Factory Reset vs. Format: Everything You Need To Know

Factory reset vs format, which one should you choose in a needed case? In here, you can learn the differences between factory reset and format as well as the scenarios for application.


By Irene / Updated on October 25, 2023

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Factory reset vs. format: what’s the difference

When it comes to factory reset vs. format, the difference is the initial topic. This part will discuss the differences between factory reset and format. If you are unsure which method to adopt when encountering a problem, we also provide scenarios for application as a reference.

1. The basic differences between factory reset and format

▌Factory reset:

A factory reset, also known as a system restore, is a process that reverts your Windows PC to its original state when it was first purchased. This action removes all installed software and personal data, including any apps or games you installed on the device, personal files like photos, videos, and messages, and settings that are in accordance with your personal preferences.

While factory reset computer erases most user data and settings, it's important to note that data may still be recoverable through specialized methods. Generally, after performing this task, you'll need to reinstall your applications and run Windows Update to bring the PC up to date.

factory windows 11


In Windows, formatting hard drive typically refers to the process of preparing a disk drive or a storage device for data storage and use. This process erases all data on the selected drive or partition, but it doesn't restore the system to its original state. Formatting hard drive can be performed using built-in Windows tools like Command Prompt or third-party software.

However, when formatting the drive, it should be approached with caution, as it results in the loss of the operating system and makes the system unusable without a reinstall. Data recovery after formatting should be done with the help of a professional guide.

format c drive

2. Differences in scenarios for application

If you still don’t know which method to choose when encountering a problem, here we share some common scenarios for application as a reference.

▌Factory reset computer:

• Preparing a PC for resale or donation

• Restoring disk performance

• Resolving severe software problems (such as frequent crashes, unresponsive applications, or malware infections that are difficult to remove)

• Returning to the initial configuration for a clean environment

• Resolving user profile issues (such as settings not working correctly or missing files)

• Removing redundant pre-installed software programs (bloatware)

▌Format hard drive:

▶ Erasing data securely

▶ Changing file system

▶ Preparing for a new OS

▶ Removing virus or malware

▶ Creating/upgrading storage drives

Need to do factory reset or format? Let this robust tool assist you!

If you want to factory reset computer or format hard drive, choosing a powerful tool can make the process more effective and efficient. Most importantly, a reliable tool can ensure safety and eliminate concerns about potential system instability or data loss. AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is such a tool.

No matter you want to perform which task, it can help you easily reach the goal. Now, let’s see how it works.

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Factory reset computer: Use it to make a backup beforehand

Since a factory reset deletes all installed software and personal data, it's advisable to create a backup beforehand with this tool. It can clone all the data on your original disk, including programs and OS. This not only prevents the need for reinstallation but also safeguards against data loss in case of any unexpected issues or failures during the reset process.

Step 1. Prepare a new hard drive and connect it to your computer. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional on the PC as well. On the main interface, click "Clone" > "Clone Disk".


Step 2. Choose "Clone Disk Quickly" or "Sector-by-Sector Clone" as your cloning method.


Step 3. Select the drive you want to back up as the source disk and click "Next".


Step 4. Then select your new drive as the destination disk, tick "Optimize the performance of SSD", and click "Next".


Step 5. Then, resize the partitions on the new drive or keep the default choice and click "Next". Finally, click "Finish" > "Apply" to back up your files before resetting.


Format hard drive: Easily do it with AOMEI Partition Assistant

Generally, if you want to format hard drive without software, you need to prepare a Windows installation CD/DVD and then enter precise command lines in Command Prompt. These process can be challenging and risky for some users. But if you rely on AOMEI Partition Assistant, formatting hard drive can be an easy and safe event.

Step 1. Insert a USB drive into the computer that you need to format. If your device is unbootable, you can plug it into a working Windows-based computer.

Step 2. Run the installed AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Click Tools> Make Bootable Media and click Next.

Make Bootable Media

Step 3. Choose USB Boot Device and click Proceed

Choose Usb Drive

Step 4. Wait patiently for the process to complete. Then, click Finish.


Step 5. Enter BIOS to boot your Lenovo computer from the bootable USB drive. Upon loading, you’ll be in the main console of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right-click the Lenovo laptop hard drive and choose Delete All Partitions.

Step 6. It offers you two options to delete all partitions: Delete all partitions and Delete all partitions and Wipe all data on the hard drive. Choose one based on your demand and click OK.

Choose First Option

Step 7. Click Apply> Proceed to commit operation.

If you want to only format the creation partition on the hard drive like C drive, right-click the partition, select Format Partition, and do as the following prompts.
You are also allowed to wipe hard drive from BIOS on your computer with this powerful tool.
You can perform more advanced operations, such as recovering lost partitions, allocating free space from one partition to another partition, and recovering lost partitions, etc.

Final words

About factory reset vs. format, we share the differences and scenarios for application. No matter whether you want to factory reset computer or format hard drive, it is recommended to rely on AOMEI Partition Assistant for an easy and safe process. This handy tool even provides the Recover Data feature that allows you to get accidentally deleted data back. For Windows Server environments, it offers the AOMEI Partition Assistant Server edition.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.