How To Reformat Your Windows Computer

Formatting Your PC Should Be A Last Resort!

Reformatting your Windows computer is usually the absolute last resort when trying to resolve problems 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 thinking of formatting 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 format 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.


that's going to be tough. if your computer is new enough to boot from a USB CD drive, you could try that.

im afraid to reformat my PC cause they say my internet connection will be gone.
and some say i must instal network connection after formatting.
how can i install network connections?
do i need a cd for that?

You will need your Windows CD to reformat and then re-install Windows. Usually when doing the Windows re-install your network adapter card will be detected and configured.

hi.. our computer is running really really slow... i dont know what is the pro with this, sometimes it freezes, and turn off by itself.. i want to reformat this but i dnt have the CD. can i find it hir? i mean a software to reformat?? tnnnx

You will need your original Windows CD or the "recovery" CD from the manufacturer of your computer to reformat and reinstall Windows.

after reformatting your windows xp. does it still have virus in the computer??? help please i need to know

Reformatting your computer will disinfect most common viruses.

I have a Dell computer that runs windows XP. I believe it was infected by a virus. It will not start up. It will not allow me to login and once I enter the passcode, it begins to restart itself. It does this over and over. I think I need to reformat the hard drive. What do you recommend? If I do need to do this, I need step by step instruction on how to do this.

I'm looking for help to reformat Windows 2000. I know this forum is for XP, but I cant find help for 2000. My problem is that I want to get rid of 2000 in favor of XP but I can't seem to get my daughters pc to boot from cd. I went into cmos and changed the boot order, all looked like it should but it doesn't. It just goes right to windows 2000 when I restart. This is most frustrating as I've been trying for a while now and am ready to give up but then I would have a disappointed little girl.

If you are certain the CMOS is set to boot to your CDROM first, are you certain that your Windows XP CD is a full/bootable CD ?


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