Reformatting your computer should be considered a last resort.  That said,  if you decide to reformat keep the following in mind to make the process as painless as possible.

Computer Reformat checklist

1)Make sure you have a good backup of all your personal files-photos,videos, music, documents.

2)Get your Windows installation disk or recovery CD provided by the computer manufacturer. *

3)Gather the installation CD's for all the applications you wish to reinstall.

4)Make sure you have all necessary product keys. You will need to reactivate your software you after you reinstall

5)If you are not using a recovery CD, you will need to reinstall the device drivers(sound, video, network, etc). At the very least, have the network drivers available. You will need these to connect to the Internet.

6)Once you collected the above items, insert your Windows disk(or recovery CD), restart your computer and follow the instructions.

7)When finished, run Windows Update to ensure that your operating system is up to date.

*Some computer manufacturers have a hidden recovery partition that is started by a certain key, or combination of keys. Check your documentation for details.

New PC?

If you just purchased a new computer, follow these few steps to help you get the most out of your purchase:


  1. Before you do anything, create recovery disks.  This will ensure that you can restore you computer to Out of Box condition, in the event of a software or hardware failure.  Refer to the owner's manual for instructions specific to your model.
  2. Install an anti-virus program, or update any preinstalled security software.
  3. Run Windows Update so that you have the latest security patches.
  4. Determine which preinstalled applications you won't be using and get rid of them.  Most PC manufacturers load up their systems with trialware, bloatware, and crapware.  Your shop at home channels try to lure you with the" hundreds of dollars" worth of software included with the system. Uninstall any unused software. PC Decrapifer is a free program that will help de-bloat your new system.  
  5. Establish a backup plan for your files.  Most ISP's offer 2 to 5GB of free online storage.  Google and Amazon offer free storage.  Windows Live Skydrive offers offers 7GB of free storage.  All of these services offer the option to purchase more online or "cloud" storage.  Consider purchasing an external hard drive and a backup program such as Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image.  Don't rely soley on cloud storage for backup.
  6. If you need help with any of the above, contact East Coast Computer Services.

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