Reformatting the hard drive of a computer is sometimes an unavoidable task. Whether you're an IT professional or a private user, there are times when the hard drive has to be totally wiped. These reasons range from reallocating a computer to another user, selling it or donating it, installing a larger internal hard drive or even just to eradicate some flaky behavior. Unless the computer is ancient, reformatting a Dell laptop is a moderately easy process.
Damaged hard drive is a reason to reformat
any data on the PC that you plan on saving. This can be accomplished by
using burnable CDs or DVDs, attaching an external hard drive, using an
online backup process or hooking up to the corporate backup server.
Older flavors of Windows include a bootable floppy
Set the boot order on the
laptop. This tells the computer the order that it looks for a bootable
disc. The default is the C: drive, but this can be changed by holding
down the Delete key while booting the computer. If you're using a
floppy, which is common with early versions of Windows, select the A:
drive. If you're using the CD or DVD, then select that drive (usually
the D: drive) by using the up and down arrow keys. Save your preference
A software restore CD
Insert the media (floppy or
CD/DVD) into the computer, and then reboot. Select reformat and install,
which will erase all the data on the drive and install a fresh copy of
2.5-inch internal hard drive
Keep an eye on the process, as
earlier versions of Windows often require manual intervention such as
selecting options, or pressing the Enter key at certain times. More
recent versions of Windows are typically autorun.
Disk image utility
Follow the prompts during the
installation and after rebooting it. Use the restore CD to install any
additional drivers and utilities. Run the Windows updates, and if you're
planning on keeping the computer (or assigning it to another user),
then install any necessary applications and data files, and configure
the preferences, email and printers.
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