Thanks for the feedback greenman.
For ATT phones turns out that you need to do this:
*With phone powered off hold the phone horizontally and with both thumbs hold the volume up AND down buttons, keep holding these while pressing and holding on the the power button until the Andriod logo shows up. Then let go and the Andriod recovery screen shows up. Follow the procedure to wipe the data then the cache and reboot the phone.
*Now as far as reloading data/settings going from GB to ICS, here's what worked for me:
***KIES restore sucks, didn't work no matter what i did. Even after doing a wipe...
***Having setup google sync to backup all my stuff prior to installing the OS saved the day.
***When the phone boots the first time from a wipe or firmware update, simply setup youre google account first. This will restore most things way more then KIES restore did.
***Now all is needed is to reconfigure the home screen and redo some app settings.
For me this is more then enough, I'm sure there are other ways. Possibly if I use a combination of google sync and then use KIES to restore only certain things, may further bring a phone back to normal but don't have time to play.
Hope this helps someone,
PS. Unless you got 4G and unlimited data plan, make sure you also setup wifi connection when prompted in the begining while setting up the google account. As once the phone is done with the initial setup you will get a bunch of installation coming in.