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How to factory reset the Xbox One: A comprehensive guide

If your Xbox One is not performing well anymore, or you plan to sell or give it away, you may consider factory resetting it. Apart from clearing the bugs and fixing software issues, a hard reset wipes all your personal information from the console, restoring it to its factory settings. Let’s look into how you can reset your Xbox One and what you should consider before doing so.

How to factory reset the Xbox One: A comprehensive guide

Resetting Xbox One: What do you need to know?

An Xbox One reset is the process of restoring the console to its factory defaults. You’d typically perform the reset if you planned to sell or give away your Xbox One and needed to wipe all your personal data from the console. It’s not exclusive to the Xbox – for example, you can reset your PS4 to factory settings, too.

However, selling is far from the only reason to reset your console. Simply clearing the Xbox cache and bugs may not always help when your console becomes sluggish and often crashes. The Xbox’s performance may suffer due to extensive usage periods or after you install new software. Giving your console a fresh start with a reset may solve its performance issues and provide a better gaming experience.

Two different types of factory resets may help to solve various issues with your Xbox One:

  • A partial factory reset will revert settings to their default state, reset the console’s operating system, settings, and accounts, and delete the files that may be impairing the Xbox’s performance. It’s important to note that a partial factory reset doesn’t delete or otherwise affect the games or data saved on the console.
  • A full factory reset will delete all data from your Xbox, including all accounts, games, their data, and manual setting changes.

A partial factory reset is a good option if you cannot manually find files that may be causing performance issues or if you’d like to reboot your Xbox’s operating system while keeping all your games installed. On the other hand, a full factory reset is the go-to option if you plan to sell or give away your console.

How to factory reset Xbox One

Once you’ve decided to reset your Xbox One to its factory defaults, you can choose from three different ways to do this: Initiate a factory reset on the console, use a USB flash drive to clear your console, or initiate a factory reset using a startup troubleshooter. Let’s take a closer look at these options.

Factory reset on the console

You can return your Xbox One to factory default settings by following these steps:

  1. Press the Xbox button.
  2. Once the guide opens, select “Profile and system,” choose the “Settings” option, and tap on “Console info.”
  3. Tap on “Select console.”
  4. A window asking if you want to “Reset your console?” will open, prompting you to choose from the two options:
    • “Reset and remove everything.” This option will return the console to its original state, wiping out all your personal information, games, apps, and customized settings. It should be your last resort when troubleshooting or if you plan to give away your Xbox.
    • “Reset and keep my games and apps.” By choosing this option, you’ll reset Xbox’s operating system and delete all potentially harmful data without wiping out your games or apps.

Factory reset using a USB flash drive

If your Xbox is no longer displaying on the screen and you cannot access its settings menu, you can factory reset your console using a USB flash drive.

You’ll need a PC with Windows OS and an empty USB flash drive to use this method. Although most USB flash drives come in FAT32 format, for the Xbox factory reset, you’ll need to configure it to an NTFS format. It should also have at least 4GB of storage space.

First, you’ll need to mount the Xbox system update from your PC to USB. Afterward, power off your Xbox One and plug in the flash drive containing the system update. Press and hold the “Pair” and “Eject” buttons on the console for 10-15 seconds till you hear two “power-up” beeps. Release the buttons after the second “power-up” chirp and remove the USB from the console. Initiate a restart of your Xbox One. Once the console restarts, the setup guide will show on its screen.

You can also find detailed instructions on how to factory reset your Xbox One on the console as well as using a USB flash drive on Xbox’s official webpage.

Factory reset via startup troubleshooter

If your Xbox One doesn’t launch properly, you can reset it to its default settings using the console’s startup troubleshooter. Follow these steps to initiate a factory reset:

  1. Fully power off your Xbox console, remove the network and power cables, and wait for around half a minute.
  2. Reconnect the power cord back to the console.
  3. Press the “Pair” button, which is on the left side of the console, and the “Eject” button, located in the front of the console, at the same time.
  4. While holding both buttons, press the Xbox button on the front of the console.
  5. Let go of the Xbox button, but keep holding the “Eject” and “Pair” buttons for 10-15 seconds.
  6. You should hear two beeps, after which you can release the buttons.
  7. The Xbox startup troubleshooter should appear on your console’s screen.
  8. Choose “Reset this Xbox” from the troubleshooter’s settings and proceed to the factory reset.

How much time does an Xbox One factory reset take?

A factory reset on your Xbox One console may require a varying amount of time, depending on several factors. Below are some insights into what to expect while resetting your console time-wise.

How long does it take to factory reset Xbox One?

The time it takes to factory reset the Xbox One varies depending on the amount of data stored on the console’s system and which type of reset you want to perform.

If you choose to perform a partial factory reset to keep your games and apps saved, it may take anywhere from a few minutes to around 20 minutes. If you decide to reset your Xbox console fully, it may take 20 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how much content the hard drive has.

What to do if your Xbox One gets stuck during a factory reset

If your Xbox gets stuck while performing a factory reset, the first thing you should do is wait. As frustrating as it sounds, sometimes the process could take longer than expected, possibly up to a few hours.

If the reset processes fail to complete on their own, you could also try the hard reset on the console. To do so, press and hold the Xbox’s power button until it turns off completely. Unplug the power cord from the Xbox, wait for a few minutes, and plug it back in. Afterward, press the power button to turn the console back on.

What you should do before the Xbox One factory reset

Before you opt for a factory reset, you should take a couple of steps to ensure the reset runs smoothly. Also, keep in mind that once you complete the factory reset, all your accounts, settings, and games (depending on the reset you choose) will be deleted from your Xbox. Below are some of the measures you should take before initiating a reset:

  • Back up important data. Make sure to save your games and their progress in your Xbox Live account. You should also consider backing up additional data, such as screenshots, clips, or game settings, to an external hard drive or a USB drive.
  • Remove discs. Removing the disc from the Xbox ensures the disc won’t be unexpectedly accessed, ejected, or mishandled during the reset. The reset process could potentially cause an error or glitch with the disc drive, making the disc stuck in the console.
  • Disconnect external storage devices. If you’re using an external hard drive or other storage device, disconnect it before performing the factory reset. It will help to avoid any potential issues, such as data loss, reset interruptions, or extended reset time.

Is it safe to factory reset Xbox?

A factory reset is generally safe and sometimes even necessary to resolve software glitches, improve your Xbox’s performance, or prepare the console for a new user.

At the same time, you should beware that once you perform a factory reset on your Xbox, all your account details will be deleted from the console. So make sure to back up all your data in a cloud service or on an external device.

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