How to Format a Computer?
Format Warning from Windows: Formatting this volume will erase all data on it. Back up any data you want to keep before formatting. Do you want to continue?
Warning from ByebyeData Eraser: Windows formatting methods will not erase all data on it, you can still get them back by some data recovery software. ByebyeData Eraser, on the other hand, is able to completely erase all data on it. Do you want to continue after backup the data you want to keep?
That's no offense to Windows format warning message, but it is a widely known theory that format and delete operations are not efficient way of erasing data. That's why we need professional data wiping software to make disks clean.
If you want to refresh the computer and don't want to erase all data on it, you can read the following guides to format the computer in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP. Before we get started, it is better to prepare Windows installation CD/DVD/USB for the according system. If you're still a fan of Window 95, 98, or ME, the Startup Diskette is also required.
How to Format a Computer and clean install Windows 7
Put the Windows 7 setup CD into the CD-ROM and press the power button, press FX to boot from CD, different computers may varies in showing FX, or maybe other prompts, just don't boot normally to Windows according to your device. Now you are in the installation guide. Wait! Why the installation CD? I'm about to formatting the computer, not reinstalling it!
Don't worry, we're going to reach the format step, the reason we're booting from this setup CD is that Windows 7 C Drive needs to be formatted and the system needs to be reinstalled. If all you want is format D: E: or F: Drive, you can do it in File Explorer and right-click the drive you want to format and choose Format…from the menu. And if you don't have problems with formatting C Drive, let's proceed.
1. Choose your language, Time and currency format and Keyboard or input method, Click Next to continue.
2. Click Install now to begin and check I accept the license terms box, Next.
3. Click Custom (advanced) in the Which type of installation do you want window.
4. Click the first disk in the Where do you want to install Windows window, wait, don't rush to the Next button this time, we click Drive options (advanced) instead this time.
5. Now we can format Windows 7 in this window, click on the partition you want to format and click Next when it is formatted.
6. You'll the window comes to Installing Windows… and it indicates that computer will restart server times during the installation.
7. We can now type a user name and a computer name. And then you know how to do the rest.
How to Format a Computer in Windows 8
Steps of formatting a computer and reinstall Windows Vista are pretty much like that of Windows 7's guide. So we'll go to the reinstallation of Windows 8 directly, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 have something in common on the installation steps but different window in Setting windows, eightforums administrator did a great job on guiding clean install Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 with full set of screenshots, click on the check the differences between Windows 8 two versions setting.
How to Format a Computer in Windows 10
Format Windows 10 and clean install it are the same steps like it was Windows 7: we click on the disk and click Drive options (advanced) to format this drive. Windows 10 steps of installation are different since the step of region and keyboard setting.
You'll see the window How would like to set up? > Set up for personal use. And sign in with Microsoft and verify the count. Unlike Windows 7 only use password to login, you can set up a PIN to unlock your device.
Make Cortana your personal assistant? That depends on you.
Choose privacy settings for your device – That can be set later if you don't want to read the text or just simply disable them for private reasons.
Now we had a clean install of Windows 10, first thing to check when it boot successfully on the first time is the Time zone data and Time on the right bottom corner.
But is that really a clean install?
Above we mentioned how to format disk and clean install Windows 7, 8 and 10. We then can boot them successfully and it seems clean of nothing, when it comes to the word "clean", the OS must running slow or performance bad, or at least they are not what they were like the days before. it is OK to just format or delete and reinstall for yourself using again, but if you're about to donate or sell the old computer to others you don't know quite well, format or delete then is not the secure way to keep private info safe, because even free data recovery programs can restore everything you deleted even after you "permanently deleted" or format files in drives. Then what's the essential step before we sell or donate old computer?
Erase Personal Data
Erase data is to overwrite the sector, or, to put it simple, the place you store data with meaningless zeros and ones so that data recovery software will not find any traces of deleted data or history of files footprints. Imaging there is a library, books are your data, you can locate them through the index paper at the Front desk, and you can also delete the index keyword to the book, but the book is still there on the shelf until you replace it with a book and anther book name on the index page.
That's much more like how "delete" work in Windows file explorer, we just deleted the reference to the file not the file itself.
Erase is to overwrite the place before any other file comes in to sector, like we delete the book name from the index page and remove the book from the shelves at the same time, and that's what we call complete delete of files or Erase files.
How to erase all data on a computer?
We have a complete guide on how to erase disks, drives, free space, files and folders, but as for this topic, format computer and clean install Windows, we'll recommend wiping out the entire disk, steps followed:
1. Find the proper edition of ByebyeData Eraser and download, install and Run.
2. Click Bootable media to create a boot CD/DVD/USB before wiping the system disk and follow the guide window to make an ISO file.
3. Get the burnable media ready and burn the ISO file to it and keep the media connected.
4. Reboot from bootable media and Click Erase disks in ByebyeData Eraser.
5. Click the disk contains Windows system and then to choose a wiping method to erase.
6. Erase Now and disconnect the boot media.
7. Insert the Windows installation CD to do the clean installation. (The steps at the head of this page).