Factory reset, Fresh start, AutoPilot reset, so many options?!

This week something completely different. This time no technical configurations, this time I’ll try to provide some guidance about different Windows 10 features to remotely reset a Windows 10 device by using Microsoft Intune. With the introduction of the remote AutoPilot reset their are now 3 similar features to remotely reset a Windows 10 device: Factory reset , Fresh start and AutoPilot reset. In this post I’ll try to answer questions like “What are the differences between these reset options?” and “When can I use which reset option?”.

Factory reset

Introduction

The Factory reset action returns the device to its factory default settings. This removes all personal and company data and settings from this device. The drive will be securely erased. When triggering this remote action it is possible to select the Retain enrollment state and user account checkbox, to keep the device enrolled and the user account associated with this device. This action cannot be reverted.

By using the Factory reset action, it’s possible to get devices to a factory default state. Also, just like the Remove company data action, it enables administrators to simply remove devices from Microsoft Intune that are no longer needed, being repurposed, or missing.

Win10-Int-FactoryReset

Summary

Retain enrollment state and user account* Retain Intune enrollment Summary of performed actions
Factory reset Not checked No
  • Removes user accounts;
  • Removes user data;
  • Removes MDM policies;
  • Removes non-default settings;
  • Removes user-installed apps;
  • Retains OEM-installed apps;
  • Resets the operating system to its default state and settings.
Factory reset Checked Yes
(Also retains Azure AD join)
  • Retains user accounts
  • Retains user data;
  • Removes MDM policies;
  • Removes non-default settings;
  • Removes user-installed apps;
  • Retains OEM-installed apps;
  • Resets the operating system to its default state and settings.

*Retain enrollment state and user account requires Windows 10, version 1709 or later.

Fresh start

Introduction

The Fresh start action literally gives the user a fresh start. This removes any apps that are installed on the device. Then, it automatically updates the device to the latest version of Windows. This action helps with removing pre-installed (OEM) apps that are typically installed with a new device. When triggering this remote action it is possible to select the Retain user data on this device checkbox, to keep the user data, and only remove apps and settings.

By using the Fresh start action, it’s possible to get devices to an clean state by removing all bloatware and updating to the latest version of Windows 10 at the same time.

Win10-Int-FreshStart

Summary

Retain user data on this device Retain Intune enrollment Summary of performed actions
Fresh start*

 

Not checked No
(Retains Azure AD join)
  • Removes user accounts;
  • Removes user data;
  • Removes MDM policies
  • Removes settings;
  • Removes Win32 apps;
  • Retains Windows Store apps;
  • Updates to the latest version of Windows.
Fresh start* Checked Yes
(Also retains Azure AD join)
  • Retains user accounts
  • Retains user data;
  • Removes MDM policies;
  • Removes settings;
  • Removes Win32 apps;
  • Retains Windows Store apps;
  • Updates to the latest version of Windows.

*Fresh start requires Windows 10, version 1703 or later.

AutoPilot reset

Introduction

The AutoPilot reset action returns the device to a fully configured and/or IT-approved state. This removes personal files, apps, and settings, and applies the original settings and management settings, so the devices are ready to use. The management settings are coming straight from Azure AD ​and Intune device management.

By using the AutoPilot reset action, it’s possible to get the device to a known, good, managed and synchronized state while preserving the management enrollment.

Win10-Int-AutoPilotReset

Summary

Retain Intune enrollment Summary of performed actions
AutoPilot reset* Yes
(Also retains Azure AD join)
  • Retains user accounts;
  • Removes user data;
  • Removes MDM policies;
  • Removes settings;
  • Removes installed apps;
  • Returns the device to the original settings and management settings.

*Remote AutoPilot reset requires Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 17672 or later.

More information

For more information related to Fresh start, Factory reset and AutoPilot reset in combination with Microsoft Intune, please refer to the following articles:

20 thoughts on “Factory reset, Fresh start, AutoPilot reset, so many options?!”

  1. Thanks for this great break down of features and pro and cons of them all. This gives us a great overview of possibilities of the different resets. What is the most used option you/your Company use? Btw i miss the Auto Redeployment Option !?

  2. Hi RKast,

    That really depends on the use case, but I think that it will be Factory reset (at this moment).

    About the Automatic Redeployment, you really need to reed my previous blog post. Automatic Redeployment is now AutoPilot reset.

    Regards, Peter

  3. Thanks for your reply.
    Oops missed the name change 🙂
    Intune changes are going faster than the speed of light.

  4. Very useful article, thank you! A couple of questions:
    1) does “fresh start” remove any drivers? I’m concerned if while removing some OEM apps, this might trigger the removal of any associated drivers…
    2) what is the definition of “updates to the latest version of Windows” under fresh start? Does it mean latest “quality updates” or latest “feature update”? If “feature update”, does it consider the “latest version” the semi-channel or semi-channel (targeted) version?

    Thank you again, Rajesh

  5. Hi Raj,

    Let’s try to answers these questions with how it should be according to my knowledge (haven’t tested all specific details):
    1. Only the INF-based drivers are kept;
    2. The latest broadly available feature update;
    3. Settings are removed in all scenarios.

    Regards, Peter

  6. Peter – have you seen the behavior where a reset action won’t ‘start’ if the PC is turned on, but not logged in? It seems like a user has to login to the device first, which then triggers a sync which will then receive the reset command from Intune. Just wondering if this mirrors your experience?

  7. What is the best option to use if a user is leaving the organization and you want to prepare the windows 10 device for the next user?

  8. Hi Peter, no old user accounts should exist on the device.
    Fresh start is not working. I have tested that and after fresh start Windows Hello is popping up, although we didn’t enable that in Intune

  9. Hey Peter,

    I did a “Fresh Start” and did not retain user data. This removed it from intune, after this, it was auto enrolled. As planned.

    However it will now not deploy the Windows apps (win32) again. It deployed my LOB apps however.

    Have you seen this, is there a reason this will not work?

  10. Great article. Can you comment on which option preserves the Autopilot machine hash? When the Autopilot machine hash need to be re-imported?

  11. Hi Peter. My experience is that Fresh Start does not remove user data and user profiles, with the “retain user data” OFF. Unlike what your table states.

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