What is hard reset (factory reset; master reset)? - Definition from WhatIs.com


hard reset (factory reset; master reset)

Part of the Computing fundamentals glossary:

A hard reset, also known as a factory reset or master reset, is the restoration of a device to the state it was in when it left the factory. All settings, applications and data added by the user are removed. The term is often heard in reference to smartphones and tablets but laptop and desktop computers, as well as most other electronic devices, can usually be restored to factory conditions.

Factory reset may be accomplished through various procedures, depending on the particular device, or may be available as a device or operating system feature. Android Factory Reset, for example, is a feature that erases all settings, user data, third-party applications, and associated application data from an Android device’s internal flash memory.

The most common reasons to restore factory conditions are to fix a malfunctioning device or to remove user data before selling or otherwise disposing of a device or returning it to the manufacturer. 

Hard reset contrasts with soft reset, which just means to restart a device. 

This was last updated in January 2013
Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms


  • irrational number

    - An irrational number is a real number that cannot be reduced to any ratio between an integer p and a natural number q. (WhatIs.com)

  • Cartesian coordinates (rectangular coordinates)

    - Cartesian coordinates, also called rectangular coordinates, provide a method of rendering graphs and indicating the positions of points on a two-dimensional (2D) surface or in three-dimensional (3D... (WhatIs.com)

  • algorithm

    - An algorithm (pronounced AL-go-rith-um) is a procedure or formula for solving a problem. Algorithms are used throughout almost all areas of information technology. (WhatIs.com)


  • Computing fundamentals

    - Terms related to computer fundamentals, including computer hardware definitions and words and phrases about software, operating systems, peripherals and troubleshooting.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment



    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.