can enjoy rich features and make it simple and automatic.

  • You can continuously protect your data with its schedule backup, such as, daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
  • You are able to do an incremental backup for only changed data.
  • You can also make use of the system backup and restorefeaturein case of future reimaging PC needs
  • You can enjoy other backup options, like “Email Notification”, “Compression”, “Sector by sector backup”, etc.

And all the operations are based on a clear interface and user-friendly design, so users can understand the operation easily and quickly. Please download this free backup software, see the steps below:

*AOMEI Backupper Standard only supports Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. For server users, try Server edition.

How to secure your personal data before reimaging a computer:

1. In the main page, click “Backup” and “File Backup” subsequently.

💬After you reimage the PC successfully, you can also use “System Backup” to capture the system image regularly, so that you can restore the computer to a normally working state anytime you want.

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File Backup

✍Tips: Besides File Backup, you still can use Cloud Backup to backup files or folders. It comes with a cloud drive – AOMEI Cloud as well as 1TB of free storage, and you have 15 days of free access after registration.

2. In this screen, click “Add File” or “Add Folder” to include items in the backup.

Add Folder

3. The select backup path and click “Start Backup” to backup files or folders. You can backup files to external hard drive, NAS network share, or any folder on your computer hard drive.

Select Destination

When the backup is complete, you can also create a bootable rescue media using CD/DVD or USB drive in order to restore your computer when it is unbootable.

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you can create a portable version of this software to removable device and take it everywhere. And it is able to deploy/restore system image to multiple computers over network.

Reimage computer to repair software issues

After creating a backup, you can reimage a computer from BIOS using installation disc. This method is suitable for most people. Not all users have a system backup, intact factory recovery partition, or use a computer with “Reset this PC” option.

1. Connect the installation disc and boot from it.

  • Just restart your computer, and press specific key at the initial screen (usually F2 or ESC) to access BIOS.
  • Go to the “Boot” tab, use “+” to move the disc to the first option, hit “F10” to save the changes and click “Yes” if you are asked.
  • After that, press a key when you receive a message like “Press any key to boot from CD/DVD”. Your computer will boot from the disc.

BIOS

2.In the first Windows Setup window, select preferences and click “Next”.

3. Click “Install now” and wait until the Window Setup load completely.

4. Tick “I accept the license terms” and click “Next”.

5. Select “Custom”.

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Custom Install

6. Delete all partitions on the hard drive and reimage a computer from BIOS.

  • Select one of the partition on the hard drive you want to re-image and click “Delete”.
  • Then, repeat the steps to delete the reset of partitions one by one.
  • At last, click “Next” and set your personal settings after reinstallation.

Reimage A PC

Note: After deleting all partitions, the hard drive will be shown as unallocated. You can choose to directly install Windows or create partitions before installing Windows.

FAQs about reimaging a PC

Q: How long does it take to reimage a computer?

Usually, it will take about half an hour to reimage your computer. After that, you will need to install all the software you like to use and restore your files back to your hard drive.

Q: How to reimage a PC without reinstalling programs one by one?

Actually, if you create a system backup with AOMEI Backupper, you can restore system and all your installed software back after cleaning up your hard drive using the steps above. Reimaging is sometimes called Windows operating reload or system reinstallation.

Q: Is Reimage same as formatting?

Reimaging and reformatting both delete files on the computer. But they are not exactly the same. the reimaging keeps the pre-installed software comes along with your computer, whereas reformatting deletes everything on it.

Summary

In this article, you will learn how to reimage a PC in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, without losing data. The core of this is to create a file backup before reimaging.

And it’s suggested to schedule backup files after reimaging. Thus, you will always have a copy of important files and be able to restore files from backup if it’s deleted mistakenly or corrupted. Also, you can choose to backup system or disk to prevent system failure and reimage a PC again.

If you don’t want to make your data to an image file, try sync or clone feature. The previous is to duplicate files, but not compress it to image. The later is to create an exact copy of hard drive, system partition or non-system partition.