Resetting a Lenovo System to Factory State

I spent quite sometime figuring out how to reset a Lenovo S500 desktop to its initial, out of factory state. It was not a smooth experience due to inconsistent product terms and lack of an intuitive process. Most likely, you landed here because your system is having issues and resetting seems to be the last resort after having spent the last few hours trying every online advice and failing. Hence, I hope my experiences might help you shorten your troubleshooting time and avoid the complications I encountered. 

Do note this process is irreversible, you will lose all your data. So backup your important data if your system is still accessible, before starting the process.

The Lenovo S500 that I worked on is a small form factor (SFF) desktop, but I think the process I described below should work in general for Lenovo laptops. Do leave a comment if it works for you!

First off, Lenovo keeps a hidden recovery partition in your hard disk. If you go into Disk Management (Go to Run, Type "diskmgmt.msc" without the quotes and enter), you should see the the partition. Usually it would be the last partition on the end the disk. This is your life savior and one of the two keys to everything below, so do not ever delete this.

The second key would be the recovery software itself. In Windows, check your Lenovo suite of applications that came out of box, for the Lenovo System Rescue software. Depending on your desktop/laptop generation, the application may also be called OneKey Recovery. As of this writing, the desktop version is 4.0 while the laptop version is 8.0. As mentioned in the Lenovo article, Lenovo OneKey Recovery software comes preloaded, you cannot separately download it. The confusing part here is that while Lenovo website calls it OneKey Recovery, the older desktop version installed is called System Rescue software. I had spent a long time searching for the download link for OneKey Recovery before discovering that it is pre-installed under a different name.

Another thing that was not immediately clear was after launching System Rescue in Windows, there are two options. One is for backup, which responds when you click on it. The other one is for recovery, which does not give any response, not even any prompts or error messages. Initially, I had thought it could be because my system had become too screwed up (reason for me needing to reset to factory state). 

Actually, it is because the correct way to trigger the reset functionality is by rebooting the system and pressing F2 (for desktops) and the Novo button (for Idea laptops). After that, just follow on screen instructions and wait for the reset process to finish.

The good thing about resetting is that the image in the hidden partition comes with the necessary drivers already loaded, so the system is good to go once reset is completed.

What is your experience with the Lenovo OneKey? Please share in the comments.


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