Alternatively called a factory reset or factory restore, a computer's factory settings are the settings the computer had when it was first purchased. Restoring a computer back to its factory settings means everything is erased from the hard drive and replaced by the original software, drivers, and operating system. A factory reset is often performed before a computer is sold to help resolve any software issues or eliminate the previous user's profile and personal data.
Restoring a computer to its factory settings often requires a restore disc, included with or made from software included with the computer. Today, many newer computers no longer use restore discs and instead have a hidden partition on the hard drive to restore factory settings. If you've lost your restore disc, only your computer manufacturer can provide a replacement.
Why should you do a factory restore?
- Serious data corruption or other serious error that cannot be resolved.
- Want to remove all old software and programs and get it back to how it was when you first purchased it.
- Need to back-up and remove all personal data because you plan on selling the computer or giving it away.
Hardware factory settings
Hardware devices like home network routers, modems, smartphone, and other devices also have factory settings. Resetting these devices erases any custom settings and returns the device back to how it was when it was first purchased.
To restore a hardware device to factory settings requires one or more buttons to be pressed and held for 30+ seconds.