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A factory reset, also known as master reset, is a software restore of an electronic device to its original system state by erasing all of the information stored on the device in an attempt to restore the device’s software to its original manufacture settings. Doing so will erase all of the data, settings, and applications that were previously on the device. This is usually done to fix a software issue that the device is facing, but it could also be done to restore the device to its original settings. Such electronic devices include handheld computers such as PDAs and mobile phones. Since a factory reset entails deleting all information stored in the device, it is essentially the same concept as reformatting a hard drive. Pre-Installed applications and data on the card's storage card (such as a MicroSD card) will not be erased. A factory reset should be performed with caution, as it destroys all data stored in the unit. Factory resets can often fix many chronic performance issues such as freezing and will not remove the device's operating system. 
Common reasons to perform a factory reset include:
- to fix a malfunctioning electronic device
- to remove a file or virus that is difficult remove
- to clear the configuration and settings of the electronic device to the default settings
- to clear the memory space on the electronic device
- to remove personal information from the device before selling the device 
Factory resets can be achieved in a variety of ways depending on the electronic device. For some devices, this could be done by going into the device's service menu. Other devices may require a complete re-installation of the software. The following section lists a few common electronic devices and how they can be factory reset.
Computer factory resets will restore the computer to the computer's original operating system and delete all of the user data stored on the computer.
On Windows 8:
- Go to the settings menu (point to upper-right corner), and then select Change PC settings.
- Select Update and Recovery
- Choose the "Remove everything and re-install Windows" option to get started.
- Restart the computer.
- Hold down the Command Key and the R key.
- Select the Re-install OS option to get started.
Mobile Phones are commonly factory reset when the phone has an issue. The phone is reset to its original factory settings with all of its data erased. Data on the Sim Card and the MicroSD card of the phone are not erased.
For iOS devices, there is a restore option in iTunes when the device is connected to the computer. In iOS7 there are options under Settings->General->Reset that allows the user to reset the phone's settings and data.
On Android devices there is a Factory data reset option in Settings->Back up and reset that will erase all of the phone's data and resets all of its settings
Many other devices also include the Factory Reset option within the menu of the device's settings. Such devices include televisions, GPS Devices , tablets, and more. These devices often include service menus that allow for the user to factory reset the device.
Many electronics have a menu of options and settings called the service menu, of which commonly includes an option for a factory reset. This form of performing a reset is most common in devices with displays such as televisions and computer monitors. These menus are accessed differently depending on the electronic device, but generally through a sequence and series of button presses.
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- "Guide for Performing Factory Resets on Common Mobile Devices" (PDF). Retrieved 23 October 2013. line feed character in
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- "Disposing of Your Mobile Device". Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "How to restore, refresh, or reset your PC". Retrieved 23 October 2013.