From time to time there you might find the need to reformat your computer. Some of the reasons that folks reformat can be anything from having a virus issue, just wanting to wipe the files clean for a fresh start or upgrading to a new Operating System. Regardless of the reason, doing a reformat really isn't that hard and anyone can do it. So let me show you in a step by step tutorial. Because I'm a very visual person I included photographs as I went along reformatting my son's laptop. Now the pictures have been sized down here for room but you can click on any photograph and see it in full size.
Let me start off by saying that this is not a recovery of what you previously had, as in going back to a previous date. If you want to do that then you need to look on your computer to see if you have a recovery partition and follow those instructions. This is for a Clean Install! FYI, this could take up to and around 2 hours so be prepared to spend some time doing this.
You need to make sure you have the disk for the operating system you are installing or re-installing. Do yourself a HUGE favor and don't pirate the operating system. If you get caught with a pirated operating system your computer may get locked up (as far as the operating system) in a future update, and will be worthless until you purchase a new legal key, its just not worth it.
Start off one step ahead and pre-download your drivers to a external or a Flash Drive. Each computer and each brand has their own specific drivers, so plan ahead. How do you find your drivers? Make google your friend and google away. If at all possible try and download the drivers from your computer brands' website.
OK, now you need to get out your disk for the operating system you would like to install and have it handy:
You need to start your computer in what they call "Bios" so that you can change the order that your computer starts up. See, once you turn on the computer with the windows CD in it you want it to start from that to start the installation however if it does not start from the CD/DVD Rom then it wont so you need to check the order your computer boots too.
To start in Bios you need to rapidly tap the "F10" key when you turn on the power button
That is what "Bios" looks like upon starting up in it. Now at the very top you will see you are in the "Main" tab. With the use of your arrows and go to the "Systems Configuration" (squared in hot pink in the photos)
This is what "Systems Configuration" will look like. Now you want to use the arrows to scroll down to "Boot Options"
Now click on "Boot Order". Once in "Boot Order" make sure that the top one is "CD/DVD ROM Drive"
at this point you want to make sure you hit the save and exit (on my computer that was F10 again). Before you shut your computer down you want to make sure your windows operating system CD is in the drive.
Now re-start your computer like normal. Once you restart it you should see a black screen that ask you "Do you want to boot from CD ROM Drive?" Hit "YES", you will then see a bar at the bottom saying "Loading Files", this may take a few minutes so be patient. You may also see that once the files are loaded that the screen is just blank for a while, that's ok again be patient. After it's all done it will start the install:
Next step, it will ask you to enter your Windows Product Key to activate it. If you don't do this now you have I believe, 30 days to do so before they lock it up on ya.
Once you enter the product key then you will be asked where you would like Windows installed:
You may then be told that it wants to create a file called "windows.old", here is the thing, with "windows.old" once your computer is back up and running and you make sure all of the items are correctly installed then you might want to back that file up to an external drive and delete it. The reason I say that is because that file will be HUGE and take up a lot of room on your hard drive.
After you click OK then it will start the install process. During the install your computer might power on and off a few times this is perfectly normal, just leave it alone and let it run. This next set can take some time so don't think twice if it takes a hour or so.
Once this finally is finished and windows starts back up you might find little things not working correctly. Generally they tend to be the audio and the wireless. Remember back in the beginning I said you need to download the drivers for your brand computer? Well this is where they come in. Now you need to install those drivers so that everything is back up and running. See, windows comes with some generic drivers that may or may not work with your computer but either way if you downloaded your drivers you are good to go.
From start to finish reformatting a computer should take around 2 hours (that includes downloading drivers). Remember to have patience, and yes, cussing at the computer may make you feel better at times, just don't toss it because you will later regret that one.
Remember all of the images have been re-sized down - you can click on each image above and re-size them back to normal.