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.

Comments

Are the recovery discs the same as a back-up. I installed windows 7 to replace the XP. I DO NOT like windows 7 from the moment we switched. I did do the recovery discs ( 7 in total) from the XP. Will they help me get back to my XP?

Hello, I have an older pc that my 9 year old uses just to play on. It's a pentium 3 (I know.....ancient) and the problem was that it was really running alot slower than it used to, even after uninstalling unecessary programs and defragging. Many moons ago I was able to format the hard drive and reinstall windows, but I'm afraid having the luxery of recovery discs on new pc's and laptops have contributed to my forgetting how I did it in the past. I very foolishly just installed Windows XP on the pc with windows ME still on it. You can imagine how horribly slow it runs now. So I really need some help with formatting, it's driving me absolutely batty! The simpler the explanation the better!! Thanks so much!

My Acer TravelMate 2450 keeps giving me the "blue screen of death". Help! Everytime I startup, it loops back to the blue screen. I can't even get to my desktop. What shud I do, any help wud be appreciated. Shud I reformat and try my Hubby's Windows Vista on it. I had Windows XP. Thank you

I DO NOT BELIEVE IT! I JUST TYPED ... A LONG MSG... AND THIS THING JUST DELETED IT .... JUST AS MY WXP VANISHED... I THINK TO END UP IN SOME ARCHIVE BUNDLES... DONT HAVE THE STRENGTH AGAIN.. TO TYPE IT ALL. SUFFERING W/ MOZ. Firefox NOW... CANT DO MORE THAN 2 THINGS... AND CRASH.

I have gotten a ton of virus's on my computer and my computer made my computer moniter flip so everything is upside down and Firefox crash's and i cant download anything. can anyone help me please because i really cant do this on my own

Have you read thru everything here about reformatting? It's not that tough, but also not for the faint of heart. If you still aren't comfortable it is probably worth spending $75 or so at Geeksquad or the local mom and pop computer repair place..

I want to format Windows XP, and need to add a new version in my laptop. so please help me, How To format My Windows XP Computer.

hi, all...i did format my pc a few week ago because it was freezing up, every time i turned on. i had spy-ware.. i tried to remove it first with malwarebytes but nothing...so i decided to format the drive...but when i inserted the windows CD to re-install windows still would freeze when it was installing windows so i tried like 3 times and finally installed everything but I'm still having the same problems (freezing up) even though i formatted everything..what do u think could be causing this? i need help please...thank you very much in advance. Carlos,

assuming the PC is "clean" which it probably is if you properly did the re-format, then you may be having hardware issues - could be heat, bad RAM, motherboard issues, or any of abazillion other things. Unplug any external hardware that you have connected and see if that helps. if it doesnt, Google around for a good (or free) hardware diagnostics program and see if it can find any problems.

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