Sometimes we have no choice when it comes to reformatting your hard drive. Just make sure you understand that all your data will be lost unless you take the time to backup files you do not want to lose. This should only be done as a last resort.
When should I reformat my hard drive? If your windows files are corrupted beyond repair or you have files missing and all your attempts to repair have failed. If you have a virus and all your attempts at removal has not worked. Another reason would be if your computer is infected with spy-ware to the point you cannot open Internet Explorer or your computer’s performance has slowed considerably. Another reason would be if your computer will not finish a successful de-frag
Why should I reformat my hard drive? One of the biggest complaints I used to get when working with a clients computer was that it was so slow and it used to be a lot faster. Computers will lose performance over many months of use if it has not been de-fragged, multiple spy-ware infections, multiple virus infections, registry errors, files left after we un-installed programs we are not using. All these factors over time will slow your computer to a crawl. It would be a good idea when your computer is to the point that all your attempts to correct the problems have not improved the situation. If your at this point than its time you make preparations to reload your computer.
How should I reformat my hard drive?
1. Before you can begin to reformat your hard drive you must try to backup any files you may want to keep. Keep in mind if your computer is infected so can the files your backing up be infected. Before you proceed with the backup process separate the files you want to keep into a separate folder. Any folders that contain files you want to keep you can drag and drop those into this folder too.
2. Run a scan virus and spy-ware on this folder and make sure these files are not infected. Any files that cannot be repaired get rid of them.
3. You can backup your folder easy if you have CDRW or zip drive. If you have a secondary hard drive you could just drag and drop those files into it. Just make sure you label your folder backup so you can find it easily. Many of you have songs and pictures you want to keep you can backup those too as long as they are clean from infection.
4. Don’t forget to backup your history and bookmarks folder if you do not want to los that information. Take inventory of all items you want to keep and put them in this folder and scan them. This should keep your losses to minimum.
5. Your computer manufacturer would have given you a restore CD and driver CD. You should have least one of each depending on the manufacturer you may have more than just two. If you cannot find your CD’s or they are damaged you can get replacement from your computer manufacturer for nominal fee. It is a good idea when you first take your computer out of the box to put the CD’s in a safe place. You can also make backups of them so if they become damaged you don’t have to buy replacements.
6. If your computer came loaded with Windows XP it is very easy to reformat your computer with the CD. Do not copy Windows over Windows always delete the partition when it prompts you and create a new partition. The next step it will ask you to format the drive and it completes these steps easily for you.
7. It will than run Windows setup and load XP back onto your computer.
8. If your computer is older and your running Windows 98/ME the process is basically the same except depending on your computer manufacturers restore disk you may have a some different steps. You may be required to reformat your drive with a DOS boot disk. Consult your manual for instructions.
9. Your computer manufacturer also supplied driver disks and possibly applications disks. Once Windows is loaded you would use your driver disk to load the applicable drivers you need to operate your computer efficiently. Once all your drivers are installed and working correctly you can install any applications.
10. Your computer manufacturer bundled some trial applications with your computer that the licenses have expired putting those back on at this point is not necessary. You do not have to put on any applications you are not using. If your not using them just save the space for other things.
11. Now you can put the backup folder you created back on your computer. Once you have accomplished that you can drag and drop the files and folders into their original positions over writing any folders Windows created.
12. Now you would install your virus and spy-ware program and make sure you can get on the Internet.
13. Once your on the Internet do not do anything else until you have done all the windows updates. This is critical so you get your browsers security updated. Install any service packs and make sure your Windows firewall is activated.
14. Run any virus definition updates and spy-ware updates.
15. This process make take several hours to get everything up and running but it is important that you do this so your computer operates efficiently.
If you have completed all the steps congratulations you just reloaded your computer and your ready to go.