How do I reformat my computer?

by on February 24, 2009

Q: I need to reformat my computer and make it fresh and new. My computer is gateway 832GM. How do I reformat it?

One Response to “How do I reformat my computer?”

    There are four options for reinstalling Windows on today’s computers. I could not find which method is correct for your system, but one of the following should definitely work:

    A. It is best to reinstall Windows using a Windows installation disc. This is similar to a Windows disc that you would buy at a store; it does not install all of the unwanted extra software that often comes on today’s computers.

    B. The next best choice is called system recovery discs. These are CDs or DVDs that will restore your computer to the state it was in when it left the manufacturer’s factory. In other words, they will load Windows and all software that came preloaded on your computer when it was new.

    Note: If you cannot find such Windows installation or system recovery discs, attempt to obtain them by contacting Gateway. If you plan to use a Windows installation disc, you should also ask Gateway to send installation discs for your other important programs (Microsoft Office, etc).

    C. Some computers come with a built-in system recovery utility. This is similar to option B, but uses the hard drive inside your computer instead of CDs or DVDs.

    D. More-and-more computers force you to use a special program to create your own system recovery discs. This may sound convenient, but it comes with an increased risk of transferring viruses, malware, etc when you reinstall.

    Now, follow the procedure below:

    1. Scan your computer for infections using a trustworthy security program — I recommend Kaspersky Internet Security 2009 — and delete all infections. This will help prevent infections from being transferred to your reinstalled system.

    2. Backup all of your important files (including internet favorites, emails and contacts, files from tax software, etc) to CD-Rs, DVD-Rs or DVD+Rs, USB flash drives, external hard drives, etc. Do not backup to your computer’s internal hard drive, because the information on that hard drive will be erased when you reinstall.

    3. In this optional step, download and make a CD of Gateway’s free GWSCAN utility (this utility works on other brands too). Go to to download the newest version. Then use GWSCAN to “write zeros” to your computer’s hard drive. Note that writing zeros will totally erase all files from your computer, including most built-in system recovery programs. Skip this step if you must use your computer’s built-in system recovery tool.

    4. Use one of the re-installation methods mentioned earlier to reinstall Windows. Then use the Windows Update tool on your computer to download updates from Microsoft. If asked, go ahead and “activate” your computer with Microsoft (registering is optional).

    5. Now reinstall your security software, reinstall other programs, then use your security software to scan the backup files that you created earlier.

    6. Lastly, copy your backup files to your computer’s internal hard drive. Enjoy!

    PS: Windows XP Media Center Edition requires a different “service pack” update than other versions of Windows. Feel free to contact me for special instructions regarding Windows XP Media Center Edition.

    Does this help?