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Can data be recovered after a factory reset and how to avoid that

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  • 3 min read

Factory reset is a feature that is equipped with all electronic devices such as Smartphones, Tablets and PCs. This feature allows one to reset the device’s software to its factory state.

It resets the device to its original manufacturer’s settings and wipes all data present on it. All applications, contacts, personal files — everything is deleted. However, data recovery can be used to retrieve this data from their physical raw state which is present on the drive.

What Does A Factory Reset Do?

When a device is factory reset, the phone is restored to the state when it was first purchased. This erases all applications, e-mails, SMS/text messages, contacts, pictures, videos and any other multi-media present on the device.

Everything except for the system files is erased. The settings are set to default and the device feels as good as new — software wise. This factory reset feature is often used by re-sellers to erase all data from a device before handing it over.

Also read: Why is SMS-based 2-factor authentication not as secure as app-based 2-factor authentication?

Where Do The Deleted Files Go?

When we delete a file, it either goes to the recycle bin or to the recently deleted files from where it can be restored at any point.
Whereas, when a file is permanently deleted, all the memory allocations linked to it are erased.

However, the contents of the file itself remain on the physical drive in the raw state and therefore can be recovered with the help of data recovery software.

If the file is overwritten, the chances of recovering become very low. Every permanently deleted file needs to be overwritten for it to truly erase from the memory and become unrecoverable.

Are There Better Ways To Delete Files?

Factory resetting a phone still enables it to recover data with the help of different software. If you want to delete data that cannot be recovered, a hard reset is a great option.

It is a complicated procedure but it resets the hardware too. The hardware is completely re-formatted and is left with no data or UI on the device. Hard resetting a device would require you to install the software or operating system again. This process is not recommended if you don’t know how to go about it as it may lead to a bricked device.

So can a PC/Mobile’s files be recovered after a factory reset? Yes, it is possible to recover those erased files if not overwritten and can be done with the help of data recovery software.

Also read: SATA SSD vs PCIe SSDs: Which one should you buy?

Rajiv Kulkarni

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