ComputingComputing: GuidesHow To

When and How to Reformat a PC?

when and how to reformat a pc

If you buy a new pc, and use it for a few years, there is always a chance of a slight dip in its performance. Many pc users struggle with the question of when and how to reformat a pc.

You may have formatted your PC several times by now, and it may or may not have been necessary. So it essential to know when and how exactly should we reformat our system.

When to Reformat a PC?

The main component formatted in the process of reformatting your pc is the Hard Disk Drive (or a Solid-State Drive). Each file that you have stored on the pc is present in the hard drive. You can find some of the best hard drives at most tech stores in the market.

Therefore, it is essential to have a good reason before formatting your computer, as you could potentially lose some valuable files when clearing up your hard drive. Here is a list of reasons to answer your question of when to reformat a PC or a laptop.

When your PC doesn’t Start

Trying to figure out what went wrong when your PC doesn’t start is an extremely frustrating problem. One option is to repair it via the repair disc option but to be frank, the repair disc option is a bit more technical and is not worth your time.

The configuration and settings of any Operating system(you can get a list of some of the best by clicking here) are present in the Windows registry. It makes it a useful component of a PC. You can find the applications and lower-level units on this platform as well.

The computer will not start due to some changes in its configuration, which can happen because of a virus/malware or some other reason. The operating system in response to this action will not load on your screen, so you will not be able enough to boot or start the computer. The symptoms include your system restarting during the boot process or getting stuck at the DOS screen.

We can go to our second option called reformatting, considered a better solution to this problem. It’s like the cleansing of your face. The barber removes all the blackheads and makes your face look fresh. Similarly, formatting the pc removes all the files in your hard drive, flushing viruses along the way, and you have a relatively new pc.

When your Hard Drive is Full

When your hard drive is full, you have a few options. One option is to manually search all the unwanted data like movies or TV shows you’ve already watched and delete them to clear up some space.

The second option, a much better one, is to format the pc hard drive. It is better because it is fast and easy. It will save you a lot of time and effort, and it will delete the hidden unwanted files covering up space.

A useful tip before formatting your hard drive is to backup all of the files that you need and copy them back once the formatting is complete.

When your PC Slows Down in Performance

If you keep using the same system without proper maintenance, it will slow down in performance. It can be a hardware problem, and if it is, it will cost you a few bucks to replace the malfunctioning hardware.

If it is not a hardware problem, you can revert your attention to hard disk formatting. In the good old days, reformatting kept your system in a smooth shape and fastened its performance, as it was the only method we knew. But now we have several operating systems with the built-in ability to remove the errors from the pc and keep it in solid shape.

When your PC Continuously Malfunctions

If errors keep popping up on your screen, and your system malfunctions in various ways, you can use the option of formatting your pc.

There are several ways to get infected. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Using corrupted files in your PC
  • Downloading infected files from the internet
  • Connecting to an infected network
  • Using USB flash drives full of malware

The best option to remove all the malware and viruses is reformatting. There are other options available e.g. you can install anti-malware software, but it will cost you some money (free versions of these software are often not good enough), and it could take a lot of time as well.

How to Reformat a PC?

Now that we have found the main reasons for reformatting the pc, we can switch our attention to how we can actually reformat a pc?

We will use Windows 10 as an example. You can reformat your PC by following the following steps:

  1. Turn on your pc and insert the Windows 10 installation disc or USB flash drive. After inserting it you can shut down your pc.
  2. Restart your pc.
  3. Press any key when asked, and follow the instructions that appear on your screen.
  4. An install windows page will appear, select your preferences and click “Next.”
  5. The license terms page will appear, click on “I accept the license terms”, and then click “Next.”
  6. Click “Custom” on the “Which type of installation do you want?” page.
  7. Click “Drive options” (advanced) on the “Where do you want to install Windows?” page.
  8. Click on the partition that you want to format and click Format. Here you have multiple options: You can convert several partitions to one big partition, and vice versa; Select the formatting option of your choice; Click “Next” when you are done with formatting.
  9. Some instructions will follow up to finish the installation process. You can select a name for your pc and set up a new user account.
  10. If you want to reinstall Windows 10, you can move on to the next phase of installation. But if you are happy with the formatting, you can cancel the installation process here.


Keeping your system in working condition is not a difficult task. We just went through how you can identify the need to reformat a pc, and how to reformat your PC in a step by step manner. If this seems a bit too much for you, consider hiring an IT professional. It may cost you a few bucks, but the problem won’t cause you any more hassle than it already has.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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