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

HELP! Do I need to reformat or can I just back up and then run the XP Pro. over the XP Home. The guy that built and repaired my computer moved away so I figured if I was going to have a computer I had better learn to do things myself as I can't afford a repairman all the time. I am fairly new to all this. I recently downloaded ASO and it has taken over my computer and is removing EVERYTHING!!! I tried the restore but all that did was put empty files all over my desk top. I then uninstalled it but, needless to say my computer now has issues. My operating system is Windows XP Home and I have a windows XP Professional program.

my computer will not go to the home page its saying error loading operating system what should i do?

What, exactly does the error say?

I'm not receiving an error message, jut my computer freezes up I had about 300 or more files such as: $NtUninstallKB981349$, AppPatch, Driver Cache, ime, inf, system32 OEWAABLog winnt, sessmgr.setup etc. When I opened them they say 0 bytes. I did keep any that said anything other than 0 bytes (about 60 or 70) but I deleted the others. It also will just turn itself off. You will be doing something and suddenly you have a black screen. No warning or shut down process it just goes black and is off. Programs that say they have to shut down due to errors etc. I do want to go from Windows XP Home to Windows XP Professional. Will it load over the older version or do I need to clear everything off and start from scratch. I really don't have anything I need to save. I have put all my files and pictures etc. on a disc. Nothing else important, just a few games and lots of junk.

If you try to upgrade/install in place ("load over") it may just upgrade all your problems.. The smart thing to do is nuke & load (reformat, reinstall, reload) if you still have problems immediately after doing that, then you may have hardware issues.

I had an old laptop that ran vista and to be honest it never worked well, dodgy screen which I just got fixed and now I'm trying to put XP on it. But it says no hard drives connected and I thought there was a hard drive problem, got a new one and said the same thing while trying to do the XP setup, any help would be great?

I have several viruses on my computer and need to reformat it. I have a reboot cd but it is an earlier version of windows than I have now. When it gets to the part where it tells me to delete the old partition it just says there is no disc and wont let me delete or create anything. It just errors out and tells me that my system has been shut down and that I need to restart in safe mode.

I have a question i want to know if i should reformat my computer, ill start at the begainning, a few weeks ago we had a bad storm and lost power well my computer crashed so i had my father in law come over and reformat it for me, then about a week later i got a really bad virse, havnt had good luck with my computer so he came over and got rid of the virse now i have a error that comes up everything i start the computer that says, Error loading, C:/windows/wid3ds.dll The specified module could not be found. my computer will run fine for a little bit then it locks up or slows down to the point i cant even do anything on it, just wondering what i can do to fix this, or would it be easier to reformat considering i really have nothing on my computer since i just did it a few weeks ago, what should i do?

The blue screen keeps on appearing on my laptop. I tried to fixed but when it's already fixed, another error showed. Should I reformat my laptop? Or there still another solution for my problem? Thanks in advance!

MY hd is almost full. I want to save the complete hd to my ext drive, then reformat my hd to start off clean. then I can reinstall the desired data to my int hd. Is the way to go or is tere an easier way.

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