How to reset a Roku in four steps
There's nothing like plopping on the couch after a long day, grabbing your Roku remote and turning on your TV to stream your favorite shows. Whether you're looking to binge something on Netflix or catch a game on ESPN Plus, streaming devices offer most of your favorite services in one easy-to-access setting.
Three huge tech companies – Amazon, Google and Apple – make streaming devices, but a fourth, much smaller company makes CNET's favorite. Roku's simple software, platform-agnostic approach and affordable pricing results in some of the most popular streamers on the market.
So what do you do when you reach for your remote and turn on your Roku, but the player stops responding? We've come up with a few things you can try to get your Roku back in working order.
1. Unplug your Roku for 20 seconds and then plug it back in
The easiest way to fix a wonky Roku is to give your system a general restart. There are a couple ways of doing this, but the first step we recommend is to unplug the device from its power source and wait for at least 20 seconds before plugging it back in.
Hopefully, that will be enough to get your Roku working again, but if it isn't, move on to step 2.
2. Do a system restart from the Roku menu
Roku has a system restart option built into its software to make it easy for you to refresh the system when something goes awry.
From the home screen, click on "Settings," scroll down and click on "System" and then hit "System Restart."
Some Roku devices, such as the Roku Ultra, have the "System Restart" buried under a "Power" menu. To find it from the home screen, click on "Settings," then "System." From there, scroll down and click on "Power," and then hit "System restart."
Confirm your restart and off it goes. If this solves your problems, great!Enjoy your shows. Still no luck? Keep going.
3. Factory reset
If restarting your system didn't do the trick, you can always perform a factory reset. This means that your Roku will be wiped of all its current data and will be returned to its original prepurchased state.
The downside of this technique is that you will need to set up your Roku again from scratch. Luckily, the setup process is pretty simple, so it shouldn't take too long -- though you will have to re-enter all of your passwords to your various services, which can be a pain. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
From the home screen, hit "Settings," scroll down and click on "System." Now scroll through and press "Advanced system settings." Here you will see "Factory reset." The system will then ask you to enter the code it provides in order to reset everything to the original factory settings. Once you enter the numbers and hit "OK," the reset will begin.
This should be enough to get your Roku back up and running smoothly. If it isn't, there is still one more thing you can try.
4. Hard reset
Sometimes Rokus stop responding and you can't navigate on the screen at all. Maybe you've tried everything else on this list and nothing has worked. The final stop on this merry-go-round is performing a hard reset. Like the factory reset, this will erase all of your data and return your Roku to its original settings. But unlike the step above, this can be achieved without ever turning on the Roku itself.
On the back or bottom of every Roku device is a "Reset" button. On some devices there is an actual button that you can feel, while others have a pinhole button. Those with a pinhole button will need a paperclip to stick into it in order to perform the reset.
Once you've found your button, make sure your device is powered on. Then press and hold the reset button firmly for 10 seconds. When the reset is complete, an indicator light or LED will blink rapidly on most devices to let you know it's safe to turn your Roku back on.
This should solve the problem, but if your Roku keeps acting up it might be a good idea to see if your device is still under warranty and contact Roku support. Luckily, we've been using Rokus for years and have encountered very few problems. Sometimes even the best tech reaches the end of its life, and if that's the case with your Roku, it might be time for a newer model. You can check out our list of best streaming devices for our picks and suggestions.