This Windows laptop reformat guide is a quick set of reminders to do before you get rolling. The last thing you want is to get knee deep in wiping activities and realize you don’t have everything you need.

Before Reformatting

  1. Make sure you have all necessary product keys (Windows, Office, etc.)
  2. Make a list or mental note of all needed application to re-install
  3. Backup your files to an external media
  4. Check to see if laptop uses a recovery partition or recovery media
  5. If you have recovery media or make a bootable USB installer, make sure the install is up to date or you have the big service packs downloaded. This will save a ton of time.

Begin the Windows Laptop Reformat Process

  1. Usually you can use the recovery drive or partition (on modern laptops you can access the recovery environment by pressing ‘F8’ during the laptop’s boot process)
  2. On the Advanced Boot Screen, choose Repair Your Computer to load the recovery environment
  3. Each laptop has differing options in the recovery console. Choose the option that returns the laptop to factory defaults or out-of-box state. This is usually the last option in the main menu
  4. If you have recovery media, boot from that media
  5. format all partitions and install Windows through the media

Note: Do NOT choose System Restore. This will not perform a clean install

After Reformatting

  1. Run Windows updates
  2. Install anti-virus
  3. Install needed applications
  4. Restore backed up files from external device

Anything else you do when you do a Windows Laptop Reformat? What tools do you use?

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