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If you’re using Windows 10 or Windows 11 Home edition and need to upgrade to the Pro edition, you can do so without losing your data or encountering any major issues. In this article, we’ll show you how to upgrade your Windows 10 or 11 Home to Pro edition using a product key or by purchasing the license from the Microsoft Store.

When upgrading from Windows 10/11 Home to Pro edition, you’ll see two options in the Activation settings:

Change product key: Use this option if you already have a valid Windows 10 Pro product license key.

Go to Store: Use this option if you don’t have a product key and want to purchase the license from the Microsoft Store.

The option you choose will depend on whether you already have a product key with you or not.

It’s worth noting that both options will result in the same outcome: a fully upgraded version of Windows 11/10 Pro edition. The only difference is how you initiate the upgrade process.

If you have a valid Windows 10 or Windows 11 Pro product license key (retail or OEM), follow these steps to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro:

The upgrade process may take some time, and your PC may restart several times during the process. Don’t interrupt the upgrade during the entire process.

If you don’t have a product key, you can purchase the Windows 10 or Windows 11 Pro license from the Microsoft Store and upgrade your Windows 11/10 Home to Pro without losing any data. Here are the steps:

Follow the first two steps mentioned above to open the Activation window.

Once the transaction is completed, the upgrade process should start automatically. Like before, your PC will restart several times during the process, so don’t interrupt it.

If the upgrade doesn’t start after the purchase, you can use the product key to initiate the upgrade process.

Upgrading from Windows 10/11 Home to Pro using ISO installation media is another option available to users. This method involves downloading the Windows 10/11 Pro ISO file and creating a bootable USB drive or DVD.

Once you have the bootable media, insert it into your computer and run the setup program. During the installation process, you’ll be prompted to enter a valid Windows 11/10 Pro product license key for validation.

If you have a valid product key, enter it in the given field to initiate the upgrade process. If you don’t have a product key, you’ll need to purchase one before you can continue with the installation.

Upgrading your Windows 10 or 11 Home to Pro edition is a straightforward process. If you have a product key, use the Change product key option to initiate the upgrade. If you don’t have a product key, use the Go to Store option to purchase the license from the Microsoft Store. Whatever option you choose, your data will remain intact, and you’ll have the upgraded version of Windows in no time.

Update: Please note that Microsoft has discontinued offering a free upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 or Windows 11, regardless of whether you have the Home or Pro edition. If you wish to upgrade to Windows 10 from a previous version of Windows, you’ll need to purchase a valid Windows 10 license.

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How To Reset Windows 10 Or 11 Without Losing Everything

It’s easy to run a full factory reset on a Windows 10 or 11 computer, but the risk of losing all your files is viscerally real. To avoid devastating data loss, you’ll need to prepare ahead of time and choose the right options before you give your device a fresh start.

The two best reasons to completely reset a laptop or desktop are to fix catastrophic performance issues or wipe it as clean as possible before selling, donating, or otherwise disposing of the device. If you’re considering a factory reset as a method of repair, make sure you’ve exhausted your troubleshooting options, especially if there are no other problems with your computer other than it being slow and/or hot.

It’s also worth noting that while a factory reset is the most dramatic version of a reset you can do, you’re not required to go that far. When you reset a computer to its factory settings, you’re essentially installing a clean version of the operating system—everything will disappear except for the files and apps your PC’s manufacturer preinstalled on the device. Windows, however, offers a number of options that allow you to keep personal data, settings, and apps intact throughout the reset. It’s a custom process, so make sure you use the settings that best suit your needs.

First, back up your files

Although a reset won’t necessarily clear everything off your laptop or desktop, it’s best to back up everything you want to keep before you proceed. Everyone has their own preferred file storage methods, but if you’re looking for tips, you can start with our basic backup guide.

Back up your apps if you can

Not every computer program can be backed up or synced with a cloud storage service, but some can. Go through whatever apps you want to keep and see if you can save their data. Even if you can’t, make sure you have all the files, purchase details, and login information necessary before you proceed with a factory reset or any other type of system refresh—you can use a password manager or just jot down the information on a piece of paper. You may have to redownload some or all of your apps and set them up from scratch once your computer reboots, and you don’t want to lose access to something you already paid for.

How to reset Windows 10 or 11

The steps to reset a Windows 10 or 11 computer are substantially the same, but the paths and menus may differ. This guide uses Windows 10 (the most popular of the two) as a baseline, with specific notes for where Windows 11 deviates. Also, if you’ve encrypted your laptop or desktop, you’ll need your BitLocker key to reset it. Microsoft can help you find that key if you’re not sure where or what it is.

Finally, make sure your computer is plugged in—Windows won’t reset if it’s running on battery power.

[Related: When to repair your computer and when to replace it]

2. Decide how much you want to keep or remove. The next screen will offer you two options: to keep or remove your files, apps, and settings. No matter which one you pick, you may also need to choose whether Windows reinstalls from the cloud (Cloud download) or your device (Local reinstall).

Keep my files. If Windows asks, choose whether you want your files to be saved in the cloud or on your local drive. By default, this option will restore all apps and settings that came with the PC when it was brand new—a complete factory reset. To avoid that and keep only what you had most recently, hit Change settings and turn the toggle switch under Restore preinstalled apps? to No, then hit Confirm. If you don’t see those additional options, your computer didn’t have any preinstalled apps.

Remove everything. As you may have guessed, this will reinstall Windows 10 or 11 and remove your personal files, apps you and your PC manufacturer installed, and reset any changes you made to your computer’s settings.

Once you select this, you can also hit the Change settings link to decide exactly how clean you want your device to be (there’s a Yes/No toggle switch under a Clean data? heading—choose one and hit Confirm to lock it in). Cleaning the drive could take a couple hours but Microsoft recommends it if you plan to get rid of your PC—doing so will make it harder for people to recover anything. Otherwise, you can opt not to clean your data, which will be faster but less secure. The company also notes that this type of data erasure is aimed at consumers and doesn’t meet government or industry standards, so someone with enough expertise and resources might still be able to restore some of your data.

4. Reset your PC. Once you’ve confirmed everything, hit Reset to start the process. There’s no standard for how long this will take on Windows 10 or 11, factory reset or otherwise, but your screen could turn black for more than 15 minutes and your PC might restart multiple times. In all, you could be waiting a couple hours, so be patient—if you try to manually restart your computer while it’s working, the reset could fail.

Why You Should Upgrade Your Operating System To Windows 10/11

Why you should upgrade your operating system to Windows 10/11




Microsoft continues to work on improving the overall PC experience, which is why it’s making the great Windows 10 available to users.

This OS comes with significant differences in the Start Menu and brings the personal assistant to the PC.

It also introduces more task viewer desktops and a bright new default web browser.

Most importantly for fans, gaming in Windows 10 will revolve around the new Xbox app.



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readers this month.

Everyone is talking about Windows 10 for months, news and updates about the system are coming out every day.

Windows 10 Technical Preview is already very popular with more than 5 million insiders. Many more millions of users are currently running the stable Windows 10 OS versions.

But if you still have some confusions whether you should upgrade your system to Windows 10, we’re going to present you the most important features and reasons to upgrade to this innovative OS.

Why should I upgrade to Windows 10? 1. Start Menu differences

Start menu was one of the most recognizable features of Windows operating systems for decades, and Microsoft’s decision to remove it in Windows 8 definitely represented a big change.

But Windows users definitely weren’t ready for such a change. They were unsatisfied with the new Metro environment, and a lot of users complained about the lack of start menu.

Microsoft was well-aware of the situation and the company decided to fulfill the wish of millions of users and return start menu in the next Windows.

But what to do with all those apps designed for Metro environment? The company couldn’t just throw them away.

So Microsoft came up with a compromise, as it combined traditional start menu with Metro apps to get a brand-new look of Windows 10 Start menu.

Reviews are positive, and Microsoft definitely made the right move with returning start menu to Windows platforms, because it satisfied users who were against start screen, as well as users who loved Metro apps.

If you’re looking to upgrade your OS, we definitely recommend making the jump to Windows 10. Check out the best Windows 10 editions, and find which one is right for you.

2. Cortana

Besides start menu, Cortana is also one of the most notable additions to Windows 10.

Microsoft firstly introduced Cortana to its Windows Phone platform with 8.1 update, and was the last of major manufacturers who released a virtual assistant for its mobile platform.

But Microsoft was first to bring the personal assistant to PC platforms, which is definitely a noteworthy innovation.

With Cortana you can search web, but also local files and folders on your computer.

It is also very customizable and very personal virtual assistant, as it recognizes things you like and provides you with content based on your interests.

Cortana will also be integrated with Microsoft’s new browser, Project Spartan or Edge, so you can use its help while you’re browsing, right on the webpage.

Cortana is a very useful assistant, so if you decided to remove it, we can help you bring it back. Just check out our detailed guide and see how to enable Cortana after disabling it.

3. Multiple desktops and Task view

Cortana isn’t the only thing Microsoft took from portable devices, because Windows 10 features a brand-new Task Manager and the option of creating multiple desktops.

Virtual desktops feature allows users to create multiple desktops, and pretend like they’re working with multiple monitors.

This feature could be extremely useful if you want to work with multiple programs at once.

Next is the Task view feature which allows us to easily control our tasks, just like we do on mobile devices.

Task view button is present in the taskbar, next to the search bar, but you can also access it by pressing alt + tab buttons.

With this task manager, you’ll be able to swiftly switch between tasks, manage and close them, and it will definitely increase the productivity of Windows 10 users.

4. Xbox and gaming features

Microsoft is preparing a lot of great, new things for gamers with Windows 10.

Basically, gaming in Windows 10 is going to be all around the new Xbox app, but this app offers a lot of features.

Expert tip:

Also, you’ll be able to stream your Xbox One games on your PC, which means that you could play and watch all your Xbox One games on your computer.

Xbox app goes to the point where it will allow you to play Xbox games on PC with friends who play the same game on the console.

This is another addition to Microsoft’s Windows 10 cross-platform philosophy.

Also, we expect the new DirectX 12 to be released for Windows 10. The new DirectX will definitely improve graphics of the games and bring the new experience to PC gamers whose graphics cards could support it.

If you don’t know how to enable DirectX 12 in Windows 10 for any game, take a closer look at our comprehensive guide and find the best solution.

5. Windowed apps

Along with Start Screen, Microsoft introduced Metro apps in Windows 8, Windows 8.1.

There are a lot of useful Metro apps in the Store, but users simply don’t like the fact that these apps use the whole screen.

So a lot of people disapproved this feature, just like it was the case with start menu. Luckily, Microsoft fixed this as well.

Of course, the company couldn’t allow itself to simply remove all those apps from the store, because a lot of effort and a lot of money were put in them.

So Microsoft decided to redesign them a little, as they’re now available in the windowed mode, just like other regular programs.

This is much better for PC users, because previous design of apps just wasn’t desktop-friendly, and some users had hard time using it.

But in Windows 10 size of apps’ window is easily customizable, so you can adjust it by your desire.

6. Default web browser

It looks like Microsoft developed a habit of ending an era with its new operating system.

Like it was the case with start menu in Windows 8 (luckily, the company decided to revive it), Microsoft sent Internet Explorer to history after nearly 20 years of lasting.

Internet Explorer will be replaced by new Microsoft’s browser, Project Spartan/Edge in Windows 10.

This Microsoft’s move might actually be good, because although Internet Explorer is the most famous browser in the world, it’s not famous for great performances.

People are mocking Internet Explorer for years, because it’s slower than competitors, and introducing a new browser could attract users’ attention in a good way.

As for Microsoft Edge, we can’t tell you much about the performance, because like the system itself, it’s still in its early testing phase, but it surely offers some new, refreshing features.

It is powered by EdgeHTML engine, a new layout engine, created from Internet Explorer’s Trident.

It also has some other Microsoft’s products integrated, like personal assistant Cortana, which will improve your searching, and Microsoft OneDrive.

It also has a new Reading View option, which will bring a new dimension to the reading experience.

7. Conclusion

Microsoft is putting big hopes into Windows 10, as it’s the company’s most innovative operating system ever.

It combines something from every previous Windows with new additions, so whether you liked Windows 8 or not, you’re going to love Windows 10, because it offers a lot.

Microsoft also announced that Windows 10 is going to be the last version of Windows, so you definitely should be a part of such a huge and historic project.

If you decide to upgrade to Windows 10, check out our detailed guide and see how to install the Windows 10 May 2023 update.

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5 Best Smart Home Apps For Windows 10/11

5 best smart home apps for Windows 10/11




Looking for the best smart home apps for Windows 10 PC? We got you covered. Read this guide to learn what are the best smart home programs to use in 2023.

This post gives you some of the best smart home programs that can be used to automate your home devices. The software reviewed in this article differ from each other in terms of some features —  though they all provide general services which ensure convenient automation of devices.

OpenHAB has a large following among smart home users, as it has an active community of users. The software uses a stable open source Javascript which allows multiple support of devices and ensures you can easily integrate different devices on the software. This tool uses a powerful software engine which enables users flexibility as there are several plugins which can be installed to ensure user preference is achieved.

Your devices can easily be controlled using specific apps and users can customize the software with the inbuilt design tools. So therefore, OpenHAB is an excellent home software app to use due to its flexibility and compatibility to hundreds of devices.

⇒ Download OpenHAB

RELATED: Asus’ Zenbo robot brings the sci-fi world closer to home

Castle OS is a popular smart home software that has integration with over a hundred different smart devices. Users are able to use the various features to conveniently automate their homes. Castle OS supports several popular home apps such as UPB, WeMo, LightwaveRF, Sonos, Ecobee and Nest,

Users can access the unique voice control system by connecting a Microsoft Kinect, this allows ease in controlling several devices by saying command prompts.

Meanwhile, Castle OS helps keep track of your home energy consumption which allows you to know the devices consuming much power in your home.

The scheduling feature is also effective as you can easily create time scheduled events and receive notifications of events via Email or SMS. Also, Castle OS is an excellent Home software to employ for your Windows O.S and is compatible with Windows 10.

⇒ Download Castle OS

READ ALSO: Cortana now lets you control your smart home devices

When it comes to a home apps that features state of the art technology and features, Creston is up there. The software may be of a premium price to other home app software but it gives good value for the price.

Creston specifically develops devices which can be purchased in addition to the software. The user interface allows for customization by users and it can be ideal for setting up a conference center.

The voice control is also automated to allow ease and convenience in controlling smart home devices.  Overall Creston is a good solution for smart home users as they get extensive features from the software.

Expert tip:

RELATED: Bitdefender Box 2 aims to be the best IoT antivirus device

Iobroker is a budding smart home apps software which has a thriving community and offers quality services. The software can be used to control devices in all areas of your home from the garage, kitchen to individual rooms in your home.

It is compatible to multiple devices which makes it ideal home app software. iobroker uses an open Javascript and supports Windows,Linux, OSX and Raspberry devices.

The user interface is clean and easy to use for beginners with all menu arranged precisely for scalability. You can easily set voice controls and use the command prompts to control various devices in your home or office.

Lastly, iobroker is an efficient home app software as it performs the basic needs of a smart home owner and supports numerous operating systems.

⇒ Download Iobroker

RELATED: Best artificial intelligence antivirus programs for Windows 10

EventGhost is a simple automation software that allows users to access different input devices to trigger control of connected devices. It does not provide extensive features like the other software on the list but it lightweight and can perform the majority of the tasks needed by a smart home user on a small scale.

In addition, EventGhost allows the use of input devices like wireless remote to control home devices. The interface as to be expected is simple with different task icons in the menu which have specific functions.

To enjoy more features, you would need to download several plugins which could be the downside of the app. Infrared motions work exquisitely and can be easily setup by following the tutorials on the software website. You can always try EventGhost since it is free to download and check out the features.

⇒ Download EventGhost


These are the best smart home software for smart home owners. They have been tested and found to possess features needed. In addition, they are all compatible with Windows 10.

Meanwhile, EventGhost is lightweight to use but with limited features while Creston is the most expensive of the apps listed above. Our recommended smart home software to utilize in your home is OpenHAB, as it gives all the necessary features and compatibility needed for a smart home software.


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How To Use Cortana Without Voice Commands In Windows 11/10

Voice-activated virtual assistants like Cortana, Alexa, Siri, etc are wonderful to keep up with your busy schedule. They make our work easier and quicker and thus they have become a very important part of our daily routine. But do you know these virtual assistants with the voice-activation feature are also digital spies?

Since you have given them access to your microphone, they can hear everything you say or talk in front of your PC or mobile device. This luxury can actually cost you privacy. Here we are talking about Cortana, it is indeed one of the best features of our Windows PCs, it’s convenient and also helps in increasing productivity. I myself have been using Cortana for many things like performing web searches, searching or opening files from my computer, getting the weather update, and much more but lately I realized that Cortana can hear everything I say and that’s a kind of breach in my privacy.

Well, what to do then? Shall we stop using Cortana?

No, absolutely not. You can simply use it without voice commands. Yes, you can turn off the Voice Activation feature for Cortana and still use it as your virtual assistant.

How to turn off Voice Activation for Cortana

Cortana is simply an app on your PC and you can turn off the voice activation feature for Cortana just like any other app. Press Win+I to open your PC Settings.

Under Microphone, go to the apps that have access to Microphone and locate Cortana. The apps here are displayed alphabetically so you can easily locate Cortana. Toggle the switch off as shown in the screenshot below.

Here you can check what all apps from your PC have requested the Voice Activation feature. Cortana will certainly be on the list. Toggle the switch off and close the Settings.

Use Cortana without Voice Commands

Now the voice activation feature and microphone access are turned off for Cortana, that doesn’t mean that you cannot use the service anymore. You can still enjoy the convenience of Cortana in a new way.

Type Cortana in the Windows Search box to open it, or if you are a regular user of Cortana, you must be having it pinned on your Taskbar.

Open the Cortana app and instead of using the microphone or voice activation feature, you can simply type your commands.

Perform a Web Search using Cortana

If you want to search for anything over the web, simply type your search in the given box and Cortana will open the results with Bing, which is the official search engine of Microsoft. If you want to use Google, you can first give a command to Cortana ‘Open Google’, and then type your search keyword.

Create an appointment using Cortana

Or you can simply type your event or appointment and Cortana will add it to your Microsoft To-Do List and will automatically create a reminder too.

Find files or folders with Cortana

If you want to find any file on your PC, type Find followed by the document name and document type. For example, if I want to look for the resume stored as a PDF file on my PC, I will type Find Resume PDF and Cortana will open all the PDF files with the Resume title.

Similarly, you can perform all your tasks with your virtual assistant Cortana without using the voice command. Yes, it won’t be as convenient as giving voice commands but when it is about our privacy, I think it’s a good option.

Read: How to use Use Voice Commands to write Email using Cortana

Where is Cortana data stored? Is Cortana always listening?

By default, Cortana is not always listening but If it is open and you have permitted it to access your microphone, it is listening, no matter whether you are giving it the command or talking to anyone else. You can easily revoke the microphone access from the Settings and protect your privacy.

How To Reset Your Devices Without Losing Everything

This story has been updated. It was originally published on January 28, 2023.

Think back to how you felt powering up each of your devices for the first time. That sparkling, uncluttered interface, speedy performance, and plenty of possibilities. You can actually feel that again any time you like by resetting your phone or computer.

Resetting a device is about more than just getting a fresh start though: It can fix persistent bugs, get rid of unwanted apps and dangerous malware, and free up storage space on your device.

Before you reset, make a plan

Resetting a device wipes it clean and takes you back to the setup stage, so you’ll need to make sure all your important data is backed up first. We’ve covered this in plenty of depth elsewhere, but it’s worth dropping some quick pointers here.

Mostly, backups are common sense: Think about where you’ve stored your important files and make sure you have copies of them on another device, disk drive, or in the cloud before you start the reset process.

This sort of audit is much more straightforward now than it was in years gone by—consider how much easier it is to simply sign back into Spotify than to back up gigabytes of MP3s, for example. Cloud apps are the norm today and are meant to be used from multiple devices.

What’s more, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have all gone more cloud-centric in recent years. With iCloud, Google Drive, and OneDrive it’s now easier than ever to access your data from anywhere and keep it constantly backed up in the cloud.

That said, don’t be complacent. Desktop programs like the Steam gaming portal and Adobe Photoshop will sync data to and from the cloud, but it’s worth double-checking that the apps you use regularly are actually doing the backups you expect them to. You’ll also want to find out if you can easily redownload them once you’ve hit reset.

If you use your phone to prove your identity for accounts with two-factor authentication (2FA), understand that this data will disappear when you reset it. You’ll need to make absolutely sure you can still get into your online accounts without 2FA, albeit temporarily.

What this means in practice will depend on your 2FA-enabled accounts and the 2FA method you’re using for each one. Do some diligent research and you should have nothing to worry about. Some accounts give you backup codes to use if 2FA fails, so if you get one, make sure it’s in a safe, accessible place. For other accounts, it might just be easier to disable 2FA until you’re all set up on your phone again.

Apple and Google both let you use SMS codes as a backup to a 2FA authenticator app and verification code, so that’s an option (assuming you are keeping your SIM after you reset your phone). Beyond that, other authentication apps let you back up your logins to the cloud, which might work best for you, or you could transfer your authenticator app and its codes to another phone or tablet if you have one spare.

[Related: How to do two-factor authentication like a pro]

Once you’ve decided to reset your phone or computer, it’s also a good idea to spend a few days noting exactly how you use it and how easily you’ll be able to get everything back the way you like it. Most software developers know devices get reset, lost, or stolen on a regular basis, so they should have planned for that, but it’s best to make sure.

Bear in mind that downloading gigabytes of data from the web can take a long time, depending on the speed of your internet connection. If you’ve got masses of files in Dropbox, for example, you can always redownload them from the cloud—but it might be quicker and easier to copy them to an external hard drive before resetting. That way, you can transfer them straight back when you’re done and save the strain on your broadband.

How to reset an Android phone

The reset options on stock Android are pretty clear-cut. David Nield

Google has always developed its software with the cloud in mind, and everything from Gmail to Google Photos lives mostly online. However, you should still make sure that everything you need is in the cloud and that you don’t need anything stored on your phone (such as files downloaded from the web).

It’s also worth double-checking that you know all the usernames and passwords for your apps (and your Google account for that matter), as you’ll need to enter them again after the reset. Don’t worry about having to pay for apps you already own—the Play Store will recognize you once you’ve signed into your Google account and knows what you’ve previously purchased.

You’ll find Android’s own backup process under System and Backup in Settings, and this covers data such as contacts, text messages, and certain device settings (including WiFi passwords). It’s a good option, but make sure it covers everything you want it to save. We also recommend reading through the official Google support document for resetting Pixel phones.

When you’re ready to reset, make sure your phone is plugged in and charging so the process doesn’t get interrupted. Open Settings and then choose System, Reset options, and Erase all data (factory reset). Android will then show you an overview of the data you’re about to wipe. Tap Erase all data, enter the lock screen PIN code, then tap Erase all data again to start the reset process. Once the reset is complete, you’ll find yourself back at the Android setup process.

How to reset an iPhone

The reset options on an iPhone are clearly labeled, so it’s hard to make a mistake. David Nield

Traditionally, Apple hasn’t been quite as savvy as Google when it comes to constantly syncing data to the cloud, but iCloud has improved in recent years. It can now store a substantial amount of information for you (from contacts to calendars) while you’re busy resetting your phone. When it comes time to reinstall apps, Apple’s App Store will remember what you’ve paid for, so you won’t need to purchase them again.

As for backups, iOS has a comprehensive backup option, which uses either a computer or iCloud. If you open Settings, tap your name at the top, and then pick iCloud, you can see the apps sending data to the web. You can also choose iCloud Backup from this list to make sure a backup occurred right before you start resetting your phone.

[Related: The best ways to back up all your photos to the cloud]

Apple has a thorough support document on resetting your iPhone, which you should read before proceeding, just to ensure you’ve done everything necessary. It also covers how to back up your phone if you need extra help with that (iOS will actually prompt you to create a backup when you reset it, if you haven’t run one in a while).

Get your phone plugged in and charging to make sure the reset isn’t interrupted, then open Settings and pick General, Transfer or Reset iPhone, and choose whether you want to Reset the device or Erase All Content and Settings. You’ll be prompted to enter the passcode for your phone and possibly your Apple ID password to confirm your choice (this is a good way to ensure you remember your Apple ID password, as you’ll need it to sign in again). After the reset, the iPhone will reboot to the setup screen.

How to reset Windows

Windows gives you a choice as to how much of your computer you want to reset. David Nield

With OneDrive now such an integral part of Windows, a lot of your files should automatically be synced to the cloud even if you’re not using a third-party option like Google Drive or Dropbox. That said, you should still give your hard drive a scan to look for files that might not be backed up anywhere else.

You should also go through your desktop programs, as they’re often not as ready as mobile apps when it comes to restoring everything from the cloud. Make sure you have all the files, purchase details, and login information you need before these applications get wiped—you’ll have to redownload them all and set them up from scratch once the reset is completed.

Windows actually gives you the option of resetting your entire computer, or just resetting key Windows files and leaving your personal files as they are—this saves you the trouble of a backup, but it’s not as effective as a full reset. For your fresh start, you can use a local copy of Windows (the traditional method) or one downloaded from the web (usually preferable, if your broadband can take it). If you need help with any of these choices, Microsoft has plenty of information about resetting your PC and using the cloud as a reset backup.

[Related: Free up space on your laptop by moving all your files to the cloud]

How to reset macOS

Make sure you back everything up before resetting your Mac. David Nield

Apple’s computers now use iCloud as much as its phones, so a lot of your Mac applications are probably backing themselves up automatically already. If you open the Apple menu, then choose System Preferences, Apple ID, and iCloud, you can see a list of these apps. You can also use Apple’s own Time Machine utility for backups, too—it doesn’t really matter which backup method you have in place, as long as there is one.

As with any other device, audit the programs you’re using day-to-day to make sure they’ll be able to recover from a reset: Can you download them from the web again? Do you know all the account usernames and passwords involved? Are your settings backed up somewhere? Pay particular attention to older software that may not be as cloud-ready as newer applications.

If you’re dealing with a MacBook, get it charging before starting the reset, so a dead battery doesn’t interrupt it. You should also read the official Apple support document to give you an idea of what’s going to happen. You’ll then need to turn your Mac off and on again. On Apple silicon devices (mostly machines manufactured since 2023), keep the power button held down until you see the Options link, then tap it and choose Continue. On Intel-based Macs, press and hold Cmd+R right after turning your Mac back on, until you see the Apple logo.

You’re then in the recovery options for macOS. Pick your user account, enter your password, choose ReinstallmacOS, and work through the screens as they come up. Along the way, you’ll have to choose which hard drive you actually want to install the operating system on (most systems will only have one drive). When the reset process has finished, you’ll be right back at the macOS setup screen.

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