Factory Reset

I would like to draw community attention to Factory Reset feature.

Most of the devices that are sold nowadays, whether it runs Android or iOS, Windows or ChromeOS, they all do come with this feature.

As of right now, Ubuntu(or any other distro for that matter) do not provide this possibility.
I feel like this is an overlooked subject in Linux community. Why is this so important?

From systems theory, one of the characteristics of a system is self-healing or so-called resilience. (Homeostasis: The tendency of a system to be resilient towards external factors and maintain its key characteristics.)
So regardless of the external changes, the system still can operate as it should or if it can’t, at least it could recover.

From OEM perspective, this is an advantage. It gives them assurance that their device will run doesn’t matter what.
For users, it is convenient and it saves time(no extra steps to download the image, burn it to the USB and messing with BIOS and finally boot it). I know, these things seem to be trivial for us, for those that are more knowledgeable in computers, however, try to explain this to my “aunt” over the phone. In case she(or people like her) mess up somethings or their computer starts acting funny, they want to be sure everything will be fine. Even if you lucky enough to ssh her computer remotely, certain things can’t be fixed that way. Besides, how many people are you willing to invite into your computer to “fix” them remotely.

And what do I mean by Factory Reset?
Click on a button in the settings, enter sudo password and your computer turns to a default state( as it came from the factory).

Now mind you, there are different “types” of this reset feature.
A complete reset (re-install) - Basically, all changes made by the user to that point are reverted. Nothings of personal data is left. Everythings is erased and you get a brand new computer. You could resell it, give it as a gift or donate it. regardless of the choice, you know that there is no personal data of yours.

A refresh - personal data is not touched, however, all the configs, settings and software are restored to its factory defaults.

So where we are at right now regarding Factory Reset? What are the plans? What can be done to escalate this issue and make this feature a reality in Ubuntu?


Well, the existing Factory Reset is the LiveCD / LiveUSB in your drawer.

It takes up no space on your hard drive or SSD, it requires no special partition, it cannot be easily corrupted or overwritten by experimenters, it is very difficult to trigger by accident, it is very easy to identify it’s version, it’s rather easy to update or completely re-create, and you are already familiar with how it works.

OEM Factory Resets tend have two important uses that do not seem to apply to Ubuntu:

  • Preserving the Product Key / Device Identifier
  • Preserving device-specific software customizations / drivers

So, sure, devices often do indeed need and have a reset feature. Snappy and Ubuntu Core were designed with that in mind. But why does a general-purpose computer need it when the OS is not provided by the OEM?

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AOEMI offers a software called OneKey, which creates a recovery partition which can work as a factory reset. Works only in Windows at the moment.

It is good for Ubuntu too to have a factory reset. When people experiment a lot and want to get back to the comfort of default packages. Would be even better if someone can insert the Ubuntu DVD and reset the OS.

At the moment even a 3rd party software like OneKey will be awesome.