By [http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Darrin_Johnson]Darrin Johnson
If you are like most people, your computer is one of the most valuable possessions in your home. This is not simply because of what it is capable of doing, but also for all the information it holds. For most people, computers are practically a family member. Few use date books or traditional calendars anymore because most of what they need is in one place ready to access at any time. For either personal or professional use, a computer is one piece of technology that most of us can no longer live without.
That is why it is so important to know how to reformat your computer's hard drive in case it takes a severe crash or doesn't boot up. The delicate nature of this exercise is reformatting in a way that salvages your data. You should never reformat your computer without knowing the step-by-step directions you need to follow. In fact, you should have very good reasons to justify your decision to reformat at all before doing so. Computer experts agree that reformatting a drive should be the last option you take considering it is such a major change to your computer.
First, long before your computer experiences any significant damage, make a backup of all the information and programs stored on your computer. Without a backup copy of your computer's vital information, you will lose any important documents, passwords, music files, and other desirable data you currently have stored. Backups should be made on regular intervals (weekly or even daily), and done at least monthly.
Additionally, you need a copy of your installation software that usually comes with your computer when you first buy it. It may also be called a backup CD. This includes the operating system that you are using as well as any other software for programs you use that comes standard with your computer. At the same time, you want to make a boot CD which can be created through the control panel on your computer. This will enable you to boot up your computer with that CD.
Finally, you will then take the steps to reformat and install your operating system, such as Windows XP. Follow the instructions completely by installing the system to the hard drive, which is usually drive C. If you are not confident in what you are doing, then by all means take your computer to someone who does, because you do not want to be left with a useless box after completion.
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