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.


If that stuff was erased by a virus, then yes reformat it!

I have window xp pro version 2009 pck 3 cpu intel (R) pentium 4 240GHz speed 239 GHz 512 Ram.. can u 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

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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. :) but im good at following instructions so Ill get by. Hehehe. Please help!

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!

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..


Add new comment