Formatting Your Windows Computer – Basic Steps

Formatting your windows computer is easier than it’s ever been before, but the steps you need to take before hand can be a little bit confusing.

Video Transcript

There are a number of different reasons why you may want to format your computer and install a clean copy of your operating system. The main reason is probably going to be because you have a virus on your computer.  Maybe your computer is running slow or maybe you’re actually going to sell your laptop and you want to make sure that all of your documents and files are gone and erased before you give it to someone else.  Regardless of what the reason is that you want to format your computer in this tutorial I’m going to show you how to do that without any risk of actually something going wrong with your laptop.

Now a long time ago the process of actually formatting your computer became much simpler.   Now if you don’t know what formatting actually means is basically formatting a computer is wiping it – you’re deleting everything.  You’re not just deleting your your files, you’re deleting your operating system and then you’re reinstalling it.  So an operating system is windows okay so it’s Windows 8,  you know Windows Vista,  is Windows 7,  Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 – that’s an operating system. Mac is another operating system but sometimes you need to basically wipe it clean.  So we’re going to delete everything that’s going to completely uninstall let’s say your computer.  It can be confusing with application unless you’ve got the installation disks it might be a struggle.  For example if you’ve installed licensed software or perhaps like me have a free trial of an Instagram Bot which you downloaded from the internet.

Ok and we’re going to reinstall it so that is going to completely wipe everything and that’s why it fixes problems,  fixes your virus.  It fixes whatever problem you have with your laptop because basically you’re getting a new laptop.  So that’s what we’re going to be doing – now the reason I wanted to explain that was because I wanted to recommend that you first of all backup your computer.  Because if you don’t backup your computer and you do this then guess what you’re going to lose all your files.  Now if you don’t care about your files that’s fine but for those of you that do this first part of the tutorial.   I’m going to cover backing up your files, this second part will show you how to actually format your laptop to actually make everything work.

So first of all before we get to that stage I’m going to show you how to backup all your files.  Now just in case you need a bit more advice or you can get portable hard drives which are actually called external hard drive but you can pretty much get them from any retail outlet anywhere. In any retail store near you so if you’re in the UK you can get it from Amazon, Argos etc.   If you’re in America you get it from Walmart or the equivalent it really doesn’t matte.  Now this is a great hard drive here and the one thing that you have to take into consideration when it comes to hard drives is really the space that you require and to be honest that really depends on you.

It depends on your computer depends on how many files you have to actually backup now if you don’t know I’m going to give you a really good indication all you need to do is go to your my computer and look at your C Drive.  Now here I can see I have used so far 471 gig of a total of basically one terabyte so I know that I can back up my computer safely with one terabyte.  Now I still recommend nowadays you get a two terabyte hard drive and that starts in the region of about sixty pounds. To be honest it’s really good value and in the long run it can really be money well spent if something did go wrong okay so let’s actually get started with the tutorial and let’s make our backups.

Now basically what I’m going to be doing in this tutorial is I’m going to be creating a single folder that contains everything that’s nicely set up for us and we can easily understand so I’m going to create a new folder just on my desktop and I’m going to call this backup and then I’m going to put the date I make the backup so it’s the 1306 215 okay.  So this is my basically my master folder which is going to contain all the backup folders I make so within this folder I’m going to create another folder so this is a subfolder and I’m going to call this my desktop. Okay so I don’t think I need to explain what I’m going to be putting into this folder but before I do I just want to come to my desktop now you’re going to notice that on your desktop you have a combination you’ll have files folders and probably some shortcuts.  Now the shortcuts are basically these icons that you use to access software such as your browser or any software that you have installed on your PC now in case you don’t know you cannot backup software okay you’re going to need to make sure you have the installation discs or installation files XE files for you to reinstall once you have recovered your PC.

So there’ll be absolutely no point in making a backup of these shortcuts because they will be absolutely useless if you have a did copy them onto a PC where that software is not installed.  So the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to separate my files and my folders from my shortcuts and various other icons because the only thing we want to backup is our files.  So in this example here I just have these two folders on my desktop so I’m going to open up my backup folder.  Here this is my Desktop folder remember and I’m going to copy these two folders into my desktop folder so if I just come out of this as you can see if I go into my backups folder my desktop folder now I basically have all the files and folders in here that were on my desktop.  So that’s the first one that we’ve done now there’s only so many places that you can actually save files on your computer.

So I’m going to show you all of those places and I’m going to show you how to make backups of them so the first thing I’m going to open up my files manager and I’m going to move this over to this side and then I’m going to open up my backups folder and I’m going to move that over to this side so this is my backups folder and this is where I’m browsing my computer.  So the next one I can see is my document so in my backups folder I’m going to create a new folder and I’m going to call this my doc Eamon’s My Documents and I’m going to open up this folder and then over here I’m going to actually come into my documents .  Over here, are  my files about sneakers including the proxies I use for my sneaker bot programs. So I happen to know that all these folders here basically don’t contain anything important the only file in here I want to backup is this one it’s my word document.  So I’m going to move this over to my backups My Documents folder okay so that’s the only folder I have in my documents I care about. Obviously you need to select all files from your documents and move them over to your backups folder. I’ve kept this very minimal so it’s very easy in self-explanatory for you to follow.

The next thing I’m just going to come back I’m going to now back up is my downloads folder so I’m going to create a new folder again it’s going to call this my downloads and if I go into this folder I’m going to then browse my downloads folder in here I have this one file so I’m going to drag that over again. You drag all of your files over let’s come back the next place we need to make sure we have backed up is our music.  So I’m going to go to my music again let’s open this up let’s come over to music and I’ve got two songs to mp3 files here I’m going to drag them over make sure I have them backed up.  So I’m just going to drag them over and again I can come back and we’re almost there so now.  We just need to backup my pictures okay I’ve got two files here so I’m going to back them up.  It’s coming back and finally let’s just create in our last folder which give me my videos.

Okay now let’s come over to my videos I’ve got two files here so let’s agate so I’m just going to copy these two files and drag them over okay so I’ve backed up those two. Alright now in terms of places on your computer that’s about it so what we’ve done now is I’ve basically backed up my files. Okay so we’ve got one folder which we can actually copy over to our external drive but we’re not done but before we continue I’m going to open this up and to show you what we’ve done.  So I’ve basically contained one backup folder which has clearly defined on it the date the backup was made that’s very very important.  Okay we now can open this up and we can clearly see all the different locations where we have backed up so this is my my desktop this is My Documents this is my downloads, my music, my pictures and my videos.

Okay so I know everything I know for a fact everything is backed up ok so the next thing and this is also very important is our emails.  So if you have an email client such as Microsoft Outlook installed on your computer you’re going to want to make sure you have backed up your files for certain. So let’s go ahead and do that so I’m going to open up Microsoft Outlook alright so I’ve opened up Microsoft Outlook and what we want to do now is we want to backup all of our emails so that we can restore them a later date. Now this is a very important step now of course it will depend and the process will be different if you are using a different program.  I’m going to be showing you this example in Microsoft Outlook. Now this is very simple all we need to do is go to file and import/export when we do what we want to select here is we want to export to a file and then click on next once you do it’s going to allow you to select the type of file you want to create we want to create a personal folder file and in brackets it should PST we can click on next it then allows us to select what folders we want to backup I strongly recommend you just select our personal folders that will basically take everything and you can also tick this box to include subfolders.

I’m not going to do that in this example but it’s completely up to you.  I’m going to click on next once I do that it allows me to actually specify the location this file it’s going to be saved in so we’re going to go to browse.  I’m going to select desktop and you can give this a name now so I’m just going to call this my email backup and again very important make sure you put in the date because when you’re making backups it’s very important to know the date that you made this backup.  So let’s just put that in say ok and you can leave this as replace duplicates with items exported from the options menu and then all you have to do is click on fish ok so I’ve now imported exported my emails successfully this is the file I created it’s on my desktop so now I’m going to open up my backups folder and again I’m going to create a new folder.

I’m gonna call this email backup and obviously within this folder I’m gonna drag in this file and that’s all so at this point what we’ve now done is we’ve created this single folder which we can copy and paste this to our hard drive so all you have to do is make your backup and then once you have your backup you simply connect your hard drive with your PC open it up and then simply right click copy and paste this to your hard drive.  So now that we have successfully made our backup and we’ve copied that to a hard drive we don’t need to worry about the computer in terms of the files on it anymore because we have them backed up.

Once we have installed a clean copy of windows we can just insert a harddrive copy over all files and restore everything and we’re back to running as normal.   Now what we need to do is actually initiate the process of recovery we need to reinstall windows. As I said previously with Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 the process is a whole lot easier than it used to be because windows kind of does it for you.  So let me show you how that works and then I’ll explain it a little more.  So the first thing you want to do when I come over to settings and then down here you have this option here for change PC settings.  I’ll open up your PC settings window and here you can just come and select update and recovery.  So from this part you want to select recovery and this is where you’re going to get these three options. Now the one you want to select to format and reinstall windows is this you want to remove everything and reinstall windows.  If you want to recycle your PC or restart completely you can reset it to factory settings which i think is a great explanation of what we’re going to do. So basically you’re going to get a new computer there’s not going to be anything on it it’s going to be completely you know wiped and then reinstalled so it’s basically a new computer.

Now once you actually select get started you’ll initiate the process and windows will take over from there so it will basically reinstall windows for you.  What I recommend you do before you do this is actually make sure your computer is connected to a reliable power supply.  You do not want your computer to shut down mid through the installation and other than that just make sure you leave your computer alone make sure no one’s going to touch it.  Just let it run through the process and reinstall for you and then when it’s back up and running.  Simply as I said previously connect up your hard drive and copy back over all your files from your hard drive to recover your laptop and that’s really it.

So it’s very simple as you can see easy process it’s nothing like it used to be in the past you used to have to do all these different things manually nowadays the software’s so advanced that it can just take over and do everything for you.  As I said this is just going to completely I can’t emphasize this enough it’s going to completely delete all your files reinstall windows make sure that’s what you want to do and if that is what you want to do this is all you have to do. It’s as easy as that simply put it will recycle your PC back to its factory settings I hope you enjoyed this video tutorial and thank you very much for watching.

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