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What does Factory Reset Do? How Does It Work?

Last updated on October 19th, 2023 at 07:09 pm

For most people, getting a computer with factory settings is the whole point of buying a new one. 

The computer is exactly as it was on the day it was bought in terms of software. 

For the hardware, the narrative might be a little different. 

Of course, if the hardware functions flawlessly, the computer will also, but the hardware has probably accrued some dings and scratches since the first day of use.

What Is A Factory Reset?

All user information, third-party apps, associated application data, and settings are effectively deleted by a factory reset. 

It is comparable to reformatting a computer’s hard drive. 

However, a factory reset has no impact on data stored on other media, such as a secure digital card.

There are numerous factory reset ways, most of which depend on the specific electronic device. 

A special button must be pressed, or a complete reinstallation of the device’s software may be required in some situations. 

In contrast, in others, the factory reset option may be accessible in a service menu on the device.

With a factory reset, there are some advantages. 

It can be beneficial when all data on the device must be removed, such as before the device is sold.

When a device isn’t working correctly, a virus or other hard-to-remove file needs to be removed, memory space needs to be cleared, settings need to be cleared, or the device needs to be reset to its factory default settings, all of which can be accomplished with the help of a factory reset. 

Additionally, it can aid in resolving issues with the device’s performance, like freezing.

You must do the factory reset carefully because it can potentially delete all data from the electronic device. 

Not every electronic device or circumstance calls for a factory reset.

What does Factory Reset Do?

You should be familiar with the concept of factory resetting.

To be more precise, it is also referred to as a “master reset,” a software process that erases all of the data on an electronic device to return it to its manufacturer’s default settings and restore the system state. 

All user data will be erased if you reset your computer to factory settings.

For many problems, a factory reset of the laptop is frequently used. 

Maybe your laptop has some performance issues, like the computer running slowly.

You may also want to remove all of your files, passwords, programs, and other private and confidential information from your laptop before discarding it.

Why Factory Reset Your Device?

Because it erases the device’s data and applications, a factory reset should only be used as a last resort. 

Use a remote lock and wipe program, like Apple Lock Factory Reset, to remotely lock a device if it is lost or stolen. 

If necessary, this could be accompanied by a factory reset.

But there are some situations where performing a factory reset is the best course of action. 

The following are some of them.

Getting A Device Ready To Be Lent To A Worker

Loaner devices make sense for a company that wants to get the most out of its IT budget. 

Employees who only occasionally or never use devices can avoid waste by having them checked out as needed. 

However, using a shared corporate device increases the risk of an employee gaining unneeded and unauthorized access to any stored corporate data. 

A factory reset on the device between owners can help stop these unintentional data leaks.

Threats Such As Malware And Viruses

Some malware variants are stubborn and challenging to get off a device. 

If the malware has changed the system’s settings at a deep level, simply deleting it might not be sufficient. 

A factory reset can be a quick fix to these incessant malware variants because it returns a device to its initial state by wiping out all files and returning to the default settings.

You Want To Sell Your Product

Data leaks frequently come from information that was unintentionally left on sold or discarded devices. 

Some cybercriminals will purchase them used in the hopes of obtaining private information that was unintentionally left on them.

A strong security practice is to carry out a factory restore before actually having sold or deleting a device. 

Wiping information and apps from any device makes it more difficult for the following user to access company applications or systems and helps prevent data loss.

You’re Going To Modify The System Or Install Some ROM

Smartphones frequently come with restrictions on what their owners can do. 

For instance, jailbreaking or rooting these phones is the only way to gain root-level permissions. 

Some mobile phone users will configure custom ROMs for more flexibility and control. 

The first step in doing this is to reset the device to its factory settings.

For instance, root/jailbreaking the device using an operating system vulnerability is the only way to get root-level permissions on these phones.

Some mobile phone users will configure custom ROMs for more flexibility and control. 

The first step in doing this is to reset the device to its factory settings.

You Are Experiencing Problems With Your Device’s Data

Devices may stop working due to apps, configuration settings, and other factors. 

The logical first action if it is dead slow or freezing is to try and figure out and adjust the problematic application or setting.

However, a factory reset might be the best choice if this does not solve the problem since it resets the device and deletes all of its applications and data. 

This can probably resolve any software-related issues with a broken device because it wipes out all applications and information from the device and resets its settings to factory defaults.

Avoid it if you have doubts about whether it is worthwhile.

But Before You Go All Factory Reset

Back up all of your data before you reset it. 

It cannot be emphasized enough that once it has been reset, all of your information is lost and cannot be recovered. 

Having this data saved also saves time from manually adding contacts and other information to your phone.

Before wiping your Android device clean, it might be worthwhile to encrypt your data first. 

Encryption adds an extra layer of safety that will remain useful should the device fall into the wrong hands, even though the most recent versions of Android have security features that make recovering said information more difficult.‍

What Restrictions Come With A Factory Reset?

Factory resets aren’t flawless. They don’t wholly purge the computer. 

On the hard drive, the information will remain. 

Because of the nature of storage drives/devices, this erasure merely prevents your system from accessing the data; it doesn’t mean that the data has been deleted from the drive.

The old data will be overwritten as you use the factory reset computer and add new data to storage. 

If you use the total storage capacity, all of the old data will eventually be overwritten and disappear.

Primarily because of their relative simplicity, factory resets give users a falsified sense of peace. 

Even though all of your data is still present, you’ll think it has been safely deleted.

It might be helpful to purchase specialized software to perform complete data erasure or use techniques like degaussing (destroying the magnetic field on the hard disk to remove all of its data) to make hard drives utterly useless if you really want to set high standards for security for your business and your information is that important.

How To Perform A Device Factory Reset

The factory reset procedure varies according to a device’s type and operating system. 

A factory reset is simple with data security tools that provide this feature. 

Here’s how to perform a factory reset on Android, macOS, iPhone, and Windows if no such tools are installed.

How to Factory Reset Android

The factory reset procedures vary depending on the Android device and OS version. 

Although it may also be discovered by searching the Settings app for the word “Reset,” the Reset option is typically found in the General Management section of the app.

There should be a factory data reset option in the Reset window. 

All user-installed applications and data will be deleted from the device after selecting this option and simply following the on-screen instructions.

How to Factory Reset iPhone

The steps listed below can be used to factory reset an iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPod.

1. Launch the Settings program.

2. Click General.

3. Tap the Transfer or Reset iPhone button.

4. Select Reset.

5. Select “Erase All Content and Settings” in step five.

6. Provide your Apple ID password or security code when prompted.

While connecting it to a Mac computer can also reset an iPhone to factory settings. 

When the device appears on the Mac after being connected, please select it and instruct it to Trust This Computer. Click Restore iPhone under the General tab and confirm.

How to Factory Reset MAC

To perform a device factory reset on a macOS, follow these instructions:

1. Click on System Preferences in the top menu bar.

Click “Erase All Contents and Settings” in step two.

3. Enter your password and press OK.

4. Click Continue to prevent creating a backup.

5. Select Continue to remove all content and settings.

6. Log out of Apple ID by entering your password when prompted, and then click Erase All Contents & Settings to completely wipe the device.

8. Comply with instructions throughout the reinstallation procedure. The Activate Mac screen will appear on the computer after the macOS factory reset procedure is complete.

How to Factory Reset Windows

Follow these instructions to do a factory restore on a Windows device. 

But first, connect your laptop or another mobile device to an outlet so it can stay charged if you’re using one. 

A minimum 50% battery charge is required if you can’t plug your laptop into an outlet because Microsoft won’t allow you to perform a factory reset otherwise.

1. Launch the Start Menu and click the gear icon to access Settings.

2. Select Recovery in the left pane after choosing Update & Security.

4. Click Get started under the “Reset this PC” heading.

5. Click Remove everything.

6. Select cloud download for Windows 7 installation that is simpler.

7. Click Next and Reset.

All user-installed programs, data, and user accounts will be removed from the computer after Windows has been reinstalled.

Complete Data Erasure and Settings Erasure Comparison

It should be discussed that, in some circumstances, simply performing a factory reset to erase all settings may be sufficient. 

Many devices enforce a non-local data policy in a secure environment and demand remote connections through VPN and tunnelling. 

A remote factory wipe is a fantastic option and highly effective in these circumstances.

However, in other scenarios where data erasure is the desired outcome, this solution is only effective if the information is stored locally. 

Otherwise, the data won’t be dealt with during the erasure stage, significantly reducing its effectiveness.

That is a general key consideration throughout the entire factory reset process as a solution; the value of this feature will depend on your specific needs. 

A factory reset is far sufficient for most devices if all you need to do is precise local data and settings. 

However, if you need to wipe SD and SIM data, you’ll need a unique solution that might not be compatible with current mobile devices.

Training and Education

Factory resets are a tool, like any other tool; the key is to classify them appropriately and train staff on how to use them. 

Managers should train their staff to avoid using factory resets as the end-all, be-all solution, similar to how a supervisor would instruct a welder not to use a jackhammer to check the weld seams in a spot.

In simple terms, resets have their place and can be a powerful tool in your toolbox when used as part of a more comprehensive network security policy. 

Following are some things to think about before applying a reset:‍

  1. Does the questioned data only exist in local storage? If so, performing a factory reset is the best option.
  2. Is it necessary to remotely wipe a device’s settings and data? Again, a factory reset is ideal for you if the answer is yes because it can typically be initiated from a distance.
  3. Does the questioned device have any issues with performance or other aspects of operation? If so, a factory reset can quickly fix these problems by restoring the device to its pre-issued state.

As you can see, there is a place for factory resets. 

If you inform your staff of this place and the proper implementation methods, factory resets can be a valuable component of a comprehensive data health plan.

Sum Up

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what a factory reset is, what it does (and doesn’t), and when it should be used. 

Just keep in mind that while knowing all of this is helpful, ensuring that the lessons learned are implemented throughout the company will require training and compliance testing. 

If you learn and get trained, you, too, will be able to use factory resets as a part of your more extensive data toolkit!

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