What does a "factory reset" do in an ASUS router?

Patrick9876

Regular Contributor
I doubt this is a Merlin-specific question but I'm using Merlin firmware so I'm asking here. And I'm sure this sounds like a bonehead question, but I'm serious in asking it.

I always assumed that doing a "factory reset" would return a device to the state it was in when shipped. So an ASUS router would return to whatever firmware it had when it left the factory - some level of Asuswrt - regardless of what was running recently. From many postings on this forum (such as here) this is clearly not the case.
@EmeraldDeer said:
Someone correct me if I am wrong but the time to perform a factory reset of settings is right after changing firmware levels.

You want to start out with factory settings as defined by the current firmware level, not by the prior firmware level.
The tells me there must both a "Set factory reset settings" (which would clearly wipe out and factory settings) and a "Restore factory reset settings" that would restore the most recently saved settings, not the factory settings. And it sounds like the above quoted text is talking about setting factory settings, not restoring factory settings.

Do I have any of this correct? It feels like I must be misunderstanding.
 

eibgrad

Part of the Furniture
A factory reset sets it back to the state is was originally for the current firmware, which means setting the nvram variables back to their defaults. To go back to the factory defaults as shipped requires installing the firmware it was shipped with.

IOW, factory in this instance means current firmware. Perhaps a better terminology might be "reset to firmware defaults", but "factory" has simply become standard nomenclature.
 
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OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I always assumed that doing a "factory reset"

The wording and meaning does get mangled... and it matters when things don't work like they should. It would be helpful if ASUS kept 'factory' after 'reset' as in 'reset the router to factory default settings'. And better still if they used 'firmware' instead of 'factory' as in 'reset the router firmware to its default settings', i.e. clear any previous firmware default settings including internal settings; user settings; and logged/learned data (and whatever else it does).

I've collected these notes for reference:

Reset FAQ
Reset via Reset button/webUI Restore/node removal - clears settings in NVRAM; reboot restores fw defaults from CFE (fw defaults)
Hard Reset via WPS button/webUI Restore+Initialize - also clears data logged in /jffs partition (fw defaults+clear logs)
Restoration - uploads fw in Rescue Mode

Another confusing term is 'restore/restoration'... it is used to refer to resetting the firmware to its default settings, to restoring saved settings from a .cfg file, and to uploading/flashing firmware in Rescue mode.

OE
 
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Kitsap

Occasional Visitor
The wording and meaning does get mangled... and it matters when things don't work like they should. It would be helpful if ASUS kept 'factory' after 'reset' as in 'reset the router to factory default settings'. And better still if they used 'firmware' instead of 'factory' as in 'reset the router firmware to its default settings', i.e. clear any previous firmware default settings including internal settings; user settings; and logged/learned data (and whatever else it does).


OE

Either mangled by marketing or mangled in translation, the end result is the same. Then swallowed hook, line, and sinker...the same with "speed test."
 

Kitsap

Occasional Visitor
RTFD or return to factory default is what it should say

Disagree, you have no way to know if the firmware presently installed is what was installed when the device left the "factory."

Maybe Reset To Firmware Default (RTFD) settings.
 
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