There are many situations where you may want to factory reset your Xbox. Maybe you’re experiencing technical issues, or perhaps you want to get rid of your personal data before selling your console (especially if you want to upgrade to the recently-launched Xbox Series X/S). No matter the reason, we show you how to factory reset your Xbox, covering all the currently possible ways in 2021.
Note: Keep in mind that resetting your console to its factory defaults erases all accounts, saved games, settings, and more. Anything that is not synchronized with your Xbox Live account (or your Game Pass subscription) will be lost. To back up your Xbox using an external drive, go to “Settings -> System -> Backup & Transfer.”
How to Reset Your Xbox One X/S & Xbox Series X/S to Factory Settings
Microsoft pushes new Xbox software updates on a regular basis, so before you begin, make sure you have updated your Xbox to the latest available software version. This is done by navigating to “Settings -> System -> Updates.”
Resetting your Xbox One X/S as well as Xbox Series X/S console to the factory settings is quite easy.
1. Press the “Xbox” button on your controller, which will open the guide menu (on the left side of your TV screen).
2. Navigate to “My Games & Apps -> See All.” This will open a new window where you can see all your locally-installed games, apps, and other types of software.
3. Scroll down to Apps and then launch “Settings.” Navigate to “System -> Console Info.” At this moment you should see a series of information about your console, including your device’s serial number, console ID, and similar.
4. On the left side of the screen, navigate to “Reset Console.” You will see three options. Take a look below to learn what each of those options can do.
- If you plan on selling your Xbox console or giving it away, you’ll want to select “Reset and Remove Everything.” This completely erases your Xbox One X/S or Xbox Series X/S and restores the console to the factory defaults. In other words, this option completely removes all personal data, including account info, games, and installed apps.
- On the rare occasion your Xbox is not functioning properly, you can reset the console as a way of troubleshooting the problem. Selecting “Reset & Keep My Games & Apps” will reset your Xbox’s operating system. Doing so has the potential to find and delete corrupted files without deleting your games or apps.
Based on what you select, your Xbox One X/S or Xbox Series X/S will start to erase its data and restore everything to default values. Remember that if you decide to reset your Xbox completely, this process can take some time to complete.
How to Reset Your Xbox One X/S or Xbox Series X/S Using a USB Drive
If for some reason you cannot access the Settings app or there’s no picture on your TV screen, don’t fret. You can still reset your Xbox One with a USB drive.
Prepare the USB Flash Drive on Your PC
The first thing you’ll need to do is plug your USB drive (minimum 4GB) into your computer. Most USB drives come formatted as FAT32 out-of-the-box to ensure compatibility with both macOS and Windows.
For this, you’ll need to format it to NTFS. If you are using a Mac, you can use “Disk Utility.” If you’re using a Windows PC, right-click the drive in File Explorer and select “Quick Format” (while making sure to pick “NTFS” via the “File System” field).
Once your flash drive is formatted, download the Restore to Factory Default file. This is a compressed .zip file that contains all of the necessary files to reset your Xbox One console. Once you’ve downloaded this file, unzip it. Locate the file labeled “$SystemUpdate.” Copy it to the root of your USB drive.
Prepare Your Xbox One X/S or Xbox Series X/S
There are a few things you’ll want to do before you plug the USB drive into your Xbox console:
1. First, unplug the network cable if you are using a wired Internet connection. If your Xbox connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi, you can ignore this step.
2. Shut down the console completely. Don’t put it in rest mode – turn it off completely (which you can do by pressing the “Power” button on your Xbox for about 10 seconds until its light turns off).
3. Once your Xbox shuts down, unplug the power cable to make sure your console is totally powered off. Wait for around 30 seconds or so before you plug the power cable back in.
Begin the Reset Process on Your Xbox Console
With your Xbox powered off, plug the flash drive into a USB port on the console. Press and hold the BIND button and the EJECT button (at the same time). While holding these two buttons down, press the Xbox button on the console. Continue to hold down the BIND and EJECT buttons for an additional 10 to 15 seconds.
Note: The BIND button is also known as the “pairing” button. It is the same button one would press to pair a new controller to the console. If you’re not sure where that button is located, refer to the diagram below. Also, when it comes to Xbox Series X/S consoles, this button is found on their front side.
At this point you should hear two “power-up” tones a few seconds apart. Release the BIND and EJECT buttons after the second tone. Also, feel free to remove the USB stick when the console restarts and powers on again.
Once your Xbox One X/S or Xbox Series X/S restarts, you should see your console’s “Digital Setup Experience” guide on your TV screen. This will indicate that your Xbox has returned to its factory settings.
Note: If you don’t hear anything after 15 seconds, that means the process has failed. Also, if you hear any “power-down” tones, that also means you’ve entered the process incorrectly. Therefore, you’ll want to try the sequence again.
Now that we’ve shared how to factory reset your Xbox console, we’d like to share a few useful articles. Here’s all you need to know about the backward compatibility of Xbox Series X/S consoles. You’ll also want to learn how to format Xbox external hard dives for use on a PC.