Hard reset

Updated: 08/02/2019 by Computer Hope
Linksys router reset button

A hard reset is a term that describes the process of either pressing the reset button on a computer or peripheral or pressing and holding the reset button for a few seconds. A hard reset gets its name from the fact that you are physically pressing the button instead of resetting through software.


A hard reset should not be confused with a cold boot, also known as a hard boot. Also, this term can be used to describe a factory reset.

Router hard reset

With a network home router, there is a reset button the back of the router that will reboot the router when pressed. A hard reset is when you press and hold in on the button for 5-10 seconds and then let go. The hard reset on a router will reset all the router settings to factory default settings.

Laptop hard reset

With a laptop, a hard reset makes sure all hardware settings are reset by removing all power from the computer. Laptop hard resets can fix random hardware issues and glitches that other troubleshootings cannot fix. To do a hard reset on your laptop, follow the steps below.

  1. Close all windows and turn the laptop off.
  2. Once the laptop is off, disconnect the AC adapter (power) and remove the battery.
  3. After removing the battery and disconnecting the power cord, leave the computer off for 30 seconds and while off, press and hold the power button in 5-10 second intervals.
  4. After 30 seconds, put the battery back in the laptop and connect the power cord.
  5. Turn on the laptop.

If your laptop still has the same issue or similar issues after a hard reset, further troubleshooting is required. There may be hardware problems that require replacement of the hardware, or operating system problems that require a reinstall of the operating system.

Smartphone hard reset

With a smartphone, a hard reset restores the smartphone back to the original operating system and apps. A hard reset erases all user data and any apps installed by the user.

Cold boot, Hardware terms, Reset button