How to Reformat a HP Pavilion Notebook


Hewlett Packard's Pavilion notebook computers come with a recovery partition and built-in recovery media that you can use to restore your computer to its factory condition. This has its advantages -- it's easy, for one -- but it doesn't give you absolutely control of the process. The recovery process does format your hard drive and reinstall Windows, but it also reinstalls all of the software that originally shipped with your system.

HP Recovery

  • Click "Start." Type "recovery" into the search field, then click "Recovery Manager" to launch HP's recovery software. If Windows is operating normally, you can begin the recovery process from here. Click "Advanced option," "System Recovery," then click "Next." Your Pavilion restarts and launches the recovery software. If you can't use Windows normally, proceed to Step 2.

  • Reboot your system, then tap "F11" as soon as the notebook turns back on. The recovery process launches. Click "No" if prompted to use Microsoft recovery. The recovery program also gives you an option to back-up your files, if desired.

  • Click "Next" after the backup to proceed. Click "Next" again to begin the recovery process. You don't need to do anything; just watch. The process takes between 20 and 45 minutes, depending upon your system. During the recovery, the computer reboots several times. Don't tap "F11" any more, just let it work. When the computer boots to the Windows desktop and doesn't open any new programs or installation wizards, the recovery is complete. Your system is back to its factory configuration.

Recovery Disc

  • Purchase a copy of your operating system from HP. Since most Pavilion notebooks come with a recovery program and not with the discs to reinstall the operating system, you'll have to pay for it. When the disc arrives, you can use it to format the computer.

  • Insert the Windows operating system disc into your CD or DVD drive and turn off the computer. Turn the computer back on and look for a message saying "Press any key to boot from CD." By default, all Pavilion notebooks boot from a CD before the hard drive. Tap any key to launch the Windows setup utility.

  • Press F8 to accept the license conditions, then press Enter to begin the setup program. If prompted to repair Windows, hit the Esc key. Select a partition to install Windows to using the up and down arrow keys, then press Enter. Choose "Format the partition using the NTSF file system" to completely erase the drive. If you want, you can also delete all of your partitions and re-partition your hard drive during the install. Windows formats the drive, then copies the files it needs to complete the install. When your Pavilion reboots, don't press a key to boot from the CD.

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