I have an ASUS laptop with Windows 10 that I want to factory reset. I used it for many years and did some torrenting with it in the past, so I wouldn't be surprised if something went wrong when it comes to security. The steps I would follow are these: https://www.asus.com/en/support/FAQ/1013065/

I would rather factory reset than format cause it would be harder to find the right drivers again if I formatted, and it's a big deal with laptops.

However, I wonder, is factory reset from a recovery partition safe enough to clean up the laptop if it got infected? Or could malware have overwritten the recovery partition and/or the UEFI (or other firmware)? I have secure boot disabled cause I needed to start Linux from Live USB many times and it interfered.

  • 2
    You say "safe enough," but safe enough for what? Safe enough to hold the nuclear launch codes is different from safe enough to play videos games on. Regarding drivers, malware authors can also write drivers. Regarding recovery partition and/or UEFI, it is possible for malware to overwrite these things.
    – hft
    Oct 1, 2020 at 1:10
  • Safe enough to store personal information about my work, banking and such. I wonder whether the recovery partition has any protection mechanism that makes it harder than just a WriteFile() for even some administrator level code to write there or to the UEFI. Also could a TPM be overwritten as well, or would it detect changes in the UEFI if I re-enabled secure boot and reset the OS?
    – memememe
    Oct 1, 2020 at 9:31
  • I won't post it as an answer, but just remember that while formatting from plain DVD is a great idea, some years the folks at the Guardian had to do a more complicated show to nuke some special guy's laptop from the orbit. As part of the show they had to destroy the power supply too. But obviously this is not something you and I really want to care about Oct 1, 2020 at 21:58
  • I'd say you could proceed as follows: wipe the drive, turn secure boot back on, reinstall Windows 10 and upgrade to the latest version of Windows 10. You'll lose some drivers, but oh well.
    – hft
    Oct 3, 2020 at 1:17

2 Answers 2


If you have a TPM, you can enable secure boot and proceed the factory reset. This way should assert than the restored OS is healthy as it is signed by ASUS. Then you will be able to disable secure boot for your linux needs.

Without a TPM, the main concerns are about a rootkit (able to insert itself in the OS after the factory reset) or about a malware which infected the recovery partition.

However, today most of the malware belongs to one of these categories:

  • spy your activities to produce a detailed consumer profile and send it
  • encrypt your files and ask for a ransom
  • make your PC a zombie for botnet usage

I think only the last could be persistent enough to use rootkit strategies.
As hft said, if you are using your computer for gaming, netflix and casual browsing, the factory reset would be sufficient. Even if the botnet malware is persistent he will not annoy your browsing.
If the PC is used for activism, journalism, nuclear code and so one, factory reset is not sufficient and you should consider using an airgap (a new PC) without mixing your sensitive activities with torrent ^^

  • 1
    I don't have nuclear launch codes, but I still have more than one reason to not want a botnet or spyware (even just the fact that I use it for all of my programming related work). I know I shouldn't have mixed my main PC and torrenting, but hey I was younger when I first got this laptop. How do I know if I have a TPM?
    – memememe
    Oct 1, 2020 at 9:27
  • You can see it in the BIOS. But if secure boot is proposed, I am pretty sure that you have one. ASUS often include them
    – Sibwara
    Oct 1, 2020 at 10:30

Not most malwares or virus can be removed by factory resetting or formatting your computer hard disk

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .