1. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Reset questions continually crop up on the board. Let's see if we can get all the information and answers in one place...

    IMHO the terminology on this board needs to be firmed up:

    • Soft Reset - reboots the phone and clears the cache and RAM. This is a button push method using either the Volume Down + Power (older phones) or just the Power Button (newer models) and holding the relevant buttons until the phone vibrates and reboots (about 10 seconds). Use this to solve minor glitches that may crop up.
    • Hard Reset - another button push method, but used to reflash the last OS version used which is stored in the recovery partition. Power off the phone > hold Volume Down > press Power > keep holding Volume Down until you see the exclamation (!) screen, then immediately release the Volume Down... Now tap Volume Up / Volume Down / Power / Volume Down... You should see the spinning gears and your phone will reflash the last OS version held in recovery. You do loose data, but get your phone back. Sign into your Microsoft Account and restore your backup during the set up.
    • Factory Reset - this is a software method. It will reflash the last OS version used which is stored in the recovery partition. Access this through Settings > System > About > Reset your phone. You should see the spinning gears and your phone will reflash the last OS version held in recovery. You do loose data, but get your phone back. Sign into your Microsoft Account and restore your backup during the set up.
    • Recovery - this is another software method and is done using the Windows Device Recovery Tool (WDRT) and requires a USB connection to desktop. It will return your device to a predesignated point of stability selected by Microsoft (and or the OEM partner). It may be the version on release of the device or at a predesignated Update point since release. This tool gets updated regularly and is an essential source of Firmware that may have been missed due to using Insider Rings or to revert from Insider builds. This is a tried and true method of getting a "clean install" as a bad entry in the device recovery partition may just perpetuate errors even through Hard Reset or Factory Reset.


    For reasons I can't explain, Hard Reset is used interchangeably for the (true) Hard Reset button push method and the Factory Reset software method. Likely this is due to the fact that they achieve the same result. I believe they are different methods and are deserving of a distinction.

    • If your phone is "locked up" and becomes unresponsive a Soft Reset should be attempted first. Don't jump to Hard Reset, use Soft Reset to try and get back to operating conditions. If the issues persist, Soft Reset the phone and attempt a Factory Reset next.
    • If your phone needs a refresh and you are able to access Settings, the Factory Reset should be preferred. Why? It is a prepackaged solution that should include coding to prep your phone for the reset. The system is given information that a reset is requested and it may then shut down properly and prepare itself for a reflash from the recovery partition.
    • If your device is unresponsive, WDRT should be the preferred method of recovery. Why? Again, software coding to prep the system. A stable point is established to reset to. Errors on the device are potentially much less able to perpetuate themselves. You may always climb back up in versions via OTA and/or Insider. WDRT is the best method to assure your Firmware is up-to-date.
    • In my opinion, Hard Reset should be the last resort. Why? It should really only be used if your phone is unresponsive and you are left with no alternative. Use Hard Reset only if you are "stuck" without any of the above options working or being available. Due to the unknown nature of what has borked your device, it may be in a position that the Hard Reset button pushes cannot provide the prep needed for the system to shut down properly and perform the reflash. It might be as potentially damaging to the system as shifting your vehicle into park while it is still rolling at speed.


    We get a lot of questions on the board about what reset to use and what is the difference. Using Hard Reset to refer to 2 methods (button push & software) only compounds the confusion. Hopefully, the information above will help clear some of this up. Some may disagree with what I have outlined and they should feel free to post below... I also hope we can get new users help by answering their reset questions in this thread.
    09-10-2016 01:20 PM
  2. wgrs's Avatar
    Before doing a Soft Reset, unmount your SD card (Settings ... Storage). Otherwise you get a lengthy (30+ minutes) file system check when the phone reboots.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    11-25-2016 12:38 AM
  3. RumoredNow's Avatar
    Before doing a Soft Reset, unmount your SD card (Settings ... Storage). Otherwise you get a lengthy (30+ minutes) file system check when the phone reboots.
    Can't say I've had that. Do you keep a lot of Apps on your card? I keep all of mine on internal.
    11-27-2016 12:03 PM
  4. anon(10197358)'s Avatar
    @RumoredNow

    I'm sure you know that, but there are some cases where software reset, hardware reset (I prefer, contrary to you, use this term to designate the feature built into the OS and also the buttons) and Windows Device Recovery Tool (WDRT) can't work. E.g, why didn't you talk about thor2 ? Obviously, thor2 is used by WDRT, but we can use it, as you know, separately from WDRT with != commands.
    Last edited by DylanCochard; 03-21-2017 at 09:47 PM.
    RumoredNow likes this.
    03-21-2017 09:30 PM
  5. jfa1's Avatar
    Okay here's my issue that I'd appreciate advice on. Lumia 950 on the most recent (just a few minutes ago) the update on two updates previous (FAST RING) apparently killed (again) blue tooth connectivity between the phone and my charge 2. I would really like to restore connectivity and I'm wondering if I can get it back back either through a reversion or do I need to hard reset as a soft reset hasn't helped.
    04-14-2017 04:26 PM

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