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FAQ: What is the difference between a soft and hard reset?

Question

What is the difference between a soft and hard reset?

Answer

A soft reset is intended to reset a device if it appears 'frozen' or is running inefficiently. A soft reset clears all open programs and reboots the device. Once the device is powered back on, any programs that were running before the reset are closed. A soft reset is often required after new software has been installed. A soft reset on a mobile device is equivalent to restarting a Desktop PC.

Most mobile devices can be soft reset by simply pressing the power button once, but check with the manufacturer's guide for instructions specific to the device.

A hard reset clears the RAM and returns the device to the factory settings. Any data, preferences or software installed will be removed from the device after a hard reset. Many devices have the option to store data on a memory card or Flash memory, data stored at these locations is not erased.

Many devices require a different combination of pressing and holding the power and reset buttons to perform a hard reset. Check with the manufacturer's guide for instructions specific to the device to perform this reset.