How Long Does It Take to Reset a Windows 11 PC

Computer resets on a Windows 11 device can take anywhere from a few seconds to more than an hour depending on the type of reset and the reason for the reboot.

I’m an avid computer user who has a long history with different Windows devices. My personal time spent with the machines, as well as my general electronic knowledge, allowed me to write the following paragraphs.

This article goes into deep detail on Windows resets by looking at the three main types, covering when they are used, and analyzing how long each one takes. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are three ways to reset a Windows 11 PC (soft, hard, factory) and the time each one takes differs greatly depending on your computer.
  • Soft resets are quick reboots that take a few seconds to a minute, while hard resets involve removing the battery and can take a little bit longer.
  • Factory resets, which completely wipe your computer, can take a half hour or even a few hours to complete.

Windows 11 Reset Types

Most users won’t have to reset their computer that often. Typically, they only reboot it when they need an update or when something goes wrong with their device. However, not all resets are the same. There are different kinds, and they all come about in different situations.

Anyone using a Windows 11 PC can reset their computer in three different ways. They can go with a soft reset, a hard reset, and a factory reset. All of those options have distinctly different goals, and they all take various amounts of time.

Understanding each reset is key when knowing how to properly care for your device. It’s also important in breaking down just how much time you need to set aside when rebooting your system.

Soft and Hard Resets

A soft reset, which is the most common type of computer reset, occurs anytime you log off or reboot your machine. It clears your system’s cache and will also install any pending updates when your computer comes back on.

Such resets can easily be triggered by going to your menu and choosing the “restart” option, but a soft reset also occurs if you power down your device and turn it back on. 

Most of the time, soft resets will only take a minute or so. However, the time truly depends on your computer. Some devices start back up without any issue in a manner of seconds, while some can stretch out to two or three minutes. The more powerful the PC, the quicker the reset.

As useful as soft resets are, hard resets are another way to reboot your device. Unlike soft ones, which are typically done as a result of a small issue or update, hard resets are typically performed if your computer isn’t operating as intended.

In that way, hard resets deal with much tougher issues and can be used when you need an immediate fix. If your computer isn’t responding, or if the software is struggling to the point of unusability, you have to remove the battery.

As with a soft reset, that will clear the cache. However, it’s a much more dramatic and impactful measure that should only be employed when you don’t have any other options. Once you put the battery back in, your computer should take a few minutes to recover.

A Factory Reset

Both soft and hard resets have their uses, but at the end of the day they’re two sides of the same coin. That’s not true for a factory reset. Unlike the other options, it’s a much more drastic method that clears your entire system and puts it back to its original settings.

In that way, anything on the machine, ranging from programs and data to system files and software, gets deleted. The move completely reinstalls the operating system. Once it’s over, your computer will be back to how it was when you first took it out of the box.

Factory resets should only ever be used as a last resort. They are only for extremely problematic issues that can’t be fixed through other means, such as constant freezing, malfunctioning hardware, viruses, error messages, or severe performance issues.

Most larger resets take quite a bit of time, as everything needs to reinstall. Expect anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours depending on your machine. The more data you have on your device, the longer that process takes.

Also backup your data before engaging in this process. Windows 11 gives you the option to keep your files before doing a full reset, which is a handy feature that allows you to fix your drive without losing any personal data. You can delete all of your files as well if you like.

Even if you do plan to keep your data, it’s good to have it somewhere else. Cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox are a good way to store important files, but you can go to Control Panel and manually create a backup drive under “backup and restore” as well.


These are some of the most common questions Windows users ask about resetting their computer.

Does Factory Resetting Windows 11 Delete Everything?

Yes. A full wipe of your computer removes all of the files and data that are stored on that device. Always have a backup in place, even if you plan on keeping your files through Windows.

Do I Need to Activate Windows 11 After a Reset?

If you factory reset a device that didn’t come with Windows 11 preinstalled, you will need to use the product key to put it back into the system. Hit start, go to settings, then updates & security. From there, choose activation, change product key, and enter the number.

Will Resetting a PC Remove a Virus?

If you have a virus or malware that can’t be taken care of through traditional removal programs, a factory reset is the best way to go. It will get rid of any problematic software.

Final Words

Resets can be quick, but they can also take quite a bit of time. It all depends on the rebooting method and reason for the revert. If you need to restart your computer, understand what type you need to do, how long that typically takes, and plan accordingly.

Have you ever had to reset a Windows 11 device? When did you do it, and why did you do it? Let us know below!

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