How to Reformat a Dell Laptop with Vista

Written by tyson cliffton
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How to Reformat a Dell Laptop with Vista
Format your laptop before giving it to a friend or family member. (kind am laptop image by Yvonne Bogdanski from

Reformatting your Dell laptop with Windows Vista and restoring it to its factory settings is a relatively quick and painless process. Reformatting the laptop will remove any viruses and is one way to remove old system files and programs you no longer need or use. Reformatting your Dell laptop is a good idea if you plan to sell the computer to someone else or hand it down to a friend or family member.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Restart your Dell laptop, then hold down "F8" while your computer is booting until you arrive at the "Advanced Boot Options" menu.

  2. 2

    Press the down arrow and highlight "Repair Your Computer," then press "Enter."

  3. 3

    Choose the language you want the computer to be restored in, then click "Next." Enter your administrator's user name and password, then click "OK."

  4. 4

    Click "Dell Factory Image Restore," then click "Next."

  5. 5

    Select "Yes, reformat hard drive and restore system software to factory condition," then click "Next."

  6. 6

    Click "Finish" to restart the laptop when the formatting and restoration process is complete.

Tips and warnings

  • If the "Advanced Boot Options" menu does not appear by the time the Windows logo appears on the screen, let the laptop finish booting up, restart the laptop, and try the process again.
  • Depending on the size of your hard drive and how much space you are using, the restoration could take 30 minutes to three hours.
  • Reformatting your laptop and restoring it to its original factory settings will erase all the personal files and programs on your laptop. Back up all your personal files before you reformat your Dell laptop, and make sure you have all the installation discs for any programs you want to install after formatting your laptop. You can back up your information on media, such as CDs or DVDs, or on external devices, such as a flash drive or external hard drive.
  • Do not shut down or restart your Dell laptop after you initiate the formatting and restoration process.

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