Aii-yii. It's 36 degrees right now and I live in Florida. Doesn't that sound like an oxymoron? It does to me. Well I didn't come on here to complain about the weather (no, I complain about it on Twitter)..I came on here to inform you that last week I formatted my computer. By myself. Yeah I know I alread told you I formatted my Windows XP computer. My purpose now is to help those poor souls who are going to take on that feat all by themselves. May heaven be with you my child. Anyway lets get right down to it.
First you should know; It will take you all day, especially if this is your first time. So make sure you have the time to be able to do it.
Secondly read this post (mine) and this one and this one before you wipe out your computer. And print all of those up so you have something to refer back to.
Thirdly, have an external harddrive to back up everything, pictures, music, documents, online antivirus software (that is if you got it online) etc.
Backup and restore all your Windows drivers on that external harddrive, also save the installation for whichever program you used to back up all your drivers (I used DriverMax, it's easy to use). So if you downloaded DriverMax, save that installation file on your harddrive, cause once you wipe your computer you won't be able to connect to the internet to download and install DriverMax (or whatever other program you choose).
I recommend watching this, it gives you a selection of driver backups and how to use them.
Alright next, find out exactly what you have inside your computer's little head. You can print out what software, drivers, installers, you have from your Device Manager but I recommend downloading and using Belarc Advisor in addition to printing out what you have on your Device Manager. It will basically audit your computer. A very nice feature. So print out those two things, you might be needing these papers later so don't do anything without them.
Now make sure you have all your discs, to reinstall your software (ie. A Windows XP installation CD with a valid Product Key, Drivers CD). These CD's should have come with your computer. If not....well find a way to get them. Also make sure you have your software CD's (ie Microsoft Office, Photoshop CS3) with your valid serial keys.
And lastly......make sure you have an extra laptop....see if you can borrow a friend's. Cause once you start wiping it you can't get back online and look up something that you have a question about. So it would be a good idea to have another computer to do that with.
Got all that? Okay good. Time to start over.
Insert the Windows installation disk into your CD drive, shut down your PC.
Then, boot from CD which bascially means when it's starting up, you should see a black screen before your blue Windows logon screen. When you see that black screen punch F12 or F2 (depending on your computer).
Follow the Windows installation. I would go into more detail but the site that I referred you to at the beginng of this post did such a nice job...that I'm gonna refer you to that. Now this is going to take forever. So go see a movie..actually go see 2 movies...yes, it will take that long if not longer. Mine took 4 and a half hours.
After that's done though...bam! Say hello to your new Windows! :)
Now it may be a lil outta whack...screen might be messed up, icons too big/small, whatever...that's cause you don't have the drivers to make it run normal and pretty like.
So install any missing drivers. Chnaces are though you won't have all of them (at least I didn't). Now remember that DriverMax I had you download? Well, install it on your computer and import all the drivers you had exported to your harddrive before you formatted.
Next, install a anti-virus protection. Pronto. I highly, gigantically, recommend you do it before you go online.
If your anti-virus was on a CD go ahead and upload it. If you downloaded it online....well make sure you download it on to your external harddrive before you wipe it, so that you can download it on to your computer from your external harddrive.
Now, go online and update Windows. Be sure to install any software updates you need and make sure your firewall is up and you are protected.
And you're done! Let me know how it works out for you :)