Alexandar Tzanov's Personal Blog

How to factory reset an old HP laptop running Windows 10.


I have an old HP laptop. How old? The original OS it was sold with was Windows Vista. When we bought it from Best Buy it came with a free Windows 7 upgrade CD-set in the box. When Windows 10 was release, I upgraded the OS, since the upgrade was free. Over the years and with its many updates Windows 10 started to take unpleasantly long time to perform actions.

I decided to revert to the original Windows Vista, but Windows 10 does not allow such a downgrade. Trying to boot into System Recovery via F11 does not do anything, and Windows 10 advance boot does not see/recognize the original HP recovery partition. After several hours of trial and error, I was able to get the original system recovery to work. It turned out that these issues might be due to the recovery partition being disabled. After marking the Recovery partition as “Active” using Disk Managment, I was able to boot the HP Recovery Manager via F11.

How to make Recovery partition “Active”?

  1. Right-click on the Start button.
  2. Select Disk Management.
  3. Right-click on the Recovery partition.
  4. Select “Mark Partition as Active”.
  5. You will see a warning about not making the partition Active if it does not have an OS installed on it. Go ahead and mark the partition Active.
  6. Reboot the system through the Start menu.
  7. When you see the HP boot menu listing what the different “F” keys do press F11.

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