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Reset Windows 10 Computer to OEM or Out-of-the-box State

If you would like to reset your Windows 10 PC back to a clean state, you can do so using the built-in Windows 10 reset function. This is often desirable if you've purchased a MIT owned computer that was previously configured with Windows 10 Enterprise. The Enterprise version of Windows 10 requires access to the activation server (KMS) is order to be properly activated. This means being connected to the MIT network (on premise or through VPN) at least once every 180 days.

Activate Windows 10 with the Embedded Key

If your computer shipped with Windows 10 (Pro or Home) you can activate your copy of Windows 10 with the key embedded in the hardware. MIT has created a small application that you can download to activate your copy Windows 10 with your key. Please note that this application does NOT contain an activation key. It will simply activate your computer with the embedded key, either Pro or Home Edition. If your computer shipped with Windows 7, this application with not work to activate your copy of Windows 10.

Download and run the linked executable file. A command prompt window will open for a few seconds and then disappear. Once that has completed, your copy of Windows will be activated.

hd:Activate with Embedded Windows Key.exe

The contents of the script contained in the linked application is shown below. You do not need to manually run these command shown below. This is strictly for informational purposes.

You can verify that your computer properly activated using your embedded key by checking the system information. If you see OEM at the end of the Product ID, then you've properly activate your copy of Windows 10.

Reset Windows 10 to a Clean State

Once you've activated Windows 10 with your embedded key, you can then choose to reset the PC back to a clean state. This will essentially install a clean copy of Windows 10 on your PC. To do this type "Reset this PC" in to the search bar and select then select "Reset this PC" from the menu.

You'll be given the option of choosing to keep your personal files or completely wiping out everything. In either option, the installed software and settings will be removed. This will effectively be a clean installation of Windows 10. The reset process may take about 30 minutes depending on the speed of your computer.

Once complete, you'll be presented with the Out-of-Box-Experience for Windows 10. Congratulations on resetting your Windows 10 PC.

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members

Last Modified:

October 15, 2020

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