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How to Format Your PC

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

Adesola from Nigeria writes:

Can you explain to me how to format a computer system?

This article is going to provide how to format your PC based on whether you are using Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7 using their installation CD’s.

It’s important to note that you should backup all of your data before carrying out a format. You can do this by connecting an external hard drive or just making sure all of the stuff you want to keep is stored on an internal drive that does not contain your operating system and is not going to be formatted.

It would also be a good idea to consider the drivers that your PC needs and whether these can be sourced on-line after formatting or whether you need to dig out that original CD that accompanied your PC out of the box.  You can just Google your motherboard, graphics card and sound card drivers after formatting, typically without any problems. If you are unsure how to proceed, please consult a professional! We mean this!!

Tip 1 – Windows XP

Simply insert your Windows XP bootable Installation disc and restart your machine.

A notification to press any key to boot from CD will appear.  If this option does not appear by default then you will have to check your motherboard manual on how to enable the “Boot from CD” option – it’s usually located in the BIOS.

A blue screen will then appear and will crunch through some setup files, when this is over press OK to proceed to the Windows XP setup.

Accept the Default Windows Agreement by pressing F8, you may then be prompted to repair your existing Windows XP, if there is one – we want to format so we’ll bypass this option.

Next is to choose the hard drive that you wish to format and install Windows XP. Use the arrow keys to highlight a location, press the “D” key and on the next screen press “L” to confirm your choice to delete the location (if there is only un-partitioned space on your system then this can be skipped).

You will find that the location is now described as un-partitioned, highlight this location and press C to create a new partition for the new Windows XP installation.  Leave the partition size as the maximum it will go to and hit enter. It’s best to choose NTFS “Quick” in the next option, hit enter.

The drive will now be formatted and Windows XP will be installed. The whole process may take some time and cause the system to reboot several times.  Don’t remove the CD or press any keys until the entire process has ended.

Tip 2 – Windows Vista

Insert the Windows Vista disc and reboot. The Windows Vista setup should start automatically (if it doesn’t, reboot again and hit F2 or F8 to enter your computer’s BIOS and select boot from DVD).

Select the language, time and currency; click next and then install.

Input your product key if you have one, if you don’t put one in you will install Windows Vista under a fourteen day trial.

Read and accept the License Agreement. Choose a location for the installation and choose format in that location.  Select the Drive that you’ve chosen to format again and click next.

The installation process will begin and will take some time.  Once completed, insert your personal information when prompted.

Tip 3 – Windows 7

We have to insert the Windows 7 desk and reboot.

Wait for setup to start, clicking any key when prompted.

As with Vista, simply input the language, time and currency; click install now and accept the license terms.

Click “Custom” install and then go to “Drive Options” and select the drive that you wish to format – click format.

The installation process will begin and will take some time.  Once completed, enter your personal information when prompted.

That’s all there is to it, depending on which operating system you use, you can format your PC quite easily. Good luck – and remember to consult a professional if you have any problems.

~Matthew McGuire

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2 Responses to “How to Format Your PC”

  1. LeeAnn Martin says:

    What happens when your computer wont let you get to the start menu? Keeps doing same tests which all result in P6000/EVA Array Fibre channel Hard Drive needed? If it has crashed can I use a Dell hard drive in a hp? Please help…and Thank you in advance

  2. Una Mattingley says:

    So easy, so fast, so good, so thankful for this article!!!

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