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Windows 10X feature will prevent unauthorized factory resets

Windows 10

Windows 10X is a new streamlined version of Windows designed for security and performance that Microsoft announced in 2019 and plans to launch in Spring 2021 on a new range of devices.

Many details so far have been scarce, but thanks to a Windows 10X build that was leaked last week, we can get a good look at the operating system and its features.

In addition to a new user interface, Windows 10X also comes with a new feature called “Anti-theft protection,” a measure designed to prevent thieves from wiping and re-using stolen devices.

If a Windows 10 device is unlocked, anyone can go into the Settings and use a feature called “Reset this PC” to reset the devices back to factory defaults. 

Windows 10 Reset this PC feature
Windows 10 Reset this PC feature

When the Windows 10X’s Anti-theft protection feature, a user would have to sign-in with the Microsoft account previously associated with the device or enter the PIN before the device can be reset and used as new.

“Anti-theft protection prevents someone else from resetting your device and re-using it. When anti-theft protection is on, you will need to enter your PIN or Microsoft account password before resetting and re-using this device,” Microsoft describes the feature in the Settings app. 

Windows 10X Anti-theft protection
Windows 10X Anti-theft protection

In Windows 10X, you can configure the Anti-theft protection feature from Settings > Anti-theft protection.

As Windows 10X was designed for portable devices, enabling a feature that makes it more difficult to reset a device as new makes stolen devices a less valuable target. Microsoft used a similar feature in Windows Mobile to protect devices when stolen.

It would also make sense for Microsoft to port this feature to the regular Windows 10 operating system to provide extra security to unlocked devices.

There is no indication that Microsoft plans on doing so at this time.

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