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Reset Runaround

A while back, I had to get some high-end cell phones and smartphones ready to ship back to the PR departments involved. But before doing that, I had to reset them to erase any personal data I might have left on them--principally, schedules and address books sent over via Bluetooth.

But that simple chore took more research than I would have thought.

With the Nokia N93, the onscreen interface and paper manual offered no help. The term "reset" didn't even show up in the manual's index. So I had to resort to a Web search, which quickly led me to this page with the right info.

Things were easier with a Palm Treo 680--in part because I'd recently read stories about the extra steps needed to conduct a "factory reset" that would completely wipe its memory clean. Palm's tech-support site had all the instructions needed.

Turning to the index in the manual for a Sony Ericsson K790a provided no help, but the right command was in a logical spot in the phone's onscreen menus--under the Settings category, labeled "Master Reset."

The Samsung SCH-a990 got this right; the proper command was listed in the manual's index, and the corresponding entry included info on how to erase the phone book, which you'll want to do before resetting the phone.

Any phone capable of storing personal information should make it easy to wipe that info off the phone, permanently. Identity theft is a real problem, and any phone vendor that forces users to Google for Web pages that reveal "secret codes" is doing its users a gross disservice.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 5, 2007; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets , Tips  
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