How to Wipe Your Computer & Reinstall

By Susan Strayer

A computer crash has happened to the best of us, and sometimes the only solution is to wipe the memory and reinstall the operating system. But if you have lost the instruction booklet that came with your computer ten years ago, figuring out how to wipe the memory can be a little challenging. There are two methods to try, depending on whether or not you have the original operating system (OS) discs.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with keyboard and mouse
  • OS disc(s)

Step 1

Insert the first OS disc into the computer (either on or not, it shouldn't matter). If the computer is on, it should recognize the disc that has been inserted and ask if you would like to reformat the hard drive and in the process wipe the memory. Simply follow the onscreen instructions from that point. If you put the disc in while the computer is off, it should recognize the disc during start-up and, again, you just follow the instructions.

Step 2

Boot up the computer if you do not have the discs. While it is booting up, a screen will appear that has several start-up options. One of these will say something along the lines of "Press F8 to Network Boot" (it may not be F8 on your computer). Press and hold this key while that screen is still showing and a new screen will appear.

Step 3

Read the new screen to find the option that will let you restore the computer to factory settings--this includes wiping the memory. Select that option and follow the instructions on screen to wipe and reinstall the OS.

References & Resources