How to Hard Reset your Xbox One, PS4 or Nintendo Switch

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As we head towards the end of 2020 and get closer to next-gen consoles some readers might be thinking about resetting your current games console. Preparing for the PS5 and the Xbox Series X doesn’t need to be too difficult.

Depending on whether it’s to clear it before trading it in, or if you are having some software problems might lead to different kinds of reset.

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Resetting means erasing and then restoring your console. This is to return the console to how it was when you bought it, clearing all saved content. This is called a hard reset or something, a factory reset.

Obviously this isn’t something that you would do lightly as it will reset everything on the console, but sometimes it can be healthy and give the console a new lease of life if it has been suffering from software issues that have been installed on it.

If you are trading your console in, it’s good practice to do this so that none of your personal data is left on the console to then be seen by someone else.

How to Hard Reset an Xbox One

If this is a software issue, try the less extreme option first. If the system isn't responding, press and hold the power button for at least 10 seconds and the light will go amber.

This will perform a reboot, which fixes a lot of problems without actually obliterating all of the data on your system.

If this doesn’t work, are a factory reset is what you want then follow these instructions;

Basic instructions to factory reset an Xbox One:

  1. Press the home button, or press left on the d-pad until the main home menu opens.
  2. Select the gear icon to open the settings menu.
  3. Go to System > Console info.
  4. Go to Reset console > Reset and remove everything for a full factory reset.
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It will not ask for confirmation, so be sure what you want when you press the button. 

The Xbox One will perform a hard reset and the job will work through until it restarts as if it's for the first time.

How to Hard Reset a PS4

If you are on your console, make sure you are logged in and head to the settings which are under the briefcase icon above the home menu;

  1. Go to PlayStation Network/Account Management > Activate as Your Primary PS4.
  2. Choose Deactivate and then manually restart the console.
  3. After you sign in again, navigate to Settings.
  4. Choose Initialization, and then pick Initialize PS4.
  5. When you're ready, select Full, and then confirm with Initialize and then Yes.Plan in a few hours for this to happen.
  6. Once finished, follow the on-screen instructions.

Note there is a lighter option called “restore Default settings”. This doesn’t erase any gaming data but will restore settings. This won’t be appropriate for trading your console in though.

How to Hard Reset a Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch has a couple of options depending on the scale of reset. For a simple reset following these instructions;

  1. With the system off, hold the power button on the side of the console for 15 seconds. 
  2. Release your grip on the power button, then press the power button once like normal to start the console.
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It’s literally as simple as this. But this might not solve the issue.

If you want to Factory reset the console because you want to sell or trade the console on, follow these instructions;

  1. On your Nintendo Switch home screen, select Settings, with the cog icon.
  2. Scroll down and select System on the left-hand menu.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and select Formatting Options.
  4. Select Restore Factory Settings > Next.
  5. Wait for the console to finish erasing all your data.
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Note that this process also unlinks your Nintendo account from the system.