How to reset your PC without external programs

Recovery without programs

In many guides on the Internet, programs of all kinds are recommended to backup and restore Windows computers: these applications are often paid and offer only a basic backup for free, without the possibility of choosing how to create your own recovery partition or what insert inside the backup.

Fortunately, Windows offers all the tools to be able to restore PC without external programs: we can in fact create a hidden recovery partition (to be used at the appropriate time), keep the system images and create a recovery disk (even on a USB key) to be used only on that specific PC.

READ ALSO -> Format and install Windows from scratch to get your PC clean and new

Create a personal recovery partition

On all laptops with Windows there is a recovery partition created by the manufacturer of the laptop: this partition is useful but also contains all the unnecessary programs of the manufacturer, which will be reinstalled in case of system recovery.

With the tools integrated in Windows we can delete the old recovery partition from the manufacturer, create a new recovery partition, hide the aforementioned from the computer’s view and save an image of the system inside (possibly just reinstalled and configured with the essential programswithout any unnecessary applications).

To proceed, press the right mouse button on the Start menu, open the item Disk management and identify the partition created by the manufacturer.

Disk management

We pay particular attention during this phase: we avoid deleting partitions essential to Windows and we delete only the hidden partition or the partition identified with the label Recovery. After deletion we can keep the space already occupied by the previous partition, create a new one or enlarge the one below: for these operations just press the right button on the Windows partition (C 🙂choose Reduce volume and allocate the space intended for the new recovery partition.

For the recovery partition we recommend you create a new NTFS volume of at least 50GB e you assign a system letter to the partition (at least at this stage): these are the requirements to immediately create a backup of Windows and essential programs.

To learn how to use the disk management tool on Windows we can read our guide on Disk management in Windows to create, delete or resize partitions.

Configure new recovery partition

After creating an NTFS partition for the new recovery we can proceed with the creation of the system image. To proceed we open the Start menu, we look for the Control Panellet’s open the menu System and securitylet’s open the menu Backup and Restore (Windows 7) and press to the left on the menu Create system image.

System image

We check the item On a hard drivewe select the partition we have created for recovery, we press at the bottom on Avanticonfirm the suggested settings and start creating the system image on a separate disk partition.

At the end of the creation of the backup it is worthwhile hide the recovery partition opening the app again Disk managementby right-clicking on the recovery partition, clicking on Change drive letter and path, selecting the assigned letter and pressing on Remove (confirming the warning messages that will appear).

Reinstall Windows from the recovery partition

Windows has stopped working? Is it no longer possible to boot the system correctly despite all our attempts? To restore Windows we can use the partition created specifically for the purpose, without having to bother recovery discs, DVDs or other complex procedures.

To reinstall Windows totally blocked we perform 3 forced restarts to enter the Windows emergency console; if Windows starts but we notice that it goes too slow or crashes randomly (due to a virus or a faulty driver), let’s take the path Settings -> System -> Recovery -> Advanced startup (on Windows 11) or in the path Settings -> Update & Security -> Reset -> Restart Now (on Windows 10) to enter the emergency console.

As soon as we get to the Windows emergency console, press on Troubleshootingclick on Advanced options and finally we press on System Image Restore (if not visible, press on Other recovery options).

Restoration

The system will reboot and the screen to restore the system image will be selected. In the new window we select the active PC account, enter the account password, check the item Use latest system imagelet’s be sure to use the system image created for the occasion and click on Avanti to restore the image created in the recovery partition.

If the recovery console is not working on the PC, we can always restore the image stored in the hidden partition by creating one Windows installation USB stick on a working computer, by plugging the USB stick into the problematic PC, changing the boot order and, on the initial screen, we confirm the language settings, press on Avantiwe press on Reset the computer and, in the new emergency console, we press on Troubleshooting come on System Image Restore to start the restore procedure.

Other built-in recovery tools

Always from the recovery console we can take advantage of the System Restore to restore Windows to a known good configuration. After opening Windows in console mode, press on System recovery to restore your PC without having to bother the recovery partition.

Configuration restore

To learn more we can read our guide on how to use system restore in windows 10 and 11.

Conclusions

The system ghosting technique is widely used in the professional field to quickly restore blocked computers or PCs full of viruses, without having to repeat the entire formatting and installation procedure of the main programs: just install clean Windows (without bloatware programs), install the essential programs for your PC and create a system image, to be kept inside a hidden recovery partition.

To make a backup of your personal files we can read our guides on how turn on File History in Windows 10 and 11 to retrieve each file and how to do it file recovery and recovery in Windows 10 and 11.

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