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page title icon How To Format a Laptop

| Updated on August 2, 2017

Formatting a laptop

If your laptop seems to be acting up be it an overworked system registry, a malicious virus attack, or simply just having one too many programs installed, it’s probably time to reformat your hard drives.

The need to periodically format your hard drive is critical in keeping a healthy system even if there are no noticeable causes for concern.

Similar to how you shouldn’t overwork a person, you also need to give your laptop a break once every now and then.

Even if you aren’t the savviest tech person known to man, it really isn’t that hard once you know the steps to format a laptop.

It is however critical that you follow the correct procedures in formatting your laptop as any errors in the process could lead to the loss of important files.

What does Formatting a Laptop Mean?

To format a laptop’s hard drive, you’re essentially preparing the division of the part of your hard drive used to run all basic processes such as Windows Explorer.

Once the data is deleted in this partition, you will then have to set up a new file system which will help reconfigure the operating system of your laptop.

For Windows, the format command or the disk management tool is responsible for helping reconfigure the operating system.

In order to use a format command, you will have to open up the command prompt which can be launched from the “Run” window. A shortcut for doing so is by pressing Win+R on your keyboard and then typing “cmd” or “cmd.exe” and pressing the Enter key.

If you have a laptop that is not partitioned, do not fret as you can still format a laptop’s hard drive containing a single partition.

When Should You Format a Laptop’s Hard Drive?

As mentioned above, to format your hard drive would be to erase all data from it thus leaving it blank and anew. If you are in control of the operations of your laptop, you should only format your laptop’s hard drive when you have all your important data backed up.

By doing this, you can then transfer the backed up data back onto your systems after the formatting has been completed.

Backing up data is an important step of becoming a technically savvy computer user and is strongly advised for all computer users no matter the experience level.

If you have owned your laptop for several months or more and use it on a regular basis, you may notice that the space left in your hard disk is running out.

By formatting your laptop, you help clean out all the non-essential files including temporary files that aren’t easy to find as well as corrupted files.

There are instances where formatting a laptop’s hard drive is essential such as black screens, failure for a system to boot, or laptop restarts every time you boot up where the screen gets stuck on the DOS screen.

In those instances, the only way to get your operating system back to a functional state would be to format your laptop.

Other instances that call for a need to format your laptop include having corrupted files present on your laptop. Files that are corrupted with viruses will slow down your operating system and will threaten the safety of your daily laptop usage.

Sometimes it is necessary to format your laptop to get rid of all these malicious viruses as an anti-virus software may overlook virus files that are extremely well hidden.

How to Format a Laptop

To format a laptop, you will need the following items:

  1. Your Laptop (obviously)
  2. Your Laptop’s Drivers
  3. Your Laptop’s Operating System CD for installation
  4. Any Software CDs for re-installation
  5. Your Back-Up storage external drive (e.g. external hard drive, USB, etc.)

Step 1

Ensure all your important files on your laptop are back up by way of external hard drive, USB sticks, or CDs.

Step 2

Ensure you have in possession all the relevant device drivers before commencing installation. When your purchased your laptop, it should have come with an original operating system installation CD.

If you don’t have the relevant operating system installation CD, try and find a copy of it online or in a computer shop as this is crucial in properly installing the operating system onto your laptop’s hard drive.

Step 3

Check if you have a CD burning software in your laptop as this is needed to burn the installation files for the operating system from the hidden hard drive of your laptop onto a CD for future use. If you are unsure of whether the hidden files are there, you can simply check by pressing the F8 or F10 key on your keyboard when your laptop is starting up.

Step 4

Make sure that all the important software installation files have been saved on a separate device to your laptop (e.g. external hard drive, CD, or flash drive).

Step 5

Insert the operating system installation CD into your laptop’s CD drive. It’s time to boot up your laptop. If you intend on formatting your laptop using the hidden partition, use the shortcut keys F8 or F10 when your laptop is starting up.

Follow the instructions that will appear on your laptop screen.

Step 6

A full system recovery should be done before installing the Windows operating into your laptop in order to completely reformat it.

Step 7

Recover any antivirus programs you may have had on your laptop by re-installing them by way of CD or via the antivirus’ company’s website. If you do not use an antivirus program, it is strongly advised that you do.

Adjust any firewall settings to suit your preference to help reinforce the security system on your laptop.

Step 8

Connect your backup device onto your laptop and transfer the important files back into your system. Once you’ve fully restored all backed up files, you’ve essentially successfully formated your laptop.

We hope you found this article useful and if you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.

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