What To Do If Your Windows 10 Mobile Refuses To Reset?

reset fail

TL; DR
  • Try Soft Reset
  • Check if device has Reset Protection (Turn it Off)
  • Try Remote Reset via Find My Phone
  • Try Hard Reset
  • Use Windows Device Recovery Tool

I've had a peculiar problem with my Lumia 430 for the past two months or so. Thing is, I've tried resetting it for a while now and it fails every single time. The phone is however fully functional and it's the resetting that keeps on failing. If I try the soft reset, that's the one in the About menu (Settings > System > About), I get this message:
couldn't reset phone
More like, don't even try...


Turn Off Reset Protection

I've been trying again for an eternity and still it doesn't work. Reading around I've seen a suggestion that this may happen if one has protected their phone from resetting i.e. Reset Protection. This feature is accessible in the Find My Phone option which available in one's Microsoft Account but the feature itself is not available in all devices running Windows Phone/Mobile. I don't recall activating said feature fortunately Microsoft provides an online portal where you can check whether a phone has reset protection enabled by simply providing it's IMEI (dial *#06# in your phone to check).
reset protection status
Check Reset Protection Status

So I checked and it was Off.
off
Reset Protection Off

Try Remote Reset

I tried resetting the phone remotely from my Find My Phone but that didn't work either.

Try Hard Reset

That having failed I decided it's time I tried to do Hard Reset. The hard reset on Windows Phone/Mobie is a little bit complicated compared to Android, but anyway, here are the steps:
  • Turn off the phone
  • Press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time till the phone vibrates (takes some few seconds)
  • Immediately after feeling the vibration, release both buttons then quickly press and hold the Volume Down button until you see an exclamation mark on the screen.
  • Now just press the buttons in this order to reset the phone: Volume Up > Volume Down > Power > Volume Down. Apparently the phone should reset and restart on its own.

I'm using the word apparently because I never got past step two. Doing that on my phone on resulted in reboots. The only time it showed me anything is if I pressed and held the Volume Up button instead of the Volume Down button and this is what it displayed:
flash mode
Lightning Bolt and Gear

As you can see that's nothing close to an Exclamation mark but a lightning bolt and gear. The lightning bolt and gear signals that the phone is in Flash Mode. So apparently my phone can enter Flash Mode but can't reset!



Try Using Windows Device Recovery Tool

wdrt
WDRT Logo

At this point, I had only one option left to try - the Windows Device Recovery Tool (WDRT). The Device Recovery tool is a basically a software which you install on your PC to do an automated recovery of your phone. It's usually used as the last call if a phone has refused all other interventions. It does this is by downloading the entire ROM (OS + Drivers) for your phone then flashing it. You can get the tool from Microsoft here but make sure you meet the following requirements first:
  • You've a PC running Windows 7 or later.
  • Have a compatible USB cable
  • You've at least 4GB of free space on your computer.
  • Make sure you've a stable internet connection before using it since the download is quite big - over one gigabyte.

Also if you're using a non-Lumia Nokia phone (i.e. a Nokia without the Lumia branding), make sure to download Nokia Software Recovery Tool (NSRT) instead of WDRT. WDRT however supports all the other OEM manufacturers devices (e.g. Blu, Alcatel, HTC, HP etc.)

Installing and using the software is pretty straightforward. If everything goes well your phone should be reverted to its factory state i.e. as if a hard reset has been done.If using WDRT fails too and your phone happens to be unusable, I guess your only choice is to take it back to where you purchased it you're still within the warranty period. If not, you can try taking it to a service centre where they repair Microsoft devices. Good luck.


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