What Does a Factory Reset Do? Find Out Here and Then Don’t Do It!

Many of us have learned that when a computer is malfunctioning, and all else fails, it’s time to restart the computer. Restarting will free up RAM and renew network connections, often improving or fixing poor computer functionality. But sometimes computer problems are much more complicated, perhaps the result of a malware attack. In rare instances, resetting a computer to its factory settings becomes an option for addressing serious issues.

A factory reset, defined by Wikipedia www.wikipedia.org, is “a software restore of an electronic device to its original system state by erasing all of the information stored on the device.”

What Does a Factory Reset Do?

A factory reset - also referred to as a system restore, a hard reset or master reset - resets your computer to the same state it was in when you first purchased it. It removes any files and programs you've added since booting it up for the first time and will delete drivers and return all your settings to their factory defaults.

Does a Factory Reset Delete Everything?

Performing a complete factory reset will erase everything you have added to your computer since you’ve owned it and reinstall the operating system. If you’ve updated your version of the system software, you will probably have to reinstall the updates applied since purchasing your PC.

A complete factory reset is the equivalent of a “Hail Mary pass” in football. The reset is a last-ditch effort to repair a malfunctioning PC and might not have the outcome for which you’d hoped. In addition, depending on the applications you’ve been using and the size of your data files, reinstalling programs and loading backed-up data is a time-consuming and arduous task. Furthermore, pre-installed extras such as trial software will return after a reset, cluttering a portion of your hard drive with cumbersome and unnecessary programs and data. These extras are referred to as “bloatware.”

How to Remove Bloatware?

Often, removing bloatware is as simple as uninstalling it. But for off-the-shelf, mass-market computers, the developers of bloatware pay big money to get their programs pre-installed in systems such as Dell, Acer and HP. As a result, those companies need the revenue from those add-on sales. So they often make uninstalling of bloatware very difficult, and sometimes simply uninstalling it isn’t enough. There are several tools available for manually removing bloatware, but most are beyond the skill of average users. As part of your business’s IT maintenance, IT experts should be consulted before performing this type of do-it-yourself repair.

Resetting a PC

Resetting a PC is not an operation to be taken lightly. Choosing to delete programs and data blanketly is risky when performed by amateurs. Once done, it is not always easy to restore the programs and data you need to the configuration that works best for you. Also, you will likely be installing all the bloatware and customizations that the manufacturer pre-installed when you first purchased your computer. Many of these will be trial programs for functions you don’t need. All they are doing is taking up space for other things more relevant to your business.

As the saying goes, “Time is money,” and very few small to midsized business owners or their employees have unlimited time to slowly and carefully go through the tedious process of resetting and restoring a PC. There is a threshold beyond which do-it-yourself IT maintenance becomes unworkable, and you require expertise to keep your systems and networks up and running safely and smoothly. There are many moving parts to operating a small to midsized business. And there is only so much time that can be devoted to day-to-day IT concerns.

Case Study

The managing partner of a law firm in Manhattan considered himself a power user, and he felt he could do most software and hardware repairs himself. His office PC had been slowing down and doing strange things for more than a month. He ran diagnostics and troubleshooting and restarted the computer many times. Finally, in complete frustration, he decided to reset the computer to factory settings. Three days later, after two nights of working on it past midnight, he had his PC back up. But now, he couldn’t find many programs he used every day, and instead of speeding up his workday, the result of his misguided factory reset was now slowing him down even more. Instead of billing his clients, he was still wasting time struggling with his computer.

There are affordable options to help manage all your IT needs. The field of IT consulting is replete with one-person-shop techies who try to offer every possible IT service to their clients or employers. As knowledgeable and experienced as they might be, they cannot be experts in everything. GEEK-AID® Computer and Network Support specializes in customized Managed IT Services for small to midsized businesses. GEEK-AID®’s team of experts is comprised of specialists in different areas of IT services, serving clients on-site and remotely. The GEEK-AID® team doesn’t clock out at five o’clock on Friday. They are available 24/7 to ensure your computers, network and data stay healthy and secure. As your business grows, expands its network and adds more devices such as smart controls, wireless access and remote access, your network vulnerability and need for regular IT support will grow, too. Hardware and software installation and maintenance, repair, security and network protection must be consistent, proactive and not wait for a system failure or data breach.

Call (877) GEEK-AID (877-433-5243) to evaluate and discuss your IT needs. Remember, we are here for you 24/7.