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How to factory reset an Xbox One

By Will Fulton


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Whether you’re giving your console to a friend or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes you just need to give your Xbox One a fresh start. Fortunately Microsoft makes this very easy to do, whether you want to keep your games and apps installed, or just start with a totally clean slate. This same process applies to all versions of the console, whether you have the original or the new and beefed-up Xbox One X, with one minor difference noted when relevant.

Note that even if you opt to keep your games and apps installed, performing a factory reset will still remove all personal files and associations from the console, including saved games, achievements, settings, and accounts. All of that will be stored in the cloud if your console has synced up with Xbox Live, which happens automatically when connected to the internet, so be sure to go online, if able, before initiating the reset.

When you’re ready, proceed with our guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One. If for technical reasons you are unable to see the screen or access the Settings menu in order to perform the following steps, then skip ahead and we’ll tell you the workaround to boot it up with an external USB drive. Note that you will need access to a Windows PC to do this, however.

Performing a factory reset from the dashboard

Step 1: Sign in

Press the Xbox button (glowing in the center of the controller) to bring up the guide overlay.

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Step 2: Navigate to the System menu (the gear on the far right), and select “Settings.”

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Step 3:Select “System,” then “Console info.”

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Step 4: Select “Reset console.”

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At this point, you have the option to eitherReset and remove everythingorReset and keep my games & apps(or cancel and back out if you aren’t ready).

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Note that even if you keep your games and apps, all of your personal data will still be wiped from the system, so be sure to sync up with Xbox Live or export your settings manually beforehand if you don’t want to lose them. Once you’ve selected your preferred way to reset, the console will proceed with erasing content, which could take several minutes.

Performing a factory reset by USB

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Step 1: Find a compatible USB flash drive

You will need a totally empty flash drive with at least 4 GB of available space. It also has to be formatted for NTFS, which you setthrough the Windows File Explorer.

Step 2: Download the reset file to your computer and extract it into the USB flash drive

Download the zipped reset file from Microsoft here. Extract the file and copy “$SystemUpdate” onto the root directory of the USB flash drive. It should be the only file there. Once the transfer is complete eject and unplug the USB device and return to your console.

Step 3: Turn off and unplug your Xbox One

Power down your Xbox One and remove both the power and network cables from the back. Wait 30 seconds once it is completely off.

Step 4:Plug in the power cable and insert the flash drive into the USB port

Step 5: Press and hold the Bind and Eject buttons on the console, then press the Xbox button

Xbox One S
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

The Eject button is on the front of the original Xbox One console right next to the disk drive, while the Bind button is on the left side, directly adjacent to the disk drive (with a “)))” symbol on it). Note that on the Xbox One X and Xbox One S both buttons are on the front of the console, with Bind sitting directly beneath the Xbox button on the right edge. Once you are holding both buttons, press the Xbox (power) button on the front of the console.

Step 6: Continue holding Bind and Eject for 10-15 seconds until you hear two power-up tones several seconds apart

The first tone will indicate that the console has recognized the USB flash drive, while the second confirms that all of the data has been transferred into the console. It is very important to make sure you hear both before moving forward. Once you hear the consoles power-up tone twice, the reset process should begin on screen and you can set it up as if it were a new console. At this point you can unplug the USB flash drive and proceed as normal. If you do not hear two power-up sounds after 15 seconds, or if you hear any power-down sounds, then the reset has not worked. Try again from the beginning, but if it continues to not stick you may need to contact Microsoft for technical support.


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