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

Hi There,

Our computer has basically shut itself down. All we can get is the "please insert system disk and press enter" screen. However, when we do that, nothing happens. We can press the F10, and get to the main tab, where it isn't recognizing any drives. We can change it to the hdd (hard drive), and save, but nothing happens. It runs on Vista. Is there a program that I can download from my laptop, and put on flash/disks, and try to run on my pc? Or perhaps you have another suggestion? I've checked the wires to make sure they're tight.

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Hubby
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reformat computer from USB flash drive

it sounds like you have a hard drive or (worse) hardware issues.. there are many programs that you can download to a USB drive and boot from, to perform diagnostics.. Many are free..
Depending on your level of experience and expertise, and your pain threshold, it could be time for profesional help.

lancegarcia (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
no comment
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
my husband reformated the D, completely wiped it then used the disc to reinstall the drivers and utilities (he decided this would make it quicker, i think its just old) now we have the fun of it being slower the before and also simple things like certain websites wont load, for example zynga will load but just wont play a single game or allow you to naviagate around the site, ive looked at my mcaffe firewall but doest seem to be set too high so does anyone know what it could be, i have gone through device manager and updated what we have so am now out of ideas
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Hubby
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Reformatted D drive

Generally (basically, every computer i've ever seen, thousands) have Windows on C: and other "stuff" on D: (if there is a D: ) .. so assuming this is the case, formatting D: wont fix/cure/clean much of anything..
Backup everything, gather your original software install disks, and reformat C: and reinstall windows, and the computer should be a fresh and snappy as the day you bought it..

NeedHelpp (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
My PC gives me the blue screen, now every time I turned it on, so decided to put my xp professional OS disc to reformat the hard drive, everything was ok until I was asked to click L to confirm deleting the partition, then it comes "cannot delete the partition". Any help will be appreciated
hualngo (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
When i on the power. CPU start with a sound of fan, but the screen display 'NO SIGNAL'. I remove and fix again the cable, but it display the same. How to solve this problem? please if you do not mind help. I can't reboot either, since there is no display.
imed (not verified)
opening explorer
very sre have wireless connection active some web sites could not open like face book or so how to fix that and thanks
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Re: opening explorer

I do not think formatting your computer would be the best way to go about this.
Perhaps if you created a new post/thread/topic/question with more specific details we can help you through it.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
i thought you would tell us
melogie (not verified)
Re: How To Reformat Your Windows Computer
.im having troubles with my lappy, surely because every time i turn it off it always appears the force shutdown although there's no open program leaved in it..yet im confused if what would be the best solution for this. .reformat or what? i dont know. maybe im just afraid to reformat my Lappy>:]
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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