My question is different to How can I reset to the factory settings? hence why I have posted.

The problem I am facing is that I have a Raspberry B+ which I have had for about 2 years. I didn't use it for a year and recently just did an upgrade from Jessie to the latest OS and things are working fine. I did, however, previously use it to try out different things and installed things such as OSSEC, Hadoop and other chunky software which I no longer have use for. I have uninstalled said stuff, did a purge etc, but I feel like a clean start would be the best going forward.

Is there a way to reset the Pi without flashing the SD card. The Pi is currently running headless and operated via SSH but I am able to hook it up to a mouse, keyboard and TV if needed. What I can't however do is format an SD card or flash a new OS as the SD card slot on my Mac is currently occupied with a memory card that is very difficult to remove and usually causes issues when I remove. I am trying to very much avoid this option.

I have looked at buying a USB SD card reader but as I only need it for this one job, not really looking to fork out that £.

Is there a way I can 'wipe' or reset the Pi into a clean install? I have researched around the topic, but I can't see an answer where someone says specifically that this is possible or isn't possible.

So again, how do I 'reset' to factory settings and start again without flashing the SD card. The Pi and current OS works fine and there is no issues with the hardware or SD card.

  • I don't quite see how one wants to work with embedded devices without obtaining the proper tools, an SD card reader of some kind is fairly critical.
    – crasic
    Nov 10, 2017 at 1:31
  • I do have an SD card reader but it requires being slotted into my laptop, which at this moment in time, I cant do. But as my last resort, I had said in my question that I would most likely buy a USB one. The reason I asked the question was also to find out if the Pi can be reset to default without the need of flashing as it's something I had been curious about but couldnt find the answer too.
    – BantuTech
    Nov 10, 2017 at 7:15

2 Answers 2


The Pi does not have factory settings in that sense. Everything is held on the SD card. You will have to burn a new image to a SD card.

  • Thank you for the answer, will flash the SD card and probably try out a new OS in the process!
    – BantuTech
    Nov 10, 2017 at 7:23

You might be able to boot to a USB device, and from there format the SD card.


I'll advice you to find another option to write to the SD card, as that is by far the easiest way to go. You might be able to find a cheap SD card reader on ebay.

  • Thanks for this, looked at what you suggested and just flashing it seems like the easier option. Will get an SD card reader!
    – BantuTech
    Nov 10, 2017 at 7:22

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