Windows is the most popular Operating System for personal computers. And there’s a good reason for it – its simplicity and ease of use make it suitable for all types of users. However, Windows has several nagging issues that may drive you crazy at times. Most of these problems are very common and hence, it’s easy to find a solution for them e.g. malware-related problems. But there are also certain problems which are not well-known and therefore, it’s difficult to find a solution for them. Here, I’m going to tell you about a problem which appears to be fairly uncommon but it’s very annoying. Some Windows users have found that one day their computer suddenly reset itself to factory state and their personal files stored on C: have disappeared. Fortunately, this problem is not as serious as it appears to be and there’s an easy fix for it. In this article, I’m going to tell you what to do if your Windows computer automatically resets itself suddenly.
What to do if your Windows computer automatically resets itself?
Yesterday I turned my Windows 10 laptop ON, expecting everything to be in the same way as I had left it the previous day. However, my laptop had decided to make life a bit more difficult for me 🙂 . The boot process was complete and the login screen was in front of me. I entered my password and pressed the ENTER key. This is where trouble began. Normally, when you login to Windows, a bit of text saying Welcome (or something equivalent, depending upon your language) is displayed. In this case, the text being displayed was Preparing Windows instead of Welcome. I felt something was seriously wrong and within 2-3 seconds, my doubts were confirmed. Something was really wrong with computer!
The last time I had been working on this computer (i.e. the previous day), it had a beautiful wallpaper and several icons on the desktop. The taskbar had icons of some programs I had installed on it. But everything had disappeared now. When I checked the Documents and Downloads folders, they were blank!!! Also, I got a notification that I had logged in as a temporary user account. I thought my laptop had suddenly reset itself automatically to factory state. If that was really the case, I was in serious trouble. Luckily, it wasn’t as I had feared. The problem was much less serious and easily fixable.
As I mentioned in the above paragraph, this problem had something to do with my User Account. Luckily, I found the solution to this problem within ten minutes. First of all, I’m going to tell you what to do if you (or someone you know) face such a problem. After that, I’ll explain the cause of the problem. When I searched Microsoft Answers for this problem, I found a question of a user who had faced the same issue in 2013 on his Windows 8 computer. There were several suggested solutions on that page. I have listed the solutions that have worked either for others or for me.
- Restart your computer normally i.e. through the Start Menu or by pressing Alt + F4. For some people, this fixes the problem. If this method doesn’t bring your computer back to normal, try the second method. In my case, this method didn’t work.
- Turn your computer OFF by holding the Power button for a few seconds. This method fixed my problem 🙂 . If this still doesn’t fix your problem at all or if the problem keeps occurring after a few days, try the third method.
- Restore your computer to the last restore point before the problem started. I hope you know how to use a restore point in Windows. If not, you can find plenty of information on Microsoft Support website. There is very little chance that your problem won’t be fixed even after restoring your computer to the last restore point. However, if that does happen, you should ask a question on Microsoft Answers.
After my problem was fixed, everything became the way it was supposed to be. Following is the screenshot of my desktop after everything was normal.
The weird problem did consume TEN MINUTES of my life 😀 but it was worth the trouble. I learnt a lot from this problem. Now, coming to the point, what caused this problem?
The cause of this problem
The cause of this problem was that my user account was somehow corrupted and that was causing me log in to a temporary user account. Since I was logging in to a temporary account, I couldn’t see the files stored in my “C:/Users/username/” folder, which included the files on my desktop. Also, all the Windows settings were set to default, such as my wallpaper and the taskbar. Now, if you’re wondering what caused the user account to get corrupted, that question is difficult to answer. That’s because there are several possible reasons. The most common reasons of user account corruption are malware and file system errors. File System errors may be caused by hardware issues (such as a problem with your hard disk) or power outages (such as if your computer suddenly turned off due to power cut). Sometimes, certain software-related problems may also cause user account corruption. For example, a Windows Update that failed to install properly.
Since there are several possible causes of user account corruption, you should consider all the possibilities one by one and try to fix them. First of all, scan your computer thoroughly for possible malware infection. If it appears that the problem wasn’t caused by malware, scan you hard disk for errors. If there are any file system errors, they would show up. If neither of the above two cases apply to your problem, consider uninstalling recently installed Windows Updates.
You might think that the title of this article – “What to do if your Windows computer automatically resets itself” is misleading. After all, the computer had not reset itself to the factory state. The problem was actually caused by a corrupted user account. However, that’s the first thought that comes to the mind of anyone who comes across such a problem. It’s natural to think that your computer has reset itself to factory state, because that’s what it looks like. If this article helped you fix a similar problem, share your experience with others by adding your comment below. Even if your problem wasn’t fixed, sharing it with others may help you find a solution. 🙂