How to Completely Clean Out a Computer to Make It Like Brand New

by Tiffany Garden

If you want to erase all of the data currently on your computer, in the event that you want to start fresh, give your computer to someone else or sell the computer, you need to format your hard drives in order to completely erase the data. The format process clears all of the data from the drives and then places a file system on the disk. Once you have formatted the drives, you can install an operating system on it or use the drives for storage.

Insert your Windows installation disk into your computer and restart.

Use any key on your keyboard when prompted to boot from the disk. Booting from your disk is essential as you can't clear out your drive while you're using it.

Change the default language, time and keyboard settings if your regional options are not correct. Click "Next." Click the "Install Now" button to get the installation started. Scroll through and read the end user license agreement with Microsoft and check the accept box. Click "Next."

Click "Custom" when selecting your installation option. You don't need to go through with the entire installation, but the Custom section contains the format tool.

Click "Drive options (advanced)" to get to the format option. Choose which drive to format and click "Format." Your drive will be formatted at this point. You can click "Next" to continue with the entire installation process or shut down the computer and use the clean hard drive for your intended use.

Items you will need

About the Author

Tiffany Garden has been a freelance writer since 2002, working in the commercial copywriting field. She has been published in a number of technical and gaming magazines, as well as on numerous websites. She also runs her own websites on a number of subjects, runs a handcrafted jewelry business and is a CompTIA A+ Certified computer technician.