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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Rowe (not verified)
windows ERROR CODE C0190003

I have windows 7 on my laptop, and everytime I go to install the new updates, then restart my pc, a message appears saying configuring windows updates, and it gets to about 35% complete, then says reverting changes. Can anyone help me out with this? Also there was a FATAL ERROR CODE C0190003. It will not complete the install of the updates. I have had to let the PC restore itself to a earlier point in order for it to run half way decent several times. Any help would be appreciated because I would hate to have to reformat it.

Last question, If I did have to format it, should I go buy a external USB HARD DRIVE in order to keep all my photo's, files, ETC? Thank you for any info you may be able to provide in advance.

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Hubby
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ERROR CODE C0190003

It seems this FATAL ERROR CODE C0190003 is quite common on Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (i guess it's a 'feature'?) .. I have read about the error dozens of times on other websites. A few have been able to resolve it by jumping through a varity of (complicated) hoops, but, for most, wiping the computer clean (reformating) and starting over is the only way to fix it.

As for your photos, files, etc - if you care about those things at all, you should have bought a backup drive/online backup/thumbdrive(Drunk LONG AGO!! so to answer your question, YES!! Backup your stuff NOW, regardless of if you need to format your computer - ALWAYS have your data in at least two different physical locations at any time if you care about it!

anantha (not verified)
Re: How to formate the computer and reinstall
Sir, my pc is upto windows logo appears on desktop afterwords it is hanging, so i want formate computer and reinstall
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Well, im formating it off my dads cd. i hope it finishes before he gets home :\
cajunguy32 (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat a desk top
How do I reformat my desk top computer with out a windows CD where do I go to reformat it I have all the windows installed ID NUMBERS and CD numbers
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Hubby
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Re: How To Reformat a desk top

those numbers wont do you much good if you dont have the CD's to re install Windows with..

ccna exam (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
totally agree Reformat on Your Computer Should Be A Last Resort because you have almost all you life's work and hard work in it and formatting will make you to do double work. very nice points for saving from the process of reformat. nice informative post.keep posting such information. thank you
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
how to finish setiig up xp windows it stop when need to push the "l" button to format it doesnot the load -defaulf files
kel (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
I selected custom installation but the system cannot detect any drives to partition. what should i do?? please help! thanks!
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
mga potang ina nio
aderemi (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
i want to learn how to format a laptop
aderemi (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
hello, i dont know how to format a laptop and desire doing it on my own, i will like you to tell me how to go about it and others so i wont damage my system thanks
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Hubby
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How To Reformat Your laptop

1) read the page, above
2) the easiest way to format your laptop is to find the recover disk that came with the laptop, put it in, reboot the laptop so that it loads up on that recovery disk. Read the screen and follow the directions.

naresh (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
when i try to format my computer , it is going on and it shows a blue screen and a message are displayed below check to be sure have adequate disk space , if a driver is identified in the stop message disable the driver or check with the manufacture for the driver updates , try changing video adapter . check with your hardware vendor for any bios update disable bios memory option such as caching or shading . if you need to use safe mode for remove or disable components , my previous operating system is windows7 , new i wanted to put windows xp sp3 , can any one suggest me to solve my problem
amar (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
what is the command to format from ms dos?
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Hubby
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Re: How To Reformat using Format command

FORMAT drive: [/V[:label]] [/Q] [/T:tracks /N:sectors] [/B | /S] [/C]

You cannot do it "from" the drive you are attempting to format..
"Format D:" would do the job (if you want to format your D: drive).
"Format C: /S" would make C: bootable (if it is your drive 0 )

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To re install Windows
How do I get rid of the old xp version on the computer? I put the reload disc in and restart the computer and click boot from cd and go through the steps but it still has the old version on it.
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Hubby
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Reinstall Windows

You need to choose the option that says something to the effect of "reinstall windows clean". The option you are choosing is "installing in place" or, installing "on top of" your current version. the exact wording will vary, but the one you want is the one that gives you all the warnings about everything on your computer getting deleted (which it will, back up anything you care about!!) .. It should be obvious when reading the different options.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
hello i have a problem when i try to format my computer in trying to doe this for ages whenever i used my recovery program to formate my laptop it restarts and im supose to press alt+f10 to go there i doe that then it says loading files but then i get error whit something like operating system setup could you help me out please
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Hubby
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Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

Please post the version of Windows and the exact text of the error message.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
My old computer acted up recently, It had XP Home factory installed, I had it repaired for $95.00 and when I got it back most of my Docs, pics, music were gone and I had XP Professional installed, now it has begun to act up again, blue screen, black screen with dos, and just plain freezing. if I buy a new computer can I install the HD from the old computer in the new Computer and Format it? Then put it back in the old computer and install XP ? I have an XP home installation disc that I bought some time back, if I can format the HD using this method, will I be able to install XP home ? Has anyone tried this ? any help would be appreicated ..DR
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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

if the new computer that you buy has the same type of internal HD interface as the old pc, then yes, you could format it, but you could not format it is as the drive0 boot drive - it may be possible but certainly not easy or automatic.
I'm not clear on why you would want to do this anyway - why not just boot up on your XP CD, boot up on it, and reformat/install Windows that way? the easy way?

Don Rogerson (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Hi Hubby Thanks for the quick reply ... this Computer wont let me boot using the XP CD .. I place CD in Drive, shut down, start up and it installs the various Windows components, then gives a choice of Start Windows XP .. go to repair consule or ESC. when I choose and hit enter or "R" it goes to "Place System CD in drive and hit enter" this starts the sequence all over again.. ESC leads to another page that says Windows will start in 20 seconds, but then takes me back to "Place CD in drive ..." .. I understand from reading on the internet that to Format the HD, I must Boot from the XP disc. ... When you talk of HD interface, do you mean the same electrical connections as the old one or are you refering to other things such as voltages? Don R
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Hubby
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Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

I'm referring to the hard drive interface/type of connection SATA, etc.

Don Rogerson (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
Hi I've ordered a New Computer, and I will try to format my old HD on it .. I suspect there will be a "VOID IF OPENED" sticker on the case, but will go ahead anyway .. thanks for your time & trouble Bye for now Don R
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Hubby
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Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

yay for a new computer! Don't worry about the 'void' sticker. Most desktop computers (all?) are designed so that things like the HD are user-replaceable.. I doubt that you will see such a sticker.

ravi1991 (not verified)
Can partition of hard disks be created with recovery cd?
I have a HP pavillion notebook. I want to format it due to some problems. I have a recovery cd that i got while purchasing it. I would like to know if the partition is possible with recovery cd. Also provide me with the instructions to reformat using recovery disk.
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Hubby
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I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: Can partition of hard disks be created with recovery cd?

Generally just put the recovery CD in the drive, boot up on it and follow the on-screen prompts. I dont understand your question about the partition.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: Can partition of hard disks be created with recovery cd?
By partition of disks i mean to divide the hard disks.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
i want to reformat my pc. but i can't stop my pc to boot even if i hit delete. it just go on with it's normal booting procedure. How can i start reformatting my pc. It has a lot of virus and programs are not working anymore. and i want to get rid of the viruses but i don't know how to start.

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