How Long Does It Take to Factory Reset a Laptop? – Figured Out!

Factory reset, as we know, is a complete software restore of an electronic system to its original state by wiping off all the user-configured information in there.

So if you don’t know, let me tell you this: how fast or how slow this whole process would take to complete, depends entirely on how well integrated your system is, overall.

Seeing this, I’d say there is no definite answer to “how long does it take to factory reset a laptop?” (or how long it will take). From costing you just half an hour or so, this laptop factory reset can even take multiple hours to complete. And again, this majorly depends on what’s the OS (version) installed on your laptop, your processor’s speed/capacity, how much is RAM therein, is it HDD or SSD, etc.

So if you have one robust laptop with a stalwart and highly integrated hardware-software frame-up, the entire process would hardly take more than 30 – 60 minutes to conclude. But in the vice versa case i.e. in an older laptop with weak configurations, it could take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.

Whereas, at times, this whole thing take half or even one full day. But don’t you worry, that happens very rarely.

Anyways, let’s go down and have a detailed talk on this matter.

So, How Long Does It Take to Factory Reset a Laptop? What Factors Decide How Long It Will Take?

As already stated, the process itself is no biggie and can sew up even within an hour depending on the competence of the system and a few other factors. So what are those factors that decide how quick or how sluggish this process is going to be?

Well, some of the most notable ones are:

  1. The number of files, folders, and programs on your laptop or PC: Greater the amount of data, the more time the restore will take.
  2. Operating system and its version: The older the OS installed on your laptop, the slower will be the process.
  3. CPU and RAM: Say your laptop has an i3 CPU with max 2GHz speed and only 4GB RAM, the factory reset process will be slower here compared to a laptop or PC with an i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM.
  4. HDD or SSD: Solid-state drives are way much faster compared to older hard disk drives. So if your system has HDD storage, like all the other things, this restore process will also cost you much more time than if the system had SSD installed on it.
  5. The number of external peripherals connected: This thing is although more or less common for PC setups, it’s somewhat important for laptops as well. The higher the number of peripherals connected – external keyboard(s), mouse, external HDD, cards, etc., the slower will be the process. So always try to remove all the removable accessories when going for a factory reset.

Seeing all these things, it’s clear that if your laptop (or PC) is older with comparatively incompetent and poorly integrated hardware-software configuration, it will take hours doing the thing. The same is the case for newer but harshly busy systems too.

But in the case of one latest system with up-to-date hardware and software, it will take no more than an hour or hardly a quarter past an hour for you to start working on your brand new laptop again. Yea, an hour for the restore process and the extra 15 or so minutes for setting up your rig – putting password(s) and doing other settings.

When and Why Factory Reset is Necessary (and Recommended)?

Factory resetting puts your laptop back into the condition as it was after just leaving the factory. It drags back all the apps and software(s) to their factory default state and washes out every single thing that’s related to you, off the device.

So as I see it, there can be two main reasons for going for an out-an-out cleanup/restore of your laptop.

  1. Either because the laptop is showing unusual performance setbacks due to some malware attack(s).
  2. Or because you are planning to sell (or maybe trash) it.

Suppose the first scenario where the issue is a virus/malware attack (to which even antivirus(s) surrendered), so you can easily flush it off your device with the factory reset.

Far be, but until and unless the problem is not with some file or folder that you’ve already backed up (as the virus will come again when you put all the backed up files back on your laptop), you won’t face any issues after this restore.

And in the second case where you are planning to trash or give away your laptop to someone, again, doing a full factory reset is highly recommended. Because you can’t risk putting your personal data in someone else’s hands.

How to Factory Reset Your Laptop – Different Methods to Perform a Complete Restore

Depending on the manufacturer and the OS version, etc. there are different approaches to reach out to and start the reset process. Like going for factory reset on a Mac is way too different than doing the thing on a PC.

And then in Windows systems, the process again varies from brand to brand as some manufacturers recommend following a unique set of instructions while some ask for a few other extra things.

How to Factory Reset a Windows 10 Laptop (and How Long Does It Take)?

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Windows 10, when it comes to ease of use, is on a whole new level compared to Windows 7, 8, etc. Thus, besides all other things, doing factory restore is also quite easy here compared to how long does it take to factory reset a laptop with Windows 8 or Windows 7.

Anyways, here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can go for reset on Windows 10.

  1. Either type reset this PC in your device’s search box and press Enter. It will straight away take you to the Recovery – Reset this PC menu.
  2. Or go to System Settings by pressing Windows and I key both at once (or by clicking on the Settings icon from the Start menu). Go to Update & Security from the main Settings screen and then select the Recovery sub-menu further on.
  3. Click on the Get started under the Reset this PC header.
  4. You’ll be prompted to a new screen – Choose an option: Keep my files and Remove everything.

(Select keep my files if you don’t want your files, folders, etc. to wash out and are resetting the system due to a corrupt application or some update issues, etc. But if you want to completely rinse off your system, select the second option – it will take a bit longer but yea, it’s a full cleanup so it’s gonna delete every single thing from your laptop.).

Well, whatever option you select, the approaching window will ask a few other things so that you can review, reconsider, and revise your decision (if needed). And don’t worry, everything is easy to read and understand.

  1. Whatsoever, the next step is to click on Next.
  2. The upcoming window will say Ready to reset this PC? To be on the safer side, if you’ve selected the Keep my files option back one step, you can still go for a final check regarding the apps you’ve already selected for restore. For that, you’d need to click on List of apps to be removed.

This list won’t be available in case you’ve come with the Remove everything option. Anyways, throw a final look on the list and click Reset to start the process.

If your laptop PC is asking for a recovery key before starting the process, you can get it by signing into your Microsoft account (or into the owner’s account whose PC it is). For that, go to aka.ms/myrecoverykey.

Finally, when the process concludes, as said earlier, you’d need a bit extra time to set up your laptop – install all the programs, drivers, and everything else from scratch again. And this is why a prior backup is recommended as it can save you a lot of time in this case.

Multiple Approaches to Performing Factory Reset on Various Windows Laptops/PCs

As I said, there are numerous different ways to go for factory restore depending on the OS version installed on a laptop and the manufacturer of that laptop. So here are a few of them discussed briefly.

#1. Reset in Safe Mode in Windows 10 Laptop/PC

The Windows PCs’ Safe Mode restore is more or less like a simple reboot to your system (that won’t load every function or software that may be problematic). While Safe Mode isn’t as easy in Windows 10, it’s one of the best ways to deal with all OS starting issues.

To get a detailed insight into this, visit Microsoft Support Site and search your query regarding this Safe Mode (and related) things. You’ll get a great deal of information on what are the different methods for the Safe Mode restart, what are its advantages or disadvantages, and a lot more.

#2. Doing Factory Reset by Pressing (a Particular) Function Key While the Laptop is Booting

Like desktop PCs, some laptops also display a few lines during the boot-up stage like press F9, F10, F11, etc., and each key is assigned a specific duty. Well, for recovery and restore purposes, it’s usually the F10 key. So if you see something like that along those lines, press that key to land straight into the reset menu.

Otherwise, you can Google Boot Menu Keys for Different PCs and see if your laptop supports this thing. If yes, check out which special key would work for you as these vary from manufacturer to manufacturer.

#3. Dedicated Buttons for Reset Purposes

Some brands feature a dedicated physical key for recovery/reset purposes on their laptops, like the Novo button on most Lenovo laptops or the Assist button on most Sony VAIO laptops. These keys sit on your keyboard usually but can be somewhere else too.

If your laptop is failing to boot properly or showing some other performance glitches, you can press these (designated) keys to get into the laptop’s recovery menu. (Remember, the laptop needs to be powered Off already before you try this method).

#4. Doing the Job with a Previously Created Repair Disc

A repair disc is a bootable CD/DVD/USB that contains tools for troubleshooting Windows if it’s not starting anymore or not starting correctly. You can even factory restore your system with this repair disc.

#5. Fresh Windows Install

And finally, going for a full new OS install is the ultimate way out, in case none of the previous methods worked for you. For this, you can use the Media Creation Tool method – download the tool and create an installation media for Windows 10 using it.

You could then burn the Windows file to a flash drive, etc. So that you can, later on, use it to reinstall Windows 10 on your PC. Other than this (Media creation tool) method, you can also try reinstalling Windows 10 as an ISO file. But with the ISO method, you’d lose all of your data that’s on the laptop.

How to Factory Reset a Mac?

Discussed above were all the different ways to perform reset on a Windows PC. But what about Macs? Well, doing a factory reset is pretty easy on a Mac device as well, be it MacBook(s) or iMAC(s). Here’s how it’s done.

  1. The first step is more or less a recommendation – do make sure you have backed up all your important data somewhere else.
  2. So start by logging out of all your Apple accounts and services that you use i.e. messages, iTunes, etc.
  3. Restart your device. Press and hold Command + R keys during the restart process (until you see the Apple logo) i.e. when the device turns back ON after shutting down.
  4. From the “macOS Utilities” window, choose Disk utility, and continue.
  5. Then select the Correct Startup Disc and Erase (to erase your hard drive).

Wait until it’s done, and then go back to the Disk utility menu and Quit it. If you want to reinstall the OS, click Reinstall macOS > continue. And that’s it. You can then restart your brand-new device once the process is finished.

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Conclusion

So, how long does it take to factory reset a laptop? Hardly more than 30 minutes or an hour if the system is fully in sync, well-built, and not under harsh loads. And it can take up to 4 or 5 hours or even one entire day (rare though) in the vice versa case.

That said, this whole thing entirely depends on a few factors. If your laptop is doing well at those factors, you won’t have to wait for long for the process to complete. Otherwise, get ready to hang in for longer terms.

Hmm, don’t be mixed up. Scroll up to know everything apropos of that; about why, at times, does it take hours for the process to complete, but, at times, it sums up within minutes.

And finally, about what are the different methods of doing factory reset on PCs and Mac devices as well.