What Is a Factory Reset and What Is It Good For?


Understanding factory resets and what they do can help you protect your data privacy and maintain optimal functionality on your devices. In this, we’ll discuss what factory resets are, how they work, and why you might use them.

What is a factory reset?

A factory reset, also referred to as a hard reset, is a means of reverting an electronic device to its “out-of-the-box” state. The process is typically performed when a user experiences a persistent issue with a device’s performance with no obvious cause or when passing a device on to another user. 

What does a factory reset do?

What does a factory reset do?

A factory reset formats the hard drive of an electronic device, clearing all of the data stored on it. This includes personal user data, media files, custom settings and configurations, and installed applications.  Factory resets do not typically erase firmware, however, meaning that devices that are factory reset can continue to run on updated OS versions. As such, the option is useful for clearing private data and solving performance issues while maintaining a device’s functionality.

What are the pros and cons of a factory reset?

There are both benefits and drawbacks to a factory reset:

Pros and cons of a factory reset


  • Device performance: A factory reset deletes temporary files, clears caches, and solves configuration or software issues, improving device performance.
  • Storage space: By deleting unnecessary data, a factory reset frees up extra space on your device’s hard drive for other uses.
  • User privacy: Factory resets erase login credentials, personal data, and history to protect your privacy if the device changes hands.
  • Software updates: Performing a factory reset allows for a clean installation of software updates by preventing compatibility issues.
  • User experience: A factory reset will erase all custom configurations that you might have forgotten about or altered accidentally, providing a clean user experience as intended by the manufacturer.


  • Data loss: Performing a factory reset will wipe all files on your device’s hard drive, causing you to lose important files if you haven’t backed them up.
  • Downtime: Depending on the device in question, factory resets can be time-consuming, sometimes requiring as much as an hour to complete, which can be inconvenient if you require the device in the meantime.
  • Hardware issue persistence: Factory resetting your device may not solve issues stemming from hardware problems.
  • Malware preservation: Some types of malware can preserve themselves through a factory reset, meaning that issues may persist after completion in rare cases.
  • Disk degradation: Hard drives and SDDs are designed to have a predetermined number of write cycles. While a single factory reset will not harm your device, repeatedly resetting a device and overwriting its data may cause degradation and reduce performance over time.

How to factory reset guide by device

Can data be recovered after a factory reset?

Can data be recovered after a factory reset?

In some cases, yes. While a factory reset will erase all of the data on your device, you may be able to recover some or all of the cleared data if your device has a ‘Restore’ feature. This can allow you to restore erased data, either from the cloud or from a built-in recovery tool that utilizes a partition in your device’s hard disk. Additionally, in some cases, it may be possible to recover some of the cleared data using a third-party recovery tool.

What happens to data after a factory reset?

After a factory reset, the data on your device is overwritten, effectively deleting it. However, in cases where a recovery feature is in place, such as when a device is tied to a specific online account, a restore point may be automatically generated. This will create a copy of your operating system, including systems settings and saved files, giving you the option to recover your data at a later time.


In summary, a factory reset is an option that enables you to reset an electronic device to how it was when it was first activated. It does this by overwriting existing data and clearing personal information settings, files, and installed applications, reverting the device to its default configurations. In instances where a device is encountering performance issues or is set to change hands, a factory reset is a quick and simple way to solve configuration issues and clear private personal data.

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