Factory resetting your laptop can seem like a long and intimidating procedure, but the truth is, it’s easy. The process isn’t complicated, but you must be sure you want to do it, as it involves losing your settings and data. This isn’t something that can be undone.
A factory reset is usually done because the computer has malware, is performing poorly, or is being sold. The process is easy and can be done through the computer’s settings, whether you’re using a MacBook or PC. Make sure to back up all your data first, or you’ll lose it.
Let’s take a closer look at some quick tips for factory resetting your laptop, including how to do it, why you might want to in the first place, and what happens if you perform a factory reset that you later regret.
What is a Factory Reset?
A factory reset is the term for resetting all settings on an electronic and removing all data. It restores the device to the same state and condition it was in when it left the factory, hence the name. It can be performed on most electronics, but remember that you will lose all data for good.
Why Would You Need to Factory Reset a Laptop?
There’s a few reasons you might need to factory reset a laptop. Let’s take a look at them:
Virus or Malware
If a virus or malware has made its way onto your laptop, sometimes it can prove to be almost impossible to remove. Although many laptops have good security against unwanted intruders, hackers are getting smarter as technology does. All it takes is clicking one wrong link or opening one bad email to find yourself in a sticky situation.
Because of how difficult it is to identify and remove malware, one way to get rid of it is to factory reset your laptop. This takes you back to the start and remove everything on the laptop — including the virus.
Your Laptop’s Performance Has Gone Down
You may notice that your laptop’s performance has gone down or is running much slower than you’re used to. In this case, factory resetting the laptop if you can’t identify the cause can be a good idea. This is because it’s likely a setting has changed, or your laptop is using too much storage and can’t perform as well.
You Don’t Like a Software Update
Although it’s not advisable to go back in time when it comes to software updates, you can always reset your laptop if there’s an update you don’t like, and it will take your laptop back to the software it had when you first bought the computer.
A Fresh Start
Some people might have an older laptop they haven’t used in a while but would like to get back into using it. A factory reset can be a good idea as long as there isn’t anything on there you want to keep because it will make the software appear as good as new and give the user a fresh start.
You’re Giving the Laptop Away or Selling it
Another reason you might need to factory reset a laptop is because you want to give it away or sell it. It’s never a good idea to give a laptop to someone with all of your personal data and passwords saved on it.
So, the best way to ensure you’ve gotten rid of all that is to factory reset the laptop. This also gives the new owner a fresh start, ensuring it’s running at peak performance.
You’re Recycling It
If the laptop is at the end of its lifespan and you’ve decided to recycle it — because you can’t throw a laptop in the regular trash — it’s a good idea to factory reset the laptop before you throw it away.
Of course, you can’t guarantee who it’ll go to if someone might take it from a recycling center, so ensure there’s no personal data on it before it leaves your hands for good.
How to Factory Reset a MacBook
To factory reset a MacBook, you should follow these steps:
- Click the Apple symbol on the top left of your screen.
- Choose System Settings.
- Choose General.
- Choose Transfer or Reset.
- Choose Erase All Content and Settings.
Once you’ve done this, it may take time for your MacBook to erase all content and settings and restart. However, once it does, you’ll be presented with the setup screen and know the laptop has been erased.
How to Factory Reset a PC
PCs are a little different from Macs.
- Open the Windows menu on the bottom left.
- Choose Settings.
- Choose System.
- Choose Recovery.
- Choose Reset PC.
Just like what would happen with a MacBook, the computer will take a few moments to reset. The time can vary per model and storage, but once it’s down, the screen should start up as if it’s brand new.
Can You Undo a Factory Reset?
When you go ahead, and factory reset a computer, you should be very sure you’re ready to proceed. Most computers will not let you undo a factory reset, and it can be difficult for experts to retrieve any lost data.
Make sure you back up your data before proceeding. This will vary depending on the computer and method — for example, backing up to the cloud vs. an external hard drive — but it’s vital to do your research on best practices and follow them accordingly. Otherwise, you will lose everything.
You should assume when you go ahead and do a factory reset that it’ll be final because, usually, it is.
Factory resets are pretty commonplace because they have many purposes: speeding up a computer that’s performing poorly, eliminating malware, or clearing out personal data before handing off your device to a new owner. However, you will lose all your settings and data, so you should be sure about what you want to do before proceeding with this fairly easy process!