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<p>9am - 5:30pm, M-F</p><br> Sat-Sun, spent with friends and family.

How the Windows Reinstall Works

If you have ever been to a computer repair shop, or on a computer repair forum/website, you have inevitably heard the term format and reinstall.

What does it windows reinstall do? What does it fix?

A format and reinstall basically consists of wiping your system’s hard drive and reinstalling the Operating System that came with your computer. The process can fix basically any software issue in the system including viruses, slowness, corrupt operating systems, etc.

I personally perform this operation on my own system every 3-5 years. Wiping the system completely can greatly improve your system’s performance after years of built-up temp files, programs, and malware. Optimizations/clean-ups can be performed, but may not get the same result.

When I say that this is a great fix for software, I mean that it will fix the problems listed above, but it will not fix bad hardware such as your hard-drive, ram, or motherboard.

So can I do it on my own? I have the disks that came with my system!

A clean Format and Reinstall means that you will need to completely wipe the data off of your system, reinstall windows (the correct version), reinstall updated drivers, authorize windows, install windows updates, and install necessary software.

This can be a fairly time consuming process, and it can be done incorrectly. Also, the steps vary according to your operating system, (Linux and Apple’s OS include different steps).

Will I lose EVERYTHING??!!!!

Software cannot be backed up. I REPEAT: software cannot be backed up. You will have to reinstall any programs like Microsoft Office, Quickbooks, and alternative browsers.

The good news – You can back up your data. Data is the information that you have created with programs. The main folders in a backup are: Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos, and Downloads.

The bad news – Backups can sometimes turn into a tricky process. If for example, you have a virus, a bad hard drive, or a corrupt OS, you may need a dedicated, separate computer to pull that information.

Can’t I just do a System Restore?

A system restore may fix your issue, and it may not. A computer technician can determine the best option for you.

So…. can I do a clean install on my own? I have all the disks that came with my system!

Our recommendation is to take it to your local computer repair shop. They can make sure that it is the best option, and complete all the necessary steps to saving your data. I repeat this often asked question to reiterate that things can go wrong during an install that can be avoided or solved by a trained technician. Remember: a format and reinstall may not be your only option, and diagnostics should be performed if only to know that your hard drive is healthy.

Why was this blog post so long winded?

Oh, it could have been so much longer. I just wanted to answer some of the questions that often come up in our stores. The format and reinstall is a great fix, but it does come with consequences.

Again, I do recommend taking your system to a technician before making any hasty decisions. Here at Computer Depot Inc., we perform free diagnostics so that we can know exactly the right fix for the right situation. Those diagnostics will help us to answer any questions that you may have about your computer.


Caleb Humphries

Store Manager – Sevierville


Caleb Humphries

Tech Specialist and Creative Developer. It's all about music, break/fix, network architecture, and old video games with me.