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Reformat Windows Vista/7

Make sure that you have your Windows CD, your Windows Product key (usually located with the disk package or on the computer case), any driver disks that came with your computer or other hardware you installed, and the disks for any programs you want re-installed. If you do not have a Windows CD, you may purchase one at UNI, or you may need to contact your system manufacturer.

How To Reformat

Note: Some computer manufacturers such as Dell, eMachines, Gateway, Toshiba, HP, etc. have begun selling computers without an operating system CD. These computers have an option to restore to their original system state. This typically is used to restore your computer to when you first recieved it. For example, Dell users with this option can reformat using this method: Dell PC Restore. If you do not have a Dell and also did not receive an operating system CD when you purchased your computer, you may want to contact your computer manufacturer or consult your computer manufacturer's web site for advice on restoring your system back to its original state.

  1. Place the Windows Vista or 7 DVD into your DVD drive while in Windows. Note: If a window appears after putting in the DVD, close it. Do not select an item from the menu. Reboot your computer with the DVD in the drive.
  2. You now need to boot from the Windows Vista/7 DVD. After restarting, you should see a screen that says "Press any key to boot from CD...". Press a key to start the reformatting process and continue to step 3 below. If you do not see this screen and boot into Windows Vista/7 normally, you may need to try the following:
  • Restart your computer. Before the Windows Vista/7 screen appears, press a key that allows you to choose your Boot Options (usually displayed somewhere on the screen while first starting up). For instance, Dell computers use F12. You should be prompted for booting options and should choose the DVD Drive . If this isn't available, try the next option-
  • You may need to enter your computer's BIOS and change the boot order to allow the DVD drive to boot before the hard drive. Changing this varies by manufacturer and should be accessible by contacting your computer manufacture's support site. Typical options are Delete, F1, or F2. Once in the BIOS, you will need to enable the DVD drive to boot before the hard drive (usually under Boot Order).
3. Your computer will now boot up using the DVD. Select English (US) as the language, choose the proper time zone, and click Next to start the installation. Check the box next to the statment "I accept the license terms" and click Next. When asked which type of installation you would like, select Custom (advanced).


(click for a larger image)

4. You will be asked where you wish to install Windows. Select your current partition and click Next. A window will appear telling you that if there are any files on the selected partition they will be moved to a folder named windows.old. reformat-vista9-thumb


5. Windows Vista will now be installed. This may take some time and then your computer will reboot.

6. Choose a username and password. *Note: Windows 7 may look a little different reformat-vista21-thumb
7. Select Use Recommended Settings. reformat-vista22-thumb
8. Set the date & time. reformat-vista23-thumb
9. Choose Public Location when asked to select your computer's location. *Displays the first time you attempt to connect to the internet reformat-vista24-thumb

10. Windows will now complete the installation. Vista will likely detect the drivers for all of your hardware, but you may need to use the disks that came with your computer or download the updates of your computer manufacturer's web site. Most importantly, run Windows Update ( to protect your computer. If your connection has been disabled, you will not be able to run Windows Update.

Note: If you were required by ResNet to reformat your computer, please email If you did not follow all the steps listed above, your computer will not be reformatted properly and will likely be removed from network access.