Even though the prices of desktop and laptop computers have fallen sharply in recent years, a good computer is still a major purchase, and that means computer owners need to learn how to troubleshoot their machines when something goes wrong. Some problems are relatively easy to solve, but others are much more complicated. If your computer has been infected with a boot sector virus, or if the operating system itself has become corrupt, the best strategy may be to restore it to its factory condition and start over.
Make sure you back up all of your user files before you get started. Keep in mind that the restore process will wipe out your entire hard drive, including your user files. You can back up the files you need by using a USB thumb drive, a blank DVD or an external hard drive.
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Locate the restore CD that came with your computer. If you do not have the restore CD, contact the manufacturer of your computer and order a new one. There may be a nominal charge for the CD.
Power your computer on, insert the restore CD in the drive and restart your computer. Your PC will recognize the restore CD and boot from it. Follow the instructions on the screen and click through the warnings that your hard drive is about to be erased.
Stay near your computer during the restoration process. You may be asked to verify settings or answer questions during the process. Your computer may reboot several times during the process.
Insert the software installation disks to reinstall the programs you want on your computer. Make sure you have the license keys for each piece of software you are using. The license keys should be located on the jewel case.
Things You'll Need
Software installation disks
Thumb drive, blank DVDs or external hard drive