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The Zoom H4n Handy Recorder is customizable so that it matches your specific needs. However, sometimes you may encounter issues that can’t be solved by simply adjusting the settings or troubleshooting. In such cases, performing a factory reset will restore the H4n to its default state and hopefully resolve any persistent problems.
In this blog post, I’ll guide you through the steps to perform a factory reset on the Zoom H4n Handy Recorder, suggest an alternative procedure and explain the pros and cons.
Try this before performing a factory reset
If you’re experiencing problems with your Zoom H4n I can understand the urge to perform a factory reset. But a factory reset may not fix the issue because the problem you’re experiencing may just be a bug in the system.
Since the H4n was released there have been 10 system software versions, most being bug fixes in the first couple of years since the launch of the device. Unless you bought your H4n before 2011, it is likely to have shipped with system software version 1.72. The installed software version is displayed on the screen at the start of power-up.
If your H4n is still using version 1.72, or an earlier version, consider downloading the latest firmware update, version 1.90. The latest version is available on this Zoom Corporation support page. I give full instructions on updating your firmware in this article: How to Update Your Zoom Handy Recorder Firmware.
How to Perform a Zoom H4n Factory Reset
Performing a factory reset on a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder is a straightforward process that can be completed in a few easy steps. It is not necessary to have an SD card in the H4n recorder to perform a factory update. In fact, if you eject the SD card, the boot-up process will be much quicker.
- Eject and remove the SD card from the H4n.
- Turn on the recorder and wait while the Zoom H4n powers up. The screen will display “NO CARD” and then go to the normal recording screen.
- Press the MENU button on the side of the recorder to enter the H4n menu.
- Use the DIAL to scroll down to SYSTEM and then press the DIAL to enter the SYSTEM menu.
- Use the DIAL to scroll down to FAC RESET and then press the DIAL to enter the FACTORY RESET screen. It will display “Are You Sure?” and give you two choices, YES and NO. Technically there are three choices since pressing the MENU button will return you to the previous menu screen.
- Choose YES and press the DIAL. After quickly resetting the screen will display “COMPLETE” and then go to the normal record screen.
- When the factory reset is complete, go to DATE/TIME in the SYSTEM menu and check that the date and time are correct. If necessary, select DATE/TIME and press the DIAL, then correct the date and time.
That’s it! Your Zoom H4n Handy Recorder has now been reset to its factory default settings, and you can start using it again with a clean slate.
When is it a good idea to perform a factory reset?
There are a number of reasons why performing a factory reset on a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder can be advisable. However, don’t rush into doing a reset either, since it can have consequences. For example, you will need to reset the time and date, redo customizations you regularly use, as well updating firmware, if you had previously done so.
But performing a factory update can offer several benefits, including:
Resolving persistent issues: Although there have been many bug fixes since the Zoom H4n was released in February 2009, you might find you’re experiencing some issues with your H4n. Performing a factory reset can help to resolve such problems by restoring the device to its original state.
Resetting customized settings: Over time you may have customized the settings on your H4n and want to revert to the default settings. Alternatively, you may have activated a setting a little while ago and have forgotten how to deactivate it. Provided there aren’t any settings you want to keep, a factory reset is a quick and easy way to undo the customization.
Getting your recorder ready for resale: If you plan to sell or give away your H4n, performing a factory reset can ensure that the recorder functions as recorded in the user manual. This will make things less confusing for a new user. If you’re including SD cards with the recorder, ensure you have also deleted any data and also formatted the card.
Starting fresh: Finally, performing a factory reset can give you a fresh start with your H4n. Over time, you will have made numerous changes to the settings of your device and it is easy to lose track of what has been done. Performing a factory reset can clear all these old settings and begin again with a clean slate.
When should you not perform a factory reset?
A factory reset can be a useful solution when you encounter issues with your Zoom H4n Handy recorder. However, there are times when you should not do a factory reset. If you have customized a lot of settings on the device, a factory reset will revert them back to the default settings. If you don’t want to lose your customized settings, avoid doing a factory reset.
In conclusion, performing a factory reset on a Zoom H4n Handy Recorder can be a quick and easy way to resolve persistent issues, reset customized settings, prepare the device for resale, or simply start fresh. However, before resetting your H4n, it’s worth trying a firmware update, which might solve your problem. If you have customized a lot of settings, you may want to avoid performing a factory reset. But overall, a factory reset is a useful tool to keep in mind when troubleshooting your Zoom H4n but use it with care and only when necessary.
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About the author: Tosh Lubek is a multi-award-winning broadcaster, writer, and video producer, with 40 years of experience in professional broadcasting and has been using Canon video and stills cameras since 2010. He has worked with radio and TV broadcasters, advertising agencies, and direct clients on a variety of projects including radio and television advertising, online video production, corporate videos, award ceremony motion graphics, and theme park sound design. Tosh has won numerous awards, including a Radio Academy Awards Gold Sony, a Gold, Silver, and Bronze World Medals in the New York Festivals International Advertising Awards. Since about 2007 he has been creating YouTube videos. Tosh has been a sponsor of the “video booth” at HashTag Business Events across the UK.
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