What you'll need:
Recovery CD or Restore CD from the MFG
WIndows Operating Disk 98 or ME, 2000, XP or Vista.
A CD Rom Drive
Or a Floppy for low level formatting.
Key Steps to Formatting
Back it Up!
Before the format process, you want to make sure that if your goal is hard drive recovery, you back-up
as much personal data
and information from your hard drive as you need. In some instances where a virus has caused serious system damage, this may not be possible, but if your format is planned ahead of time you certainly can copy and archive data off your hard drive before you start the format process.
How to Format
If you purchased your computer from systems vendor such as a Dell, HP Compaq or Gateway system, you most likely will have a set-up or a restore-and-recovery CD (also referred to as a master CD) that came with the system. If this is the type of system you use, then a format is an easy process as the master CD by inserting the CD into your CDROM, will format the hard drive, reinstall your Windows
operating system, and install any software
and programs that came with the system. If you no longer have your master set-up CD, you should contact the manufacturer to get a replacement.
How to Format without a Recovery Disk:
If you aren't using this type of mass-market system, then a hard drive format will consist of you formatting the hard drive manually, installing your Windows OS from CD, then installing your software programs and hardware drivers
. Before you begin the formatting process, it is important to make sure you have all your driver CDs
located, Windows CD and your software CDs to ensure a smooth set-up.
It's also important to know about your operating system before you format. For example, if you're going to be reinstalling an older version of the operating such as Windows 98 or Windows ME then you should have a Windows 98 or ME start-up disk to complete the procedure. In this instance, you would restart the system with the start-up floppy in the drive. Upon system boot
, you will choose to have CD-ROM support. Once the files load you can then choose to run the format command on your main drive (usually C drive). If you are using Windows 2000, Windows XP or Windows Vista
the Windows installation process offers "format your hard drive
" as an option. Here you would ensure your computer is set to boot from CD-ROM (a setting in your system BIOS
), insert the Windows CD and restart the computer. From there you will be on your way to reformatting.
As you can see there are many options to formatting a hard drive. Hopefully this gives you a good understanding that most of the operating systems today do the formatting for you, all you need to do is pick that option as you follow the onscreen steps when you install either your Restore, or Operating System.
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