This page is for anyone who has decided to wipe out their hard drive, and start over. There are a ton of things to consider when deciding if you should do this. THIS page, however will simply cover the considerations and procedure you will need to use in order to reformat your hard drive and reload your copy of Windows.
If you are not sure that you wish to do this, I urge you to visit my “What should I do?” page to help you make an informed decision.
The things that you need to consider before wiping out your system are listed below:
You will lose anything that you do not make a copy of. To learn how to back up your computer, go to the Backup Center.
You will have to reload all the software that you have added to your computer since you got it. If you do not have the discs for all this software, consider doing a repair of Windows first. The repair will leave everything in place and try to fix Windows. If it does not work, you can wipe and reload then. The repair option is discussed on the “What should I do?” page. This repair option is not available for Vista users.
If your computer does not have a recovery partition, you will have to have a CD ROM or DVD on the computer that works and a Windows disc with the proper version of Windows on it. This disc need not be the one that came with your computer, but it must be the same version of Windows that is installed on your machine. You will need the code from your computer’s Windows sticker in order to use the disc. You cannot use ax XP Home code with an XP Professional disc, nor vice versa.
If your computer has a recovery partition, you may be able to restore it to just as it came from the factory. HP’s , Dell’s, and some other brands have these partitions. Search the internet for how to access the recovery partition of your computer to learn how to do this.
After loading windows, you must install all the drivers, and fully update Windows through Windows Update to patch all the security holes. Do not skip this part.
You will need to install Adobe reader, java, flash, media players, DVD/CD burning software, antivirus and anti malware software. All of this is necessary for your computer to function as it should in daily use.
You will need to re-install your peripherals, such as printers, web cams, ect. This means you will need their drivers also.