How Do I Format My Laptop?

To format a laptop, locate the restore disk that came with the computer, and save drivers and personal files on a burnable disk or external hard drive. Formatting the laptop deletes all its contents, so saving files you wish to keep to a disc or external hard drive is very important. After ensuring that all the necessary files and drivers are saved, access the computer's BIOS from the startup screen, and then set the first drive to CD. Reboot if necessary, and follow the prompts provided by the restore disk. The entire process can take anywhere from several minutes to well over an hour depending on the size and speed of the laptop's hard drive.

  1. Save all necessary files

    Locate the restore disk that came with the computer, and download and save any updated drivers and personal files that you wish to save on a CD or external hard drive.

  2. Insert the restore disk

    Insert the restore disk, and then restart the laptop. At the start screen, which usually displays the logo of the computer's manufacturer, press the appropriate key to access the BIOS. Change the first boot device to CD, and then restart the laptop if prompted.

  3. Follow the prompts

    Choose the appropriate options from those provided by the disk. Windows users should choose the NTFS file system option. Allow the disk to run until the computer reboots. Do not remove the disk or reboot the computer until the installation is complete.

  4. Reinstall files and drivers

    Install the backup copies of the necessary drivers, and install any personal files from the backup disks. It is necessary to download any desired programs, such as messenger programs, after formatting the hard drive.