In under an hour your personal computer can be running as good as new! Over time a computer is bogged down by all the programs and files added to it. Eventually this will cause severe disorganization in the hard drive and greatly reduce how quickly your computer can process stored information. Reformatting the hard drive erases all the information that has built up in the storage memory of a computer. This brings the hard drive back to its original state, allowing for an operating system to be freshly installed. Once this is done, the computer will operate like it was just pulled out of the box!
Save money by doing the maintenance yourself. Retail stores typically charge sixty dollars or more to complete a computer reformatting process. That is $60/hr! Why would someone pay this when it is so simple following these steps?
Tools needed for completion:
1) Windows-based personal computer
2) Windows Vista Re-installation Disc
3) External Memory Storage
Note: All Windows-based PCs are shipped new with a re-installation disc. The Windows Vista re-installation disc is a DVD, therefore a DVD drive is required.
Note: External memory storage comes in many forms and must be chosen based on the amount of storage needed. Shown are two examples, an external USB hard drive and a USB flash drive.
Note: Although this process is shown using Windows Vista, the process is very similar for most other operating systems.
Step 1: Backup Files
Create backup copies of all the personal files that need to be saved:
A. Select files to be copied then either:
Option 1. Drag and drop onto hard drive
Option 2. Copy and paste onto hard drive
Note: USB flash drive shown in photograph is not required but may be used in place of the external hard drive depending on the amount of memory needed.
Step 2: Hardware Drivers
Obtain copies of the hardware drivers for your computer by either:
Option 1. Locating the original driver disc that was included with computer when purchased
Option 2. Downloading the drivers from the manufacturers website (example http://support.dell.com/support/downloads/index.aspx?c=us&l=en&s=gen)
i. Use service tag
ii. Select computer model from a list
iii. Select drivers from a previous list
Note: Windows Vista automatically installs most drivers but having a backup just in case is always a good idea.
Step 3: Installation Disc
Place the Windows Vista Re-installation Disc into the Computers Disc Drive:
A. Push the button located on the disc drive to open it.
B. Snap the installation disc into the drive
C. Close the drive
Step 4: Computer Reboot
Restart the Computer:
A. Go to the start menu.
B. Choose the restart option.
C. Quickly press any key when screen shows: "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..."
Step 5: Computer Language
Choose the Language to be Used by the Computer:
A. Place cursor over the desired language and left click the mouse.
B. Verify desired language is selected
Step 6: Time and Currency Format
Choose the Time and Currency Format Desired:
A. Select the proper country
Step 7: Keyboard Input Type
Choose the Keyboard Type of the Computer:
A. Verify the proper country is selected
B. Click "Next"
Step 8: Installation
Start the installation process:
A. Click "Install Now -->"
Note: Choose either "What to know before installing Windows" or "Repair your computer" if desired. Not needed for successful installation.
Step 9: License Terms
Accept Licensing Terms for Windows:
A. Read licensing terms
Note: Reading the licensing terms for Windows Vista is important because it states the terms of agreement you make with Microsoft by installing this operating system.
B. Select "I Accept the license terms"
i. Verify the white box contains a check mark
C. Click "Next"
Step 10: Installation Type
Choose the Type of Installation:
Option 1. Select 'Upgrade" to install an upgrade to the current Windows
Option 2. Select "Custom" to erase hard drive and reinstall Windows (Reformat with this option)
Note: Select "Help me decide" if you are unsure what route to choose. We would like option 2 for our purpose.
Step 11: Hard Drive Partition
Create a Partition on the Hard Drive to Install Windows:
A. Select "Drive Options (advanced)"
B. Delete all partitions by highlight them individually and selecting "Delete"
Note: Do not delete any partitions that you wish to keep.
C. Select "OK" when warning appears: "If you delete this partition, all data stored on it will be permanently deleted"
D. Create a new partition by selecting "New"
E. Set the size of the new partition
Note: Using all available space is the default setting but any desired value may be used as long as the minimum of 7340 megabytes is met.
F. Select "Apply" to complete creation of partition
G. Click "Next"
Note: Setup will begin to install Windows. The computer will restart several times during installation. When the computer restarts, do not press a key when screen displays: "Press any key to boot from CD or DVD..".
Step 12: User Name
Create a User Name:
A. Type in a desired user name
B. Select an icon
C. Click "Next"
Note: Include a password if desired.
Step 13: Computer Name and Desktop Background
Choose a Computer Name and Default Desktop Background:
A. Enter a computer name
B. Select a background from default options
Note: The background can be changed later at any time. The computer can be nearly anything, excluding certain characters.
Step 14: Security Option
Choose a Security and Windows Update Option:
Option 1. Select "Use recommended settings" for standard security settings
Option 2. Select "Install important updates only" for key security and windows updates and settings
Option 3. Select "Ask me later" for no updates
Note: If unsure which option to choose, select "Learn more about each option".
Step 15: Date and Time
Choose the Time Zone and Verify Date and Time:
A. Verify correct Time Zone is selected
B. Verify correct date is selected
C. Verify correct time is selected
D. Click "Next"
E. Click "Start"
Note: Wait while windows starts for the first time. Install any drivers that were not automatically installed by Vista.
Step 16: Enjoy a Rejuvenated Computer
Great work! Now the computer is running smoother and quicker. It is best to perform the reformatting process every few months to maintain a top-running computer. Reformatting at home can save sixty dollars or more and takes only an hour to complete.