This is an unofficial guid to formatting-reinstalling Windows. There are many reasons to format your hard drive and reinstall Windows. Below are my common reasons for doing it:
- Annually to keep my system running smoothly.
- If I think I have a virus, I treat my system as if it is all compromised (I am a bit drastic). I do not even back up my files and will wipe my drive immediately.
A friend called me up and asked me to help him with his laptop. When ever you would try to boot it up, it would only go to a Windows boot menu and would not boot up all the way.
The image above is as far as the laptop boot to. You have two options at this point. Put in your Windows disk and try to repair or reinstall Windows. I do not waste my time trying to repair Windows. You can, but I have never had any luck with it. I just format and reinstall which I am going to show you how to do now. Please forgive the photo quality. It is impossible to do screen shots at this point, so I had to rely on my iPhone. It is good enough to get the point across.
- Make sure you have backed up your files if you can.
- Put your Windows disk into your CD drive.
- Turn off your computer.
- Turn your computer back on, then watch for the initial boot screen as shown below.
You have to be fast at this screen. Look for “Boot Options” and press the appropriate key. You may have to stop and restart your computer a couple of times and that is okay. Some computers may vary. For this example we have to press F12. Other computers you may have to press F8.
5. After pressing F12 you will see the following screen.
6. Press the down arrow on your keyboard to highlight CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive, then press Enter.
7. Press any key on your keyboard to continue. This will boot your computer from your Windows disk instead of the hard drive.
If you see this screen then you are home free.
8. For English make sure your screen looks like this and click -> Next.
10. Click -> Install Now.
11. Wait for setup to start.
12. Read and accept the license terms, then click -> Next.
13. Click -> Custom (advanced).
14. At this screen click -> Drive options (advanced).
15. Here highlight the top partition, then click -> Delete until one partition remains.
16. When you have one partition remaining, click -> Next.
17. Now wait for Windows to format your hard drive and install itself. This could take a while.
18. Type in your first name here, or the name for the computer such as Home. Your preference, then click -> Next.
19. Type in a password if you want a password for your system. This password will need to be entered every time you start up your computer. You do not have to enter one if you do not want one, then click -> Next.
20. At this screen enter your pass key. This can be found inside the hard case that the CD came in. If you purchased a computer from Dell and using the disk that came with your computer your pass key will be on a sticker on the bottom of your laptop or computer case. Next check the Automatically Activate Windows When I Am Done box, then click -> Next.
21. Click -> Install Important Updates Only if you want to choose your updates in the future. Click -> Recommended Settings if you want Windows to update automatically.
22. Ensure the right time zone for your are is selected, then click -> Next.
23. This screen shows up if you are using just your wireless internet connection. If you have it plugged into your modem or router then it will not show this. If you are just using your wireless connection you will need to highlight your wifi signal, then it will ask for your wifi password if you have it secured. Once that is done click -> Next.
That is all there is to it my friends. Windows will finish up on it’s own. If you are connected to the internet it will even activate itself. If you are not connected to the internet you can activate it manually when you do get connected. The first thing you should do next is do a Windows Update, then install any drivers that you need for your system components.