How To Reformat Your Windows Computer


Reformatting Your Windows Computer Should Be A Last Resort!

Reformatting your Windows computer is usually the absolute last resort and might even be unnecessary. Before you go through the process of completely reformatting your hard drive please take a few moments to read through the rest of our website. If you are reformatting to fix problems with your Windows computer it's possible that by using some of the tips on our site, or by downloading or purchasing some of the tools or products that we link to, you might be able to avoid the need to reformat your computer. Because doing a complete reformat of your computer will erase the contents of the hard drive and require you to reinstall all software, reformatting is usually a last resort.

Some Computer Manufacturers Make Reformatting Easier Than Others

Many name-brand PC manufacturers include a restore-disk which makes it easy to reformat your PC and return it to the state it was in on the day you purchased it. Some manufactures supply only a standard Microsoft Windows CD, and some (usually lower-end PC manufacturers) supply nothing! If your computer did not come with a restore disk or reformatting CD, then you will need to take extra steps to format your hard drive and get Windows re-installed.

Back Up Your Files Before You Reformat!

Because the reformat or restore process erases everything on your computer, it is critical to have a backup of any important files on your computer. You will also need your original software install disks, install keys, etc to reinstall any software you have purchased.

 

Things to do before you reformat your computer:

  • Write down or print out all notes and internet pages because once the format process begins, you will no longer have access to them (or anything else in the PC)
  • As already stated, BACKUP all important files and data! When you reformat your computer everything will be erased!  You do not need to backup your software, because you should have those CD's or you can usually re-download it.  The important things are photos, music, documents, checkbook files, etc
  • Make sure you have all the CDs and other software. All programs will have to be reinstalled after you format the hard drive. Don't forget about software that came with hardware such as printers, scanners, etc.
  • Write down the brand and information for all the hardware on your computer. Look in the Device Manager and make note of the brand and model of network adaptors, video cards, sound cards, printers, modems, and displays. After reformatting you might need this information to reinstall drivers.

 

How To Reformat Your Windows XP PC

How to Reformat Windows Vista

How to Reformat Windows 7

How to Reformat and clean-install Windows 8

  • Step by step instructions to clean-install (format your hard drive and reinstall) Windows 8: How to format Windows 8

 

If you aren't sure if you need to resort to reformatting and need help deciding what to do, please leave a comment below.

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Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
(YES this comment points to Reformatting my computer please read on) I had a browser hijacker 11 months ago, gave me the blue screen and I tried to fix my laptop but nothing worked at all so I left it alone for 9 months and now I've started using this particular laptop again and removed the virus that's been browser hijacking me (default-search.net, by aztec media) and I followed new, specific instructions how to remove that hijacker and now it's pretty much gone, but my laptop's been so slow lately, hanging and forcing me to restart it every 30 minutes, should I really reformat my computer at this state?
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
I have a Rootkit Virus, possibly in Windows. It says that the process is a Windows Process. Should my computer be re-formatted? I have Malwarebytes, Windows Firewall, and Ccleaner, and all of them say " No malicious Files Found" but Malwarebytes, keeps popping up that it's blocking sites, and IP's that I have never heard of; and the computer is really slow. I have tried installing Kasper Rootkit Removal tools, and Malwarebytes Rootkit Removal tool, and neither of them are working. Kasper, downloaded, but didn't catch the Rootkit, and Malwarebytes won't instal at all. Thanks for listening, any help is appreciated.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Some rootkits arent affected by a reformat, but you can try it. be sure to back up everything you care about and then re run the scan when you're done.
kalpeters (not verified)
i have tryied formatting my laptop,and it does not show
i have tryied to format my laptop, when i put the window7 cd into the drive it does not show anything ,when it's time to select the drive to format it does not show. please help me out
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Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: i have tryied formatting my laptop,and it does not show

Try to boot-up onto the Windows 7 CD, then run it and see if that works.

dinesh (not verified)
Re: Do I have to format to my Windows 7 Computer

My Vaio laptop has been very sluggish for many months now.
Applications and files take forever to open.
Even at 'shut down time', the screen keeps displaying "Shutting down" for 10 - 30 minutes. many a times I have had to force shut the system out of frustration.

As you say, reformatting should be last resort?
I also use Windows Live mail, data of which has to be kept safe at all cost.
Do I have any other options? Please help.

Thnx

photo of member named
Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: Do I have to format to my Windows 7 Computer

yes, there are other options - you can try to manually clean it out.
Uninstall every piece of software that you dont need
Remove all programs that run at startup that you dont need running at startup
Get an antimalware program like MalwareBytes and scan for malware.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
My Toshiba satellite laptop keeps telling me that its got no RAM left and also all our other memory has been used up even though we've never been close to filling it. Would a reformat sort this out as we've done clean ups, scans and countless defrags to try and solve it? This is doing my head in!!
AnonyMan (not verified)
Reformatting to get more disk space

Reformatting to recover disk space is like painting your car to clean it when it's dirty.

While formatting would solve this issue, it would be much MUCH simpler to look/find/see where your hard drive space is being used, and free it up - it should not be complicated. Uninstall software you don't need. Delete temp files, delete "stuff" you don't need like music, photos and videos. If you're still low, find a program that will graphically display how your storage is being used.

also, keep in mind that scans and defrags will do absolutely nothing to free up disk space.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Hello and thank you for the info! My hp desktop is about 8 years old and has tons of photos and files I'd like to save. I had it reformatted by a computer tech about 5 years ago and it was full of viruses, but he removed and reinstalled all my programs for me while backing up content. I had the Microsoft Essentials antivirus system since then, but as you know they stopped providing support for XP earlier this year. I really haven't used my computer much since then and disconnected all wireless internet connections to it. I do have a hard drive to back up to, but I'm trying to figure out a way to do this without transferring viruses to a new computer. My new computer does have Norton, but should I invest in installing Norton Antivirus to the old one before doing this? If so what kind would you recommend? Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!
photo of member named
Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

First, unless you have a serious NEED to use Windows, I would consider a Apple/Mac computer. With a Mac, you never have to worry about all those Windows viruses, and dont need to use antivirus software! But, what's done is done..
If you connect your backup drive you should be able to safely "drag and drop" your documents, photos, etc, to the drive without infecting it.. If you have a virus that wants to infect your external drives, it's probably already infected.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Will reformatting and installing a new operating system solve a, "DEVOBJ.DLL MISSING" issue?
Window Cleaning Man (not verified)
DEVOBJ.DLL MISSING
There are less drastic (but more complicated) ways to fix it, but yes, reformatting would most likely take care of that error as long as you dont just re-do whatever caused the error in the first place.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
o.k. here's one.... I have reformatted dozens of times.. I got a nasty virus that says its opening google crome like 10 times and no matter how fast I delete, they come back. Trying to reformat, I swipe left, goto settings, then change pc settings to open the reformat option, but when I hit that, up comes white screen for about 10 seconds with the cursor saying its doing something, and then it just reverts back to the desktop. losing my mind.... any help out there?
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
I have a windows 7 computer I need somebody to teach me how to do it. I 'll just follow the instructions
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Windows 8
so I am at the point where I need to reformat and I am not a complete newbie but I purchased Windows 8 and downloaded it so I would I go about trying to reinstall it, I can't download it until I have an internet connection, how would do that so that I could download Win 8
photo of member named
Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How To Reformat Windows 8

I guess i'm not understanding the problem... you said "I purchased Windows 8 and downloaded it"..
Then you said "I can't download it until I have an internet connection".
So.. did you download it or not?

Generally, you will have to download it from a computer with an internet connection (or buy discs).. You may then have to "burn" that download into a bootable CD, then boot up from that CD.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

Hi,

The administrator password I am using is not working and it says bad password or username every time i try to log in. I really dont know waht happen. I cant reset the password because it needs the admin password for me to reset it. Is there any other way I can reset/recover the password?or I really have to do reformat?thank you.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Hello, For a while now my laptop has been acting up. Every time I log onto the internet, whether on explorer or chrome, I have ads that pop up on the screen. It has gotten to the point were I connot go onto any web page. Is reformatting my computer a good idea? With reformatting it will get rid of everything, including my whole iTunes library correct. Do I have to save it all somewhere or will it redownload from my iPad? I am so confused and help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
photo of member named
Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

Formatting is usually the last, nuclear, resort, but that would fix the problem. The problem may also be fixable in much easier ways..
If you did format it, yes, EVERYTHING would be gone so you would have to backup everything somewhere, then restore it... If you don't know what you are doing, this can be a big job, and you risk losing important stuff (documents, pictures, music, etc) if you screw something up.. It MIGHT be worth considering professional help... Do you try to fix the transmission on your car when it's acting funny? Same thing, kinda..

july rain (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
hi. Just recently my dell laptop started having some problems. It keeps on restarting/stop error with this message "check to make sure any new hardware or software is properly installed. If this is a new installation, ask your manufacturer for any updates you may nef. If problem continues, disable or remove any newly installed hardware or software. Disable BIOS MEMORY options such as caching or shadowing." Ive done the part where i uninstalled programs i recently installed like anti viruses, games etc but it keeps on restarting with the same message! And i dont know how to disable BIOS memory options. Please help. Im not that techie regarding computers haha. Smile but im good at following instructions so Ill get by. Hehehe. Please help!
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Hi there, I am looking to reformat my laptop and install Win 7 on it since I have one with Win 8. I am not fond of the new OS and therefore I want to reformat it so that I can install Win 7 on it. Could you please give me some guidelines as to how I can go about this business. Thank you very much!
Perez Wilson (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Before you do anything you will have to make sure that Windows 7 drivers are available for every bit of hardware on the laptop. Then be sure you back up everything you care about (photos, music, files, etc) - you do not need to backup the software since you will have to reinstall all of your programs from their original sources. After that it's usually just a matter of sticking your Windows 7 CD/DVD and booting up from it, reading, and following the directions.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

Hey guys,

For a long time now, every time I go on the Internet, no matter with which browser (Chrome, Explorer, ...) it always lags and freezes. Everything I do offline is completely perfect, everything works fine. But the second I click to navigate on Internet, then it stops working fine.

I tried installing new antivurises and antimalware softwares but nothing changed. Should I reformat?

Thanks a lot!

photo of member named
Hubby
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

I would connect another computer to your internet to see if it's a problem with your internet service provider/connection. If the other computer gets online normally then formatting the computer might be a good place to start.

myra (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
I have window xp pro version 2009 pck 3 cpu intel (R) pentium 4 240GHz speed 239 GHz 512 Ram.. can you help me how to fix it from restarting itself. Its turning off again and again in 3 to 5 minutes. I have no idea why it is happened.. please help, thanks
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Windows
Hello, I had a similar issue after installing anti-virus software. Unfortunately I dont' recall if it was McAfee or Norton - one of those. When I uninstalled it and got other anti-virus software (eset) this stopped happening.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Format Windows

Hi,

I've downloaded a computer game online. After that it erases some of my common files eg microsoft software, google chrome, anti viruses. I suspect my computer could be infected by virus. So security purposes should I re format my computer? Thanks

Leanord Skinard (not verified)
Re: Format Windows
If that stuff was erased by a virus, then yes reformat it!
HeckyPecky (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

Hi Guys,

Every time I run an application my computer freezes. It seems that it's having a hard time loading them up. This also happens when my internet browser is loading up a page, where the mouse pointer changes to a loading icon for a minutes. This issue just started few days ago. One good example is when I try to run a gaming platform called Battle.net, it's taking forever trying to load, it would then freeze other functions, and will eventually fail to load the app. As of writing, the VLC player keeps on freezing, which results to gray screen.. it looks like it's reading or loading something..and the mouse pointer changes to loading icon.

I have tried check disc and full scanned the system with Defender, and now will be scanning for potential viruses with McAfee.

Is there anything else that I should try before I result to reformat? By the way, this also happens on any Windows app or by just opening a folder.

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