How to Reformat a Laptop Without the Recovery CD

By James B. Jones

When purchasing a new or even a used laptop, many owners like being able to start from scratch. Reformating a laptop is an ideal way to do just that, giving people the opportunity to start with a clean slate and turn their computer into precisely what they want. While the process of reformatting a computer can take some time, the process itself is not difficult and only takes a few minutes to initiate.

Things You'll Need

  • Ultimate Boot Disk or Other Bootable Format Tool
  • Blank CD or Floppy Disk

Step 1

Download the Ultimate Boot Disk as either an .iso file or as a boot file for a floppy disk.

Step 2

Copy the downloaded files to your disk format of choice. This is done by opening your "My Computer" screen and manually moving the files from the folder they were downloaded from to the file you want to save them on.

Step 3

Restart your computer.

Step 4

Enter your BIOS by perssing F2 or your motherboard's equivalent when the computer boots.

Step 5

Change the boot order of your different devices inside of your BIOS so that the format you downloaded the UBD files to is the first device the computer attempts to boot from.

Step 6

Exit your BIOS, saving the settings. Once this is done, your computer will restart.

Step 7

Press any key on your keyboard when the computer prompts you to. This will load the Ultimate Boot Disk's options screen.

Step 8

Select the "Hard Disk Tools" from the list of options and select any of the many hard drive formatting options.

Step 9

Go through each program's settings, selecting your hard drive, and begin the format process. This process can take several hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be sure to have all the files you want to keep saved on an external source. Once the format begins, all data will be wiped.
  • It is wise to download and save the necessary drivers for your computer before you format your hard drive. This way, once your computer is formatted all you have to do is install the drivers to have your machine up and running again.
  • Reformatting a hard drive in this manner is best done if you plan on a fresh installation of a new operating system, or if you are changing over from a Windows-based to a Linux-based system.