Have you ever had problems when reformatting a Windows computer?

Deleted member 568892

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I once reformatted a Windows laptop with an SSD and HDD. Windows was originally on the SSD but somehow got transferred to the HDD after reformatting it which slowed it down from that point onwards.

I tried transferring Windows back to the SSD and somehow managed to fuck up my laptop to the point where my only remaining option was to install Linux on it. Even if I downloaded a clean Windows image, the laptop required some weird laptop GPU driver which I wasn't able to sort out.

A few years later I got a new gaming laptop and now I want to reformat it but am afriad of fucking up a new laptop with hardware good by 2021 standards.
 

tech3475

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Last time I had problems, it was back in the BIOS/MBR days with a multi-boot environment (e.g. hiding partitions to force XP to be C drive and not D).

With the GPU driver, in the past I had an issue on one laptop where I had to either use the HP driver or modify the generic Nvidia driver (adding the PCI Vendor/Device ID). But my last two laptops (1 AMD and the other Nvidia) have been fine with the generic one.

These days I generally don't have much issues with clean installs.

I would start by making a backup of the entire computer onto a USB drive using something like Macrium Reflect Free along with recovery media for Macrium, this way you can restore the system as is.

There are two options you can try, one is 'Reset This PC':
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us...-your-pc-51391d9a-eb0a-84a7-69e4-c2c1fbceb8dd

If however you want to do a completely clean install, you can try:
1) Download and make a copy of the Windows 10 installer (presuming that's your OS):
https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/windows10
2) Download a copy of all the drivers/software from the OEMs website and any separate drivers/software you need initially e.g. the latest GPU driver from AMD/Nvidia. Put these onto the same drive as the W10 installer.
3) If the OEM provides software to make an official restore CD/USB drive, do it as an extra precaution.
4) Make sure to boot windows with UEFI and not BIOS/CSM unless you have to (it should say in the boot menu where you select the USB drive if it's UEFI)
5) When in the windows installer, using the command prompt to 'clean' the windows drive (use this but only go up to step 5):
https://www.microcenter.com/tech_ce...diskpart-utility-preparing-to-install-windows

This will completely wipe the drives, so make sure to select the correct drives and have your backups/recovery media.

Then you can reboot, start the installer again and install windows following the instructions. When prompted for a key, just select 'I Don't have one' if you're using the one that came with the system (unless you were actually given a key of course, but modern OEMs should be embedding this in the BIOS, at least since Windows 8).
 

FAST6191

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One option.
Hard drives are dirt cheap at this point. Maybe get one of them and leave the original so you can drop it back in later. Probably even speed it up a bit unless you sprang/got stung serious money* for them to put a decent SSD in.
*I don't know what it is about laptop makers these days but for them to put a SSD in seems to be "take whatever the list price for the SSD is, double it and call that the upgrade price" where most things in years past were "add the difference in our OEM cost".

Anyway only issues tend to be when a hard drive has died/is dying, finding drivers for things (usually not the worst thing in the world since everything went on the internet, even graphics stuff can often be dodged).

For more modern stuff I am even less concerned; modern Windows installs have enough basic drivers on them that you are not going to be left scrambling for network drivers, hard drive drivers, USB drivers, graphics drivers that display in more than postage stamp resolution... outside of some very odd server or high end workstation setups.
Indeed I am more likely to spend time concerned about restoring someone's browser settings, email setups, photos and whatever else.
 

Dr_Faustus

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Certain M.2 SSD's pre-installed in consumer grade Laptops and PC's can be potentially FUBAR if you are not careful about how to reformat them.

Had to do so in one case with a customer bought new system and wanted his data to be cloned to the new hardware, only for the M.2 to go missing because the old system clone image was using Legacy BIOS while the new hardware was UEFI only, making the M.2 incompatible to see it on the new hardware.

It took some headache inducing effort to erase it properly because it still would only identify in Legacy even after clearing the M.2. Lesson is to avoid cloning images to M.2's in the future unless you have a knife to your neck, in which case make an image of the stock M.2 OS install before you attempt to put the cloned image on said M.2. At least doing this will give you the means to image it back to stock if it all goes to hell.
 

Viri

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Yes, Windows 10 trying to phone home, and failing to connect to their server, after I connect to Wi-Fi. It would connect to Wi-Fi, then try something with my account, fail, and make me put my Wi-Fi password in again. I had to downgrade the Windows 10 installer, to the point where it wouldn't need to phone home to actually install. But if I downgraded too far, the touch pad wouldn't work, even after installing all the drivers.

Freaking annoying, turned a simple install into a 3 hour process. It didn't even have an offline install option, unless I downgraded the Windows 10 ios.
 

Dr_Faustus

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How does formatting a drive transer the entire OS to a different drive? Lol. There's parts to the story missing here.
Not him, but depending on how the configuration of the BIOS is the SSD might be set up as a secondary listed drive and not the primary. This can be changed either physically or in the settings if it supports it. Typically your OS drive should always be in SATA0, which on a decent system might not matter too much but sometimes depending on the Mobo it can affect things. Plus Windows might have assumed the HDD is the primary drive instead of the SSD when choosing to install the OS. Could have been user error as well.

I've seen it all. Hell I have seen someone install Windows on a USB drive by mistake. When they removed the USB their OS went missing. One of the funniest things I have seen. :rofl2:
 
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ElSasori69

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First case, when trying to Install Windows 10 on a computer that had an MBR partition (It came with windows 7 originally and they just used the update option instead of doing a totally new OS installation) now I know that Windows 10 actually has a MBR to GPT converter for its main disk(the one where the OS is installed without the need of formatting It's weird that you can't do it with the other disks I mean without formatting those disk itself).

Second case I needed to install Windows 7 but I just couldn't find a way to boot the disc because the keyboard didn't respond on startup for some reason, my solution for that was to force recovery mode by turning-off the computer in a bad way several times (I think It was 3 or 5) second solution I thought afterwards was to carry a PS/2 Keyboard those are (being said in a very simplistic way) faster than the USB ones.

Third case, I needed to install Windows 7 on a computer that has no CD reader and that just had USB3.0 ports, I had to make a bit of research for this, fortunatle I found an easy way, and that was using a Gigabyte Tool that I would share with all of you It's called GIGABYTE Windows USB Installation Tool, I tried to attach it on this post but It's too large to share, apparently with this tool you can even install Windows 7 to an NVME, that's cool
 

brickmii82

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Yes. When I built my first full gaming computer I installed the boot as legacy because I had no idea about UEFI. I think I reformatted to get rid of some malware at some point and when I went to boot up after reinstalling, things didn't match because one part was legacy and one part was UEFI. @linuxares had to help me get it straightened out and corrected lol.
 

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