How Long Does it Take to Factory Reset a Laptop?

How Long Does It Take To Factory Reset A Laptop

Don’t be in a rush to replace your laptop when it gets infected by malware or starts malfunctioning because setting it to recovery status can help solve the issue. However, how long does it take to factory reset a laptop, you may ask?

The process can be time-consuming since it involves removing all your software, data, programs, and system files and resetting your laptop’s configurations and device settings to default.

Nonetheless, keep reading to discover the average time it takes to factory reset a laptop and if the process is taking too much time.

How Long Does It Take To Factory Reset A Laptop?

On average, a factory reset of a laptop will take about 30 minutes to 3 hours and occasionally even a day. The time varies depending on your laptop’s current condition, RAM, the amount of data saved, and the hardware configurations.

In addition, the operating system running your laptop will also influence the time taken to complete the reset. For this reason, Linux, Windows, and Mac Os laptops will take different durations.

It will take longer to factory reset if it’s old, installed with many programs, has a smaller RAM, and uses the traditional HDD. It takes much longer to factory reset a laptop with HDD because the physical moving parts slow it down.

On the flip side, you won’t have to wait long if you have 8GB RAM or even more, running on the latest OS or using an SSD. The reset will take less time if you have fewer peripherals connected to your laptop, like speakers and mice.

Important Tips When Factory Resetting a Laptop

Use the tips below to ensure your laptop factory reset proceeds seamlessly:

  • Back up your data before starting the factory reset to ensure you don’t lose valuable files. You can back up the data in the cloud or on external hard drives.
  • Wipe your laptop clean if you plan to sell it or give it away.
  • Plug the laptop into a power source when factory resetting it to ensure it doesn’t shut down mid-reset.
  • Install everything manually if you cannot find your files after a factory reset instead of using a complete factory reset or system restore. Doing so makes it easier to find and replace missing data.
  • It helps to have a stable internet connection during a laptop factory reset so that you can reinstall the applications effortlessly.

What To Do if Factory Resetting Your Laptop Takes Too Long

So, you began the factory reset process for your laptop several hours ago, and it’s not complete yet. Naturally, you will wonder why it’s taking too long and how to remedy it.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Wait Much Longer

Patience is key when factory resetting your laptop because the process can take a lot of time, and interrupting it can have dire consequences, including making your laptop unbootable. Therefore, you are better off leaving your laptop overnight for the process to be complete.

The process is still ongoing if the lights of the hard drive continue to blink.

However, it may point to a potential problem if the percentage doesn’t increase after leaving the laptop overnight. In that case, you may need to shut it down.

2. Disconnect the internet cables

Updates may run concurrently with the factory reset, slowing the recovery process if your laptop is connected to the internet. To stop your computer from updating and speed up the reset process, disconnect the ethernet cables and watch the percentage increase.

3. Change The Bios Settings

Certain BIOS settings can create problems during a factory reset. Fortunately, you can change them, but be very careful because doing it wrongly can lead to system damage.

Change the following BIOS settings:

  • Enable CSM
  • Turn on the USB boot, then select the first order
  • Turn on the Legacy Boot
  • Switch off Secure Boot

4. Utilize The Media Creation Tool

The media creation tool allows you to conduct different tasks on your laptop if it gets stuck at a particular percentage during a reset. Here’s what to do:

  • Run your laptop’s Windows Recovery Environment
  • Use the Media Creation Tool to develop a Windows installation media on a different computer and save it on a USB drive.
  • Plug the USB drive into your laptop, then restart it.
  • Follow the system instructions to access Troubleshoot, then choose Reset This PC. Alternatively, select Advanced Options in the troubleshooting section and Startup Repair.
  • If a broken system file is causing the factory reset process to halt, repair it and resume the reset process by running the SFC scan. To do so, open the Command Prompt, type sfc/scannow, then press Enter.

Final Remarks

With many variables influencing the amount of time it takes to factory reset a laptop, pinpointing the exact duration is a toll order. However, give it 30 minutes to 3 hours for your computer to go back to the default settings.  


Tom is a network engineer and a tech consultant. He spends his time solving networking problems while keeping tabs with the latest in the technology field.

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