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How to Reformat a Laptop

If your computer has recently been attacked by a virus and you are still feeling the effects despite getting rid of it, you may want to reformat your laptop. Reformatting your laptop involves completely erasing the hard drive and it is the surest and most effective way to clean your computer. The procedure to reformat a laptop is rather simple in today’s world. The manufacturer either provides the owner with a copy of the operating system (OS) or they create a restoration partition on the hard drive. Before beginning, however, it is important that you back up all of your information on an external hard drive or CDs and DVDs or else you will lose all of it in the process.

Reformatting your Laptop with Installation CDs

Back up your hard drive. Reformatting your laptop will cause you to lose all of your information so it is recommended that you back up your hard drive on an external hard drive, CDs, or DVDs if you wish to keep it.
Determine which method of restoration is provided by the manufacturer. If you received a set of installation CDs with your machine, then use this. If you did not, your computer may have a restore partition set up, which means you will need to employ a different method.

Insert the operating system disk into your CD/DVD drive. It normally auto-runs and will open to a menu, or options page. Select the option for installing a fresh copy of the operating system.

  • If the CD doesn’t run by itself, double click on “My Computer,” and then right click on the drive with the OS disk. Click “Auto-Run.”


Wait for the CD to proceed automatically. If you are away from the computer for awhile, it will pause at the next point, awaiting any required input from you. Follow the prompts, be patient and avoid the temptation to intervene. This process may take a few minutes.[1]

  • If you are reformatting your laptop hard drive, you will accept the default offerings/settings that the installation disc is asking for.

Wait for the installation to complete. When the operating system installation is complete, a completely fresh desktop will appear.

Reformatting a Laptop Using Restoration Partition

Restart your computer. While the machine is rebooting, repeatedly press the F10 key on your keyboard until the machine boots. This will take you into the partition offering you options for repair or restore (reformatting and reloading).
Select the option for installing a fresh system. The beauty of this system is that you don’t have to do anything else. The restore partition will completely run the program to format, reload the OS, install drivers and install all of the original software that came with your laptop.

Wait for the reformat to complete. This process will usually take around 30 minutes to complete.

Community Q&A


How to format my laptop if I have forgotten my log in password?

Community Answer
If your laptop is running Windows 8 or higher, on boot, press and hold the F9 key on your keyboard. Eventually you’ll enter Advanced Options, and then you can choose to reformat.
I want to backup my laptop before reformatting. Can I do an internal backup or does it have to be external?
Community Answer
It must be external as the system reserved partition is read only after the OS writes to it. Also the system reserved partition is normally clear of a letter path (for example C:


How do I fix a black screened laptop?

Community Answer
If it’s the physical screen, see if your manufacturer can source a new one or send it for repairs. If it’s a boot error, you should probably reinstall Windows.
What are some steps I can take to delete a stubborn program on my laptop?
Community Answer
Go to Control Panel > Programs > Uninstall. Click on Uninstall and follow the directions. Make sure you can reinstall it if you want or need to, and that it won’t cause your system to become unstable.

         How do I reformat my laptop if Bootmgr is missing

           Community Answer

          You will need a Windows Vista or higher installation disc. Insert it into your PC. When the prompt to                  boot from CD is displayed, press the    specified key to do so. Then follow the on-screen                                            prompts.

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