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It is mentioned at XDA Developers that one should do Factory reset or hard reset. I'm a bit confused about what is hard reset? Factory reset I suppose is using the option in settings to reset phone to the factory state i.e. when it was unboxed.

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

A hard reset is traditionally when you kill all power to the phone and then boot it up from that state. Normally you remove the battery, then put it back in and boot up. You're right about factory reset -- it erases all your settings and data, leaving the OS. Unfortunately, some people use "hard reset" when they really mean "factory reset".

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Thanks very much for the short & sweet answer. So that means, it doesn't stop using battery when I switch off my phone? And what extra boot steps it has to take for hard reset than simple reboot? –  iSid Feb 28 '11 at 5:58
    
Most Android phones actually do shut off entirely when powered down. Powering down and then back up should be sufficient. I would suspect a reboot would be fine as well -- a "soft" restart is usually when you close an application and restart it, rather than restart the entire device. For example, you could "soft reboot" old versions of Windows by exiting to DOS and then starting up Windows again. –  Matthew Read Feb 28 '11 at 14:24
    
I think "hard reset" has become synonymous with "factory reset", as far as phone tech support is concerned anyway. A "hard reboot" would be where you yank the battery and then restart the phone, while a "soft reboot" would be selecting restart from the power options menu. –  Tester101 Oct 12 '11 at 16:58
    
"You're right about factory reset -- it erases all your settings and data, leaving the OS." Does that mean that Factory Reset is exactly the same thing as wiping /data and /cache? I would have thought from the name that it resets your phone back to its "factory" state by reformatting all internal memory and flashing each partition from an image on a real embedded ROM in your phone, but that appears not to be the case. I guess if such a thing existed, it would be easy to restore a "bricked" phone. Manufacturers must be under a lot of cost pressure. ;) –  lsiden Jul 23 '12 at 10:11
    
@lsiden It doesn't format and flash, sadly. A locked bootloader might do that if you modify /system, but a standard factory reset only hits /data and /cache as you say. –  Matthew Read Jul 23 '12 at 15:35
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