How Long Does it Take to Factory Reset a Laptop?

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Malware can slow down a laptop and badly affect its performance. The potential to corrupt important files is far worse. So, it’s prime time to reset such a laptop. Naturally, you may have qualms about how long does it take to factory reset a laptop? In practice, once the backup is done then a factory reset takes little time. 

It takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour to factory reset a laptop. Mostly, it depends on the size of the backup, Operating System (OS) of the laptop,  input-output data rate, HDD or SDD, processor speed, and RAM. In newer laptops with an updated system, the whole process is 30 to 60 minutes long only. However, old laptops with Windows 7 or Windows 8 may take up to 2 to 4 hours.

Once you are done with the factory reset, it’s important to check ways to restore data. Although a factory reset of a laptop removes all bloatware and malware, it is better to be careful. Installation disk can be used for booting, or if all else fails, Linux CD is a go-to solution. It has the same GUI like Windows.

Complete software restoration is often difficult because all user-configured information is wiped off. So, installed programs cannot be saved and had to be re-installed. Also, have your Windows activation key around for Windows installation after a factory reset.

Factors Contributing to Duration of Factory Reset of a Laptop

There is no simple answer to how long it takes to factory reset a laptop, especially when all laptops are different. The process can slow down whether it is a heavily worked fast laptop or an older model with slow processing speed. So, it is subjective, but managing a few factors can save you 1 to 2 hours.

Files, Folders, and Programs

A bulk of files and folders with massive data, along with various memory-intensive programs take time to backup. An external hard drive is recommended for backup, as the laptop SDD is bound to be wiped. So, the larger the number of files, the more time it will take to reset a laptop.

OS (Operating System)

Microsoft Windows and macOS are the two commonly used operating systems in laptops. Windows 7 or 8 is slower than Windows 10 and may take more time. The same goes for older versions of macOS. However, macOS performs well as compared to Windows when it comes to rapid factory reset.

No. of Connected Devices

Laptops are all in one utility, but sometimes you need to connect a device with it. It can be a keyboard, a wireless mouse, external HDD or SDD cards, or maybe speakers. As the number of connected devices increase, the load on laptop memory also increases. So, make sure to disconnect all the additional devices to speed up factory reset.

Processing Speed

The CPU and RAM of a laptop decide how fast or slow it can work. For instance, a laptop with a 3.4 GHz speed and 8 GB RAM can perform faster than the one with a 2 GHz speed and 4 GB RAM. So, having a high processing speed is a plus when it comes to wiping out all data.

SDD or HDD

These days, all laptops use preinstalled solid-state drives (SDD) in place of traditional hard disk drives (HDD). SDD drives not only save space but are also time-efficient for the factory reset of a laptop. However, if you have important data on a hard disk or it is used as a backup, remember to disconnect it from the laptop beforehand.

Factory Reset for Windows 10 

It is easy to factory reset for Windows 10 regardless of the laptop model. However, the only condition is that the laptop is on and working. Also, the activation key changes once the factory reset finishes.

  • Click on the Windows logo in the lower-left corner and select “Settings”. Or type Settings in the search bar.
  • You can also open Settings by pressing Windows + i.
  • Select Update & Security and then click on Recovery.
  • Get started under Reset this PC and you can choose to Keep my Files or Remove All in the next window.
  • The system asks a few more things as a confirmation, and you can change the choice in the previous tab. Click Next after being satisfied with the data files. In case of malware, it is recommended to clear all the data.
  • A pop-up appears asking Ready to Reset this PC. You can still go back and select Keep my files, or the list of apps to be removed.
  • Click on Reset to factory reset the laptop.

Removing all data will remove any potential virus as well. After the reset is done, sign in to your Microsoft Account to obtain the recovery key for activating Windows 10. It takes 30 minutes to a maximum of 1 hour to factory reset a laptop with Windows 10.

Factory Reset for MacBook

It is also easy to factory reset a MacBook or iMac, however, the process is different. Also, backup data and log out Apple accounts and services (e.g. iTunes) before formatting the laptop.

  • Turn off the MacBook and Restart it.
  • While it restarts, click Command + R during restart until you see the Apple logo. It takes the MacBook to a factory reset mode.
  • Click on the macOS Utilities window and select  Disk Utility and press Continue.
  • Now, select Correct Startup Disk and click on Erase. It will start the factory reset process.
  • Do not turn off the laptop and wait until the reset is done. 
  • Go back to the Disk Utility menu and select Quit. It stops the systems from reinstalling macOS.
  • However, if you need to reinstall it then select Reinstall macOS, then click on Continue, and then Restart.
  • The laptop will be factory restored and updated upon restarting.

You can sign in to your Apple account once the reset is complete. It takes only 35 minutes to 60 minutes to factory reset a MacBook.

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