How to format a laptop? Our tips and steps

Have you just bought a used laptop? Have you had any viruses? Do you want to change the operating system? Is your system too slow? Here are some possible reasons format your laptop.

Formatting is similar to cleaning your machine. All files will be deleted. This allows you to quietly start from scratch, and therefore you need to know what you are doing during this manipulation. Here are our step-by-step tips to help you format your laptop.

Data Backup and Precautions

Before doing any manipulation, the most important thing is to first backup your most important data. Although some methods allow you to format your data while saving, this is only a partial cleaning of your computer, and in many cases it will not be possible to pass such manipulation.

First, tell the driver or a external storage medium (external hard drive or ssd, other computer, etc.) all your important documents, photos and videos. Formatting is also a good way to virtually sort your files.

Think again Enable cross-device synchronization in your web browser, to store all the data associated with it (favorites, passwords, etc.). If this is not possible, there are special manipulations for each browser to restore the file containing most of this information.

Finally, if you plan to wipe everything, consider creating a storage medium to install your operating system on. For Windows, it is possible to use a USB key with the Media Creation Tool, which you can find on the Microsoft website.

Format a laptop in Windows 10 and 11

If you can still access Windows on your laptop and it is still usable, it is possible to format the machines directly from the settings.

  • 1. Click on the Start menu, go to the Settings menu, then to Update and security, and finally to Recovery on the left.
  • 2. Click “Start” under “Reset this PC”.
  • 3. Choose between “Keep my files” and “Delete all”. The first option removes only the settings and software from the machine while keeping the rest of the data. The second option performs a direct deletion of all data from the laptop. In case of a virus or want to clean your machine from any traces, this is the option to choose.
  • 4. If you selected “Delete All”, in the “Additional Settings” window, you can click “Next” if you agree with the current settings, otherwise click “Change Settings”.
  • 4 bis. If you click on “Change settings”, you have two options to enable or disable. “Wipe data” allows you to perform a massive cleanup of the hard drive until nothing is recovered if necessary, if you enable it. “Data drive” refers to the purposeful formatting of one or more internal or external storage media (hard disk, SSD, etc.). If you enable it, only data will be deleted from the media on which Windows is installed.
  • 5. After confirming the settings, formatting begins. You just have to wait.

Reset the laptop to factory settings

format the laptop to factory settings

Unfortunately, if for any reason Windows is unavailable or unusable, it is always possible to format your laptop. To do this, you need to access the recovery options.

  • 1. Turn on or restart the laptop using the power button.
  • 2. After displaying the manufacturer’s logo or beeping, press the power button until the PC turns off.
  • 3. Repeat the first two steps a second time before restarting your computer normally.
  • 4. Click on “Troubleshoot” once in Windows recovery options.
  • 5. If you have several accounts on your computer, select one with administrator rights and enter its password.
  • 6. Click on “Reset this PC”.
  • 7. At this point you have two options. If you can’t save your data and don’t want to lose it, select the “Keep my files” option, which will only remove Windows software and settings. Click “Erase All” for a complete reset.
  • 8. If you select “Delete All”, you will have two new options. “Just delete my files” lets you, for example, quickly format your machine to use it again. “Completely erase the drive” erases everything without the possibility of recovery, which is the preferred option if you are getting rid of your laptop.
  • 9. If you are sure of yourself and your settings, press the “Reset” button and wait until the formatting takes place.

After formatting

windows 11 installation

After the laptop is formatted, it’s time to put everything in order.

First, if you have deleted everything, consider reinstalling the operating system. You can use the storage medium we talked about earlier.

Next, don’t forget to install all the necessary drivers. There are many sites or programs that can help you with this, such as, or Driver Booster. But here is the easiest way to install your drivers in Windows 10 and 11.

  • 1. In the Windows Start menu, find and click Device Manager.
  • 2. After entering the menu, right-click on the various category items and click on “Driver Update”.
  • 3. Click “Check for updated driver software automatically”.

Finally, reinstall all your software to start a good experience with your laptop.

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