How to Format a PC

Need to know how to format a PC? Formatting your PC erases all of your computer's contents and enables you to start fresh with a like-new PC system.

How to format a PC
When you format your PC, you erase all the data it contains and start over with a new installation of Windows. Because this erases all of your data and requires you to reinstall Windows, it's typically not a good idea to format your PC unless you absolutely must. If you have viruses or spyware that you can't seem to remove even with good anti-virus software, or if your Windows installation has become corrupted, you might want to format your PC. Otherwise, you should try other avenues before you turn to formatting your desktop personal computer.

Back up any files you might want.
Before you do anything else, back up any files you might want. Formatting a PC erases all of your data and programs, so, if you want to keep any photos, documents or music, back them up on a CD, DVD or external hard drive.

How to format your PC with a Windows XP installation disc.
If you've got a Windows installation disc, formatting your PC is fairly easy. With an install disc, you simply insert the disc into your CD-ROM and boot from your installation disc. Windows gives you the option of repairing your Windows installation or re-installing Windows. Press Esc to bypass the repair option and go to the Partition management menu. From there, delete the existing partition on your hard drive.

Once the partition is gone, select that space and press C to create a new partition. If you want to create multiple partitions on your drive, type in a portion of the drive space for this partition. If you want to have only one partition, press Enter to continue. Select the NTFS file system for your partition, and then wait for the operation to complete. From there, follow the prompts to re-install Windows.

How to format your PC without an installation disc.
If you don't have a Windows XP installation disc or don't want to install Windows XP, you can still format your PC with a boot diskette. Several places around the Web can help you create a floppy boot diskette. Once you've got the floppy boot diskette, boot your computer from the floppy drive. You'll have an option to start your computer with CD-ROM support; choose that option.

When you get to the command prompt, type fdisk and press Enter. Press Y to support large disk sizes, and then select Option #1 to create a DOS partition and then again to create a primary DOS partition. If you want to make multiple partitions, enter a disk size for your primary partition. If you only want to make the one partition, press Y to proceed without specifying a size.

Once fdisk is complete, restart your computer and boot with CD-ROM support again. When you get to the prompt, type format c: (or replace c with the letter of your hard drive, if it's something else) and press Enter. Press Y to proceed with formatting, and wait for your hard drive to format.

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