Wipe Vista in two steps: Part 1

Unlike the easy reformat and reinstall process, this step-by-step reformat and reinstall is a little more involved and requires you to go into the system BIOS so you can boot from your Vista DVD. It adds, however, the advantage of being able to destroy your Windows partition so there is no residual data on your hard drive.

This is a good choice if your system has been infected by a virus or spyware and you want to start fresh.

This process is divided into two steps. Step 1 (this article) shows you how to edit the BIOS and boot with your Windows Vista DVD.

Step 2 for Vista reinstall shows you how to proceed with the reinstall.

Let’s get started with Step 1.

First, we have to make the system bootable from your Vista DVD, so you’ll need to make an edit to a BIOS setting.

This process is not for the feint of heart. The BIOS is a series of settings that control how a PC is set up and how it works with its hardware.

Edit the BIOS

Here’s how to get into it. First, restart your system. When the computer starts to boot, look for an option before you get to the Windows screen that reads: “Setup” “CMOS,” or “Bios”. This varies between manufacturers. For example, on the of my Dell boot screen, it says: “F2 =Setup”.

The option will flash by quickly so be ready for it and react quickly. You may need to reboot a few times to catch it.

Once in the BIOS, look for a setting that says “Boot” or “Boot Sequence”. You might have to dig through the menus with your keyboard’s arrow keys to locate the setting. In my Dell, it’s listed as Boot Sequence. In my ThinkPad, I had to navigate to Startup, then Boot, and then Boot Priority Setting.

When you find the setting, change your DVD drive so that it occupies the top of the list. The hard drive that contains Windows Vista should be listed as second in the boot list.

Boot with Vista disc

Next, put the Windows Vista installation disc in the designated drive.

Now, select the Save Changes and Exit option in the BIOS. The computer will restart and will attempt to read the optical drive you just assigned as the first bootable drive.

The system will use the Windows Vista disc to boot and the reformat and reinstall process will start.

Continue to Step 2 >