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Factory Restores

Occasionally you may encounter an error on your computer which cannot be fixed.

But never fear as the factory restores are here! A factory restore is essentially a process which will return the product back to its original settings, “ironing out the creases”. Using this should eradicate any software issues that you have. Below is a list of the most popular manufacturers, and methods of factory restoring without the use of recovery discs.

  1. Acer/Packard Bell
  2. Apple Mac
  3. HP/Compaq
  4. Toshiba
  5. Sony Vaio

Acer/Packard Bell

Acer and Packard Bell are both manufactured by the same company (Acer), so the methods are exactly the same for doing a factory restore on these units. The quickest and easiest way of doing this is below.

Note: For units over 2 years old it’s very important that you back up your data as you will lose everything!

  • Find the 2 keys on your keyboard labelled “Alt” & “F10”
  • As soon as you turn the computer on hold down “Alt” and tap F10 repeatedly
  • You should then get a message saying “Windows is loading files”. At this point you can take your fingers off of the keys on the keyboard
  • Once the recovery has loaded you should get a screen saying “Welcome to the eRecovery manager”
  • From there click on “Complete Restore” and then follow the on screen prompts

When this is  complete, you will be taken through the basic setup again (e.g setting the time zone etc), after which you will be able to log in and carry on from there.

Apple Mac

It will be a rare occurance with a Mac that you should need to restore the unit to it’s original state, as they tend to work without any issues. But, should you find yourself needing to do a factory restore, the steps are quite simple. First thing you need to do is fish out your Mac OSX install discs that should have come with the machine you purchased. Insert the 1st disc, then follow these steps:

  • Turn the machine on and immediately hold down the “C” key
  • This will take you to a step by step guide to restore the machine

In some instances you will need to use the “Disk Utility”. If you’ve got a yellow triangle with an exclamation mark over your hard drive, this means that there is something wrong with the way OSX is installed, and you’ll need to start from scratch. Go through the following steps to resolve this issue:

  • Click on Disk Utility which is located at the top of the screen
  • This will open a small box with your hard drive on the left
  • Click on your hard drive
  • Select the Erase tab
  • Click on Erase (this should only take a few seconds to complete)
  • Close Disk Utility by clicking on Disk Utility in the top left and then “Quit”

From here you should be able to install OSX without any issues.


HP and Compaq are the same brand (HP). Doing a factory restore on these machines is fairly simple, just follow the steps below:

  • Make sure the machine is off to begin with and find the “F11” key
  • Turn the machine on and immediately start tapping the “F11” key until you get a message saying “Windows is loading files”
  • Once this has loaded up, you will be given the HP restore utility
  • Go to the “Continue” or “Next” key
  • The first option it will give you is for “Windows system restore”, which you’ll need to say no to, and click “Next”
  • The next option it will give you is “perform system recovery”. Click yes and select “Next”
  • At this point it will give you the option to back up your files if you haven’t already. If you opt to do this, it’s highly recommended that you use either a memory stick or an external hard drive depending on how much data you have on the computer.
  • Whether you choose to back up your files or not, you will be shown some warnings informing you that it will remove any personal data. The process will then begin.

This process should take around an hour to an hour and a half, after which your computer will be back to its original state.


Doing a Toshiba restore is fairly straight forward; it works slightly differently in the respect that it does it inside a hidden Windows repair section. Follow the steps below to get the ball rolling:

  • Make sure the computer is off to begin with and locate the “F8” key on your keyboard
  • Turn the computer on and immediately start tapping the “F8” key until the “Advanced booting options” menu appears with several options.
  • The first option it should give you is “Repair your computer”. This is highlighted already, so simply hit Enter.
  • This will eventually get you to a point where it will be asking you to select your input language, which is English by default. Select “Next”.
  • Now you will be asked to login, so click the drop down box of usernames, select your account, and enter your password.
  • The final section is a list of recovery tools. The very bottom option should be the “Toshiba HDD recovery tool”. Click on this and follow the on screen instructions to start the process off.

This should take about an hour to an hour and a half to finish in its entirety. The only other bits and pieces you’ll need to do is the basic first time set up.

Sony Vaio

Sony Vaio recoveries are generally straight forward. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Note: Depending on what model you have purchased over the past two years, the following may not be suitable. If not, refer to your user manual.

  • Make sure the machine is turned off and find the F10 key on your keyboard
  • Turn the machine on and immediately start tapping F10
  • You will then be given a screen that says “Edit boot options”. Don’t worry about any of the options, simply press enter.
  • This will take you to a window with several options for restoring. Choose the one that suits you best and follow the on screen messages.

This should take about an hour or so to complete. When finished, it will ask you to go through the first time setup again, and your computer should be back to its brand new state.