How to Reset a Windows Phone

Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system should be easy to use. The Start Screen, Microsoft’s version of the iPhone’s home screen, is filled with tiles that showcase relevant information so that users don’t actually have to dive in and out of their most used apps. Cortana, Windows Phone’s personal assistant, makes playing a specific song, opening an app or getting the latest weather and sports information a breeze. Even with those features and more, you’re going to need to reset a Windows Phone at some point. That’s true of the iPhone and devices running Google’s Android operating system too.

Sometimes, it’s the Windows Phone Store that refuses to work correctly. Resetting your Windows Phone could get rid of the ‘Resuming” bug that plagued the devices of users who’d changed their lock screen too.


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Before performing a reset on your Windows Phone, you need to know the basics. First, there’s a difference between a resetting a Windows Phone and Restarting a Windows Phone. Restarting your Windows Phone is great for times when you’re seeing a consistent issue, but the problem is down to an app not working correctly. To restart your Windows Phone, simply hold the power button down and then close the lock screen shade that pops up on your screen. Doing a restart doesn’t mess with your apps or data in any way way. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to restart your Windows Phone to fix an error before you reset it.

Before you reset your Windows Phone, plug-in your Windows Phone and back up your music and videos. It’s a good idea to back up your pictures too, but if you configured OneDrive, your Windows Phone is already doing that for you automatically. Absolutely do not begin resetting your Windows Phone while it has a low battery. In fact, plug your Windows Phone in before even beginning the reset process. If your Windows Phone’s battery dies during a reset you can expect a bricked phone that’ll need to be sent it for servicing. Don’t cut corners, find your charger and plug your device in now.


Let’s begin.


Turn on your Windows Phone by pressing the power button.

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Unlock your device by swiping up on the lock screen. At this point you may be asked to enter a PIN code if you’ve already assigned one to your device. Enter it now.

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Welcome to the Windows Phone Start Screen, no doubt you’ve spent a lot of time here already. You may have rearranged your apps and added more to your Start Screen. You need to open the Settings app to reset your Windows Phone. You may have pinned to the Settings app to your Start Screen. Look for the cog Live Tile labeled Setting. Like the one in the picture below.

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What do you do if you don’t have the Settings app pinned to your Start Screen? You’re going to want to find it in the list of installed apps on your device. Place your finger on the right edge of your display and swipe to the right to reveal a list of installed apps. There’s also an arrow at the bottom of your Start Screen to access this.

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All of the apps are listed in alphabetical order from here. Tap on Settings.


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In the Settings screen, scroll down in the System settings area until you find About. In our example, About is listed just after phone update. On most Windows Phones it’s the last settings option under System. On Microsoft Mobile and Nokia handsets it’s listed just before Nokia Account. Tap on About.

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Scroll download and tap on the Reset Your Phone button.


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Now tap Yes if you’re absolutely sure you want to delete everything from your Windows Phone. Again, doing so will leave you with a completely blank Windows Phone with no contacts, basic settings, no apps and no music.

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That doesn’t mean that you can’t easily get those things back. When you create a contact with Windows Phone, it is saved to your Microsoft Account. Microsoft also backs up any installed apps and email accounts – but not their passwords. As long as you’re connected to the internet when you begin the setup process, you’ll get everything back when you re-add your Microsoft Account to your Windows Phone after the reset.

Windows Phone 8.1 will install apps that you had during a backup automatically after a reset, but not all of them. Apps that have been pulled from the Windows Store won’t make their way back to your device. That’s true, even if you paid for them. It’s also important to remember that Xbox on Windows Phone games don’t support cloud back up. You’ll get to keep your achievements, but you’ll have to start all over gameplay wise.

Read: How to Back UP a Windows Phone

Good luck resetting and restoring your Windows Phone.