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How to Reset or Wipe Raspberry Pi to “Factory Default”

Sometimes things go wrong and you want to start over. Sometimes you might want a fresh start just to be sure. It is easy to reset or “wipe” a Raspberry Pi. You might think of it as a “factory reset”.

If you are using NOOBS you can hold the [SHIFT] key while rebooting to launch the NOOBS recovery system. This lets you restore everything to “factory default”. People have reported this not working with a wireless keyboard.

Here are two easy, obvious options:

WARNING - Make sure you back everything up before wiping your system.

Reflash the SD Card

Ideally you would have an image of your system setup exactly the way you want it. If you do you could just write that image to your SD card and restore your system state. Otherwise you could install a fresh OS onto your SD card and start new.

Rasbian with the official Raspberry Pi Imager

The easiest way to do this is to use the official Raspberry Pi Imager. It is available for Windows, OSX, and Ubuntu. You can find it HERE. It is probably the easiest thing you could imagine. It will pull down the OS you select and write it to the SD card for you. You can also download the OS images yourself and install them to the SD card manually but you don’t need to. I remember waaaaay back in the early days I used the Linux dd command to install images to SD cards. This is much easier. It also lets you write custom images to your SD card.

Another Boot Problem - There are cases where a Raspberry Pi may not boot due to the SPI EEPROM being corrupted. To check if this is the case, remove the SD card and unplug the power. Reconnect the power. If you don’t see the green light flash, the EEPROM may be corrupted. You can fix this using the Raspberry Pi Imager. It allows you to create a recovery disk.


If you want to install NOOBS instead of just Rasbian look HERE.

How to Reset Raspberry Pi 3

Many people search specifically for this. Apparently people want to know how to reset a Raspberry Pi more than any other model. My guess is that this is because it is just an extremely popular version of the Pi that has seen a huge amount of use. It isn’t the newest model out but it has been available for a long time while providing pretty decent specs.

The good news is that this process should be basically the same as it is for any other model of Raspberry Pi. Just follow the same instructions that we covered above.

How to Reset or Wipe Raspberry Pi to “Factory Default”

It is always good to have the option to start with a clean slate. This is espcially true in the world tinkering and experimenting that a Raspberry Pi is typically found. Its nice to just know that everything is set back to a working base configuration. This also gives you the freedom to not take risks and not worry too much about messing things up. If you are just testing things out you don’t necessarily have to keep track of every single thing you do in order to go back. You can just wipe everything.