How to Reformat a Dell Laptop Without a CD

By Robert Ceville

Whenever you have tried just about everything without avail to get your Dell computer operating efficiently again, it may be time to perform a reformat the hard drive. Windows comes with a System Recovery disc, but many times this disc becomes lost. Luckily, you can reformat your Dell computer without even needing the System Restore disc. All that it takes is knowing the right key commands to let you access your Dell computer's Factory Restore feature.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Windows

Step 1

Restart your operating system by clicking "Start," "Shutdown" and then "Restart." Make sure that you have saved any program-specific files before shutting down your Dell Computer.

Step 2

Press "F8" when your computer starts back up. It may take a couple of attempts in order to access the System Restore screen. The time window for being able to enter the key command is very short, so make sure to be attentive. This will take you to the Advanced Boot Options menu.

Step 3

Press the down arrow key on your computer keyboard and scroll down to "Repair Your Computer," then press "Enter."

Step 4

Choose your language and give administrative permission to perform the operation by clicking "OK."

Step 5

Click on "Dell Factory Image Restore" from the list of options, then press "Next."

Step 6

Click "Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition" and click "Next." Your Dell computer will be restored to its factory status during this step of the process.

Step 7

Click "Finish" upon completion of the Factory Restore to restart your machine and load Windows. Your Dell computer will now be in the state that it was in at the time that you first purchased it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make a back-up of all of your programs, files, and important materials to an external drive before performing this operation.
  • After the Factory Restore has completed, you will have to reinstall all antivirus programs and load all of your important files that you have made.