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Windows PC - Reset to default condition

Posted on 2016-11-15
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Last Modified: 2016-11-20
A few years ago, I bought a gaming machine from TigerDirect. It was their System-max brand. It came with Windows 7 Pro preinstalled and worked pretty well. When Microsoft offered the Windows 10 upgrade for free, although reluctant to leave Windows 7, I upgraded the system. After a while I realized that I should have done a fresh install, but that would've expended about $150 for the Pro version. The computer now has Windows 10 Pro installed, but some of the programs are acting a bit flaky. I tried to back up the image to Acronis, but for some reason I could not access the bios to make the bootable CD of Acronis the boot drive. Non-access to the bios may not be a related issue. Very frustrating. Since I was unable to create an image backup, I just copied the files that I needed individually to another hard drive. My idea was to somehow reinstall Windows 10 and then just add the files that I had saved to the other drive to that system. Somebody told me that there was a way to reset the computer, so that it would eliminate everything on the drive, except for the operating system. I tried calling Microsoft tech support, but they were totally useless, recommending that I go back to the manufacturer for advice. They also said that I could reinstall Windows 7 Pro if I had the original key codes. This code is on the case, and I guess I could do that, but I don't know if I have the key codes for the Windows 10 upgrade that was provided by Microsoft. I am looking to see if I have those key codes, but quite frankly I have a lot of computers, and I don't know if the key code for that particular computer is available. I do know that Microsoft will not provide that keycode without a lot of bureaucratic problems. Does anyone know if there is an easier way to get rid of all the programs on the machine, clear out the registry to a default state, and then reinstall the programs that I need? I guess I could also uninstall all of the products on that machine, but that would be really time-consuming and wasteful. I'm open to any and all reasonable suggestions on how to resolve this issue. Points will be awarded for helpful suggestions. If information on the hardware is needed, I can provide that. Thanks.

Marty
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Question by:mzimerman
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12 Comments
 
LVL 56

Expert Comment

by:McKnife
ID: 41888579
https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10startfresh
Use this tool to install a clean copy of the most recent version of Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro, and remove apps that you installed or came pre-installed on your PC. You’ll have the option to keep your personal files.
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LVL 88

Accepted Solution

by:
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 41888671
You don't need any product key for Windows 10. Just download the iso for Windows 10 as mentioned by McKnife. Boot the PC from the DVD or USB stick you create from it, and start a clean installation. When you get asked for the product key, just click on "I don't have a key". The installation will continue. Once your OS is running and has an internet connection it will activate and re-register automatically with the m$ server. A windows 10 upgrade, since it gets registered with the m$ servers, can be re-installed from scratch whenever you want. After a successful upgrade you don't need any keys any longer.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:Jackie Man
ID: 41888989
If you want to reset the computer and still stay with Win 10, try the following.

Settings > Update & security > Reset this PC > Get started and choose an option.

Source: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12415/windows-10-recovery-options
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 1000 total points
ID: 41889194
@rindi

That is not what I had in mind, read the link, please.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41889228
if you want to return to win7 - check if there is no recovery partition
that should set you back to the factory state
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 41889310
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 41891697
I'm working on it. Still a bit nervous that I will lose that Win 10 Pro license. Probably not a problem, but I'm cautious. Will try it this weekend and report.
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LVL 56

Assisted Solution

by:McKnife
McKnife earned 1000 total points
ID: 41891718
"Still a bit nervous that I will lose that Win 10 Pro license"  - don't worry. As long as your installation is activated now, you will not lose this status on that machine, no matter what you do, software-wise.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 41891841
it's embedded in your bios now, and will re-activate with each fresh install
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 1000 total points
ID: 41891991
It isn't embedded in the BIOS, but it is registered with the m$ servers. So as long as you install the correct version of Windows 10 (home or pro), it will reactivate.
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Author Comment

by:mzimerman
ID: 41894809
Worked like a charm. Win 10 Pro is up, activated and running just fine. Thanks.
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