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.



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.

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

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.

I have a windows 7 computer I need somebody to teach me how to do it. I 'll just follow the instructions

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?

Will reformatting and installing a new operating system solve a, "DEVOBJ.DLL MISSING" issue?

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.

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!

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.

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!!


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