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Factory reset is the term used to describe the removal of user data from an electronic device and restore it back to factory settings. It is a software restore and aims at resetting the software found in the device to original manufacturer settings. A factory reset can be used to resolve some software issues associated with the device or simply to wipe all user data from a device.
A factory reset is also known as a hard reset, hardware reset or master reset.
A factory reset effectively removes all the user data, third-party applications, associated application data and settings found on the device. It is similar to hard drive reformatting in a computer. However, data present on other media, such as a secure digital card, is not affected by a factory reset. A factory reset can be accomplished in many ways, and mostly depends on the electronic device. In some cases, the factory reset option is available in a service menu on the device, whereas in some other cases, a special button is pushed or a complete re-installation of the device software might be needed.
There are certain benefits associated with a factory reset. It can be very useful in situations which require removal of all data present on the device, such as before selling the device. A factory reset is also sometimes used in situations such as repair of a malfunctioning device, removal of a virus or file which is otherwise difficult to remove, clearing memory space, clearing the settings and restoration of the device to default settings. It can also help in fixing performance issues of the device such as freezing.
A factory reset is an action that must be performed with caution, as it is capable of erasing all data stored on the electronic device. A factory reset is not recommended for all electronic devices or in all situations.