Reset Windows back to the initial settings

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Valery Aloyants
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How to reset Windows security options and system settings if there are errors on permissions and access to files and folders

There are several reasons why you may want to reset Windows without having to format your computer and reinstall everything from scratch. After using Windows for some time it could in fact happen that, after the installation of many programs, after running more or less reliable optimization tools, after suffering some virus or malware then removed or after changing some internet settings on the computer, something no longer works as it should.
Although I always encourage you to look for solutions for every error and to use the system restore utility first of all, it may be that there are problems with some application not working, with too slow loading or with security permissions that prevent certain operations.

UPDATE: Windows 10 reset is all automatic as well as Windows 8 reset.
In Windows 10moreover, it is also possible to do the solo reset Windows 10 Settings to initial values as seen in another article.

Also note that branded laptops and desktop PCs always have a utility for restore your computer to factory settings.

This article applies to Windows 7 only
They are normal Windows 7 pc instead there is no way to return to the initial settings while keeping all programs and system customizations; as seen, when there are serious problems, it can restore or reinstall Windows without losing personal data and settings.

But before moving on to a reinstall, if you didn't prepare for a computer backup before, there are a few things you can try to reset to default values (the initial ones after installation) Windows security settings and thoroughly clean up the system from every possible source of problem.

1) Before removing anything, you should try Microsoft Fix It automatic tools for common errors.

2) If the problem is related to permissions and security settings and you get strange errors like "access denied"or"Operation not permitted"you can try a reset Windows 7 security options.
For all non-Home versions of Windows, you can restore the default OS security settings from the original installation as follows:
In Windows XP, from the Run box, type the command cmd and press Enter to open the command prompt.
On Windows Vista and Windows 7, search for cmd from the Search box, right click on cmd and then run it as administrator.
On Windows XP, you have to type the following command and press Enter:
secedit /configure /cfg %windir%repairsecsetup.inf /db secsetup.sdb /verbose
On Windows Vista and Windows 7 the command is different:
secedit / configure / cfg% windir% infdefltbase.inf / db defltbase.sdb / verbose
After completing this operation, the user accounts for accessing the computer may have disappeared.
Remaining with the command prompt open, type the command net localgroup users account_name / add.

Microsoft has also published an Automatic Fix it of Windows Security Settings.

3) If there are still problems with access denied in a few folders or occasionally, I suggest you read how to change permissions on files and folders of accounts.
Be wary of any external programs such as Rizone Security Restore or others that are not developed by Microsoft.

If you were still not satisfied and wanted to continue with Windows reset until it returns to its initial state completely, but without formatting it, proceed as described in guide to getting your computer back to its original state, like new, without reinstalling Windows.
Summarizing the points, these are:

- Remove all applications and programs
From the control panel, enter the program installation and removal menu and uninstall all those that are not needed and also those that seem to have some problems.
The fastest way to quickly remove all programs is to sort them by Author's name.

- Delete all temporary and cache files using Ccleaner or other programs to clean the Windows registry and obsolete files completely, so as to remove all traces of the uninstalled programs.

- Clean up the automatic start of programs not used with the tools indicated in the guide.

- Do the reset dei browser Chrome, Internet Explorer e Firefox

- You can do a reset of registry keys and services with RefreshPc, a free program that works to restore the system to its default values ​​without compromising its operation and without deleting any files.

In general and without all these procedures, you can always reset and solve any problem on the PC by creating a new user, without formatting.


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