How to Wipe My Computer Clean & Reload It

By Jarrett Melendez

Reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling Windows XP is a surefire way to rid yourself of any nasty spyware, malware or viruses that have been otherwise impossible to remove. You can also use this method to troubleshoot problems like corrupted files in your operating system and other software issues. You will also find that your system runs faster and smoother after reformatting it. Whatever your reasons are for wiping your hard drive, it's a simple, albeit time-consuming, process. Fortunately, you only have to be present for about 30 minutes to answer some prompts and the computer takes care of the rest.

Things You'll Need

  • Windows XP Installation disk
  • Windows XP product key

Step 1

Power on your computer and load the Windows XP Installation disk into the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive.

Step 2

Restart your computer. Instead of the usual startup screens, you'll see a screen with the prompt, "Press any key to boot from CD.." Press any key.

Step 3

Press Enter to setup up Windows XP. You will see a licensing agreement to which you must agree before moving on.

Step 4

Highlight Unpartitioned Space and press Enter to set up Windows XP.

Step 5

Choose the "Format the partition using the NTFS file system" option. This will wipe your entire hard drive and reinstall Windows XP. Once this is finished, follow the onscreen prompts to complete installation and setup of Windows.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can, back up any data you need onto a separate drive before reformatting your hard drive.

References & Resources