Applies to Xbox One X/S also
Like every piece of tech, there always comes a time in the life of an Xbox when you want to, or worse, NEED TO restore it to factory settings. You might be selling it or giving it away (after upgrading to Microsoft’s latest Xbox Series X and S consoles) and need to erase all your sensitive data from its memory OR you’re plagued by an annoying error and a reset seems like the only answer!
Whatever the reason, Xbox has multiple options and methods to achieve a Factory Reset. If need be, you can even perform a reset without turning the console on.
Keep in mind that there are less severe issues that do not warrant a factory reset. In some cases, a soft reset or a hard reset can get rid of various pesky issues you might be experiencing. Do try these out before resorting to a factory reset.
Moreover, you need to ensure that you’ve backed up all necessary data before performing a complete factory reset.
Let’s get into the detailed steps for carrying out each of the above!
Performing a Soft and a Hard Reset
A soft reset simply refers to powering your Xbox off and turning it back on after a few seconds. You can do this with your controller by holding down the Xbox button and choosing Restart console or Turn console off. You can also press the power button (Xbox button) on the console to do the same thing.
A hard reset, on the other hand, refers to completely powering down your Xbox. Instead of pressing and releasing the Xbox button on the console, hold it down for around 10 seconds, and release it only when the Xbox shuts down completely. Then disconnect the power cable, wait for an additional 10 seconds, and then reconnect the console and turn it on.
Prepare your Xbox for a Factory Reset
If soft and hard resets don’t cut it for you, you can finally move on to performing a factory reset. But before that, it’s important to make sure you have all your data backed up, either on the cloud or on an external storage drive.
A factory reset removes not only all your games and progress data but also your personal settings and accounts. Your Xbox backs up all your data on the cloud but only if it’s connected to Xbox Live. In case you’ve not been online for a while, it’s best to sync your console with Xbox Live before moving to a factory reset.
You can also choose to back up your games on an external drive by following the steps below:
- Head over to the System tab in the Settings app
- Select Storage > internal drive
- Select Transfer and choose the items you want to transfer
- Choose Copy selected or Move selected (as needed)
- Select the target drive and choose Copy or Move
Now that you’ve backed up all of your important data, you can move to the next section to begin the factory reset process.
Reset Your Xbox from Settings
If your Xbox is booting up fine, then you can easily restore it to factory settings from the Settings app. Also make sure your system software is updated to the latest version released by Microsoft. You can do this by simply navigating to Settings > System > Updates.
The exact steps differ depending on whether you have an original Xbox One or the newer One X/S models. The steps below will broadly apply to each of them:
- Open the Settings app and navigate to System
- Choose Console Info and select Reset Console
- Now you will have two choices: Reset and Remove Everything or Reset and Keep My Games & Apps
Reset and Keep My Games & Apps will reset the system software alone without removing your games and apps. You should try this less intensive option first if you’re trying to troubleshoot an issue with the console. You can solve your issue AND avoid downloading all your games again.
Reset and Remove Everything resets not only the firmware but removes all your data as well and completely restores factory settings. Use this option as a last resort or if you are selling or giving away your console for good.
- When you have made your choice, select the respective option. Note that there will be no confirmation message once you select the desired option.
- Your Xbox will start erasing data and restoring factory settings. This process can take some time.
Reset Your Xbox with a USB drive
In the extreme case that your Xbox is not even able to boot up, you can no longer use the Settings menu to perform the factory reset. You need to use an alternate method involving a USB drive and a reset file downloaded from Xbox’s website. Here are the steps you need to follow:
- For this process, you need an NTFS-formatted, empty flash drive with at least 4GB of free space
- Download this reset file and unzip the contents.
- Copy the $SystemUpdate file to the root directory of your USB drive and safely unplug the drive.
- Remove the Ethernet cable and turn off your Xbox by holding down its physical Xbox button.
- Remove the power cable and plug it back after at least 30 seconds. Don’t turn on the console.
- Plug the USB drive into a USB port on the console.
- Hold down the BIND and EJECT buttons together. While holding them down, press the Xbox button. Continue holding down the BIND and EJECT buttons.
- When you hear two ‘power-up’ tones a few seconds apart, release the BIND and EJECT buttons after the second tone.
- Wait for your Xbox to restart and remove the USB drive.
- You should be able to see the Digital Setup Experience once the console restarts. This indicates a successful reset process.
Your Xbox is now restored to its factory settings and can be safely sold or given away to a new user without any danger of anyone accessing your sensitive data.