How to Format a Windows Laptop

If you’ve been using the Windows operating system for some time, you must be familiar with the term “formatting”.

The simple reason is that the Windows operating system is prone to virus attack and getting slow over time compared to other operating systems Linux and Ubuntu. The reason for this is a discussion for another day.

Today and on this article, we’re going to walk you through the steps involved in formatting your laptop or personal computer that runs on Windows operating system irrespective of the version.

Let’s know what formatting is in this context.

What is Formatting in Computer?

Formatting a computer means cleaning the computer’s hard disk, floppy disk, flash drive etc of all the data to install a new operating system.

You can format a computer’s drive partition or the entire drive. This can be done using the Disk Management tool.

When Does it become necessary to Format our Computer?

The main reason for formatting computers is when they become slow. This is really common with Windows computer as they become really slow after a long time of usage.

Another common reason for formatting a laptop is when you suspect or you’re sure of virus infection in the system.

And in a few cases, after getting or buying an already used system you may have a need to load a new operating system which will get rid of all the data by the previous user.

Benefits of Formatting your Laptop

1) You get a faster system. Your system seems to return to its original processing speed as if it were new.

2) You get a virus free system.

3) You can create partitions which can take care of data loss.

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What you should have before formatting your laptop

1) Have a backup. You can create a backup of your files on your computer or with an external hard disk. This is very important because during the formatting process data is bound to be lost.

2) You need to have a Windows installation disk or drive. The WIndows installation file can come in hard disk or any physical disk.

3) You’ll also need to have the product key of the Windows to be able to use the original version of Windows.

That’s it with what should be done before the formatting system.

I’m going to highlight 4 ways of formatting your PC base on the version of the Windows you are using.

1) Formatting your Laptop with the Reset this PC option

This method works for the Windows 10 version of Windows. It’s quite simple with few steps to follow.

-Click the Start Windows button to return to your start menu if you’re not there.

-Hover your cursor to the right end and click on the gear icon with settings below.

-There you’ll see 4 options. Amongst the 4 options chose “Reset this PC”. That’s the option required to format your laptop.

-You’re presented with another 2 options “Keep my files” and “Remove everything”. The “Keep my files” option will keep your personal files but all settings and apps will be cleared.

The “Remove everything” option will clear your personal files, settings and the apps installed on the system. Click any option you want.

-If you click on “Remove everything” you’ll be given another 2 options to chose from as the formatting progresses.

The first option is the “Just remove my files” option which stores the files in the drive and users can recover it later. This is not a good option especially if you are going to part ways with the system and it’s going to be with another person.

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The second option is “Remove files and clear my drive”. If you chose this option it’s going to make the formatting longer but it sure is the best as it clears all data and files and they cannot be recovered. As you can see the second option is a more secure option than the first one.

-Lastly, confirm your option by clicking Next and the Reset button.

That’s it. Your Windows laptop formatting may take up to an hour or more, give it time and make sure your battery is well charged or your laptop is plugged to power during this process.

2) Formatting your laptop with a System Repair Disk

This method works for the Windows 7 version of the Windows. It involves the use of disk called a System Repair Disc.

Steps to follow:

-Put on your laptop and go to Control Panel > Backup and Restore > Create a system repair disc.

-Now, insert a disk into the CD ROM and click on “Create Disk” . After completion click on “Close”.

-According to the instruction on the screen, type F12 or F10, this will take you to the boot menu. Chose the CD as the boot device.

-The next step is to select your Windows in “User recovery tools that can help fix problems starting Windows”.

-Chose Next and also select the Command Prompt and copy and paste this: Format c:/fs:NTFS.

That should do the magic as your system will start formatting immediately.

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3) Format Laptop with Windows Installation USB/CD

This method works for Windows 8, 9 and 10. Quite more generic than other methods on our list.

-Put on your laptop and press Delete shortly after its screen comes up. This should take you to BIOS in your laptop. Chose “Advance BIOS Feature”. Now, you need to set the device boot to CD ROM. Tap Y on your keyboard to save and exit.

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– Put the Windows installation USB or CD into your laptop, and then go to “DOS”.

-Go to the text field and type “format C:/” in the DOS prompt and click Y to complete formatting.

When the formatting is complete, insert your own Windows system disk (CD boot). All you’ll have to do at this point is to follow simple steps to install the new Windows.

4) Formatting your  Laptop Without Windows Installation USB/CD

-Boot your computer, then press F8 or F11, this is before the Windows loads.

-You’ll see many options there click on “Next” to enter System Recovery. Chose the Destructive Recovery if you have a backup, this will wipe out everything including your apps and settings.

Still having a problem, please use the comment box.

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