Subscriber Ken wrote with a short and simple question — he wants to reformat his laptop computer’s hard drive and to reinstall Windows. However, his question has some underlying possible issues and answers:
I have a laptop HP. It is about 4 years old. It did not come with a windows Cd. My question. How can I reformat this computer?
First, I assumed that Ken really meant that he wanted to reformat his computer’s hard drive so that he could reinstall Windows.
Since he doesn’t have the Windows operating system CD (I don’t think HP has provided operating system CD’s in a long, long time), his best bet is to reinstall Windows from the recovery CD’s / DVD’s that came with his system.
I wrote back to Ken to tell him that he can contact HP for a recovery CD/DVD, if he doesn’t have one.
Sometimes manufacturers do not provide recovery CDs/DVDs, but instead install a Recovery Partition with the files necessary for rebuilding the computer.
Or, the manufacturer may require the user to create recovery CDs/DVDs using their DVD burner. Sometimes they do both — have a Recovery Partition AND enable creation of recovery CDs/DVDs.
HP has, in the past, made Recovery DVDs available to owners at a nominal price.
I suggested that he check the HP web site. He may find that he can order the recovery CD’s/DVD via the web site. More likely, he will find a customer service phone number that he can call to order them.
However, Ken may have had other plans…
If he wants to reformat the hard drive so that he could install a different version of Windows, that can be handled by the new version of Windows.
Similarly, he might want to reformat the drive so that he could install one of the various distributions of Linux.
Just as with Windows, the Linux distributions come with tools to reformat and create new hard drive partitions as part of the installation process.
So, if Ken wants to reinstall the Windows XP (probably XP) that came on his computer originally, he needs to contact HP to get a recovery CD/DVD. If he wants to install a different version of Windows or a version of Linux, the CD/DVD of the new operating system will include the tools.