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How to reformat a laptop

Updated on July 16, 2011

For a few days you noticed that your laptop often hang on while you working, and run slow. But may be it didn’t happen when you just bought it. Isn’t it a matter of worry? Just think about a vehicle, day by day it losses its capability unless it is proper maintained. You can see performance of a maintained old vehicle and unmaintained vehicle, there must be some difference in between them. Like this your laptop needs maintenance. May be your system files are affected by virus, or harmful spyware or malware, or your operating system registry is somehow affected. In this case you need to reformat your laptop.

Reformat setting up you operating system newly, and then you laptop as faster as before. But reformat may be deleted all your files in your hard drive. So before reformat you must save all your necessary data in a CD or DVD or a pen drive or an external hard disk.

Methods of formatting laptop

There are a variety of methods you can reformat you laptop. Mainly you can reformat using operating system recovery CD or DVD or without recovery CD or DVD. However both give you same result.

Reformatting procedure may vary from laptop to laptop but all hold same basic idea. Since I do not know which brand laptop you have been using here I mentioned instructions for dell laptops installing windows operating system.


1. After saving all your necessary data, insert recovery CD or DVD into your driver.

2. Reboot your laptop.

3. Now you may have to press F12 key or other key appears on screen, this is due to select the device from which you want to boot.

4. You see a license agreement window, read the license agreement and click the check box to accept.

5. Then a window showing all your drives. Now format the drive to where you want to install operating system. Here you also have option to delete any partition. You don’t want to do anything so go to the next.

6. Then your operating system will start to install.

7. At last you have to activate operating system by inserting serial no that you have got from your manufacturer. By this your laptop reformatting ends. During installation your laptop will sometime restarted, its usual don’t worry about that.

But if you don’t have recovery CD or DVD or you if you missed it don’t there are many other solutions to reformat laptop without it. Here I mentioned instructions for dell branded laptops installing windows operating system. If your laptop is not dell, just follow what I am doing here then you may have a solution. Before that I highly recommend you to save your important files into a CD or DVD or USB flash driver because here also reformatting deletes all your personal data, music, video etc.


1. At first go to your system property and write down your 25 character product key because you need this to activate windows afterwards.

2. Open ‘My Computer’ then go to ‘Local drive C’. It the drive where your windows system files has installed. Open folder titled ‘I386’ then double click on file ‘Winnt32.exe’. This will open a program that will ask you several questions if you really want reformat your operating system. At this stage don’t interrupt the system unless asking any question.

3. After sometime while reformatting completed enter product key when prompted.

Then you laptop is fully reformatted. Other laptop will do the same I think or the procedure may differ a little.

Tasks after reformat

As reformatting deleted your previous system set up, so you need to install motherboard driver, audio driver, video driver, and other software you needed. Also the most important is to install antivirus software which protects your system from virus, spyware or male ware. You can use Avira, Microsoft security essential, kaspersky, AVG or any other anti-virus program as you prefer. You can find these on line.

Problems you may face after reformatting

Sometime you may forgot to save other storage memory any file that saved in you laptop. There are many solutions to solve this problem. You can find a lots of file recovery software available online. You can download one of them and get your data back, as for example you may download ‘Data recovery wizard’, ‘file recovery’, ‘Get data back’ etc.

During format if you delete any partition it will you’ll never find it after reformatting process completed unless you do not include it with any other partition or create new partition.

After reformat you may set up your network connection, customize various application, because they lost during formatting. Further if you face anymore problems you should go to a laptop savvy.

However you may find reformatting is a lengthy tedious process, but you should keep in mind though there are many solutions to speed up your laptop without reformatting but it is the safest process. It is necessary to reformat your laptop after some interval regularly in order to run your laptop fast.


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