When is a Good Time to Reformat a Computer?


Sometimes reformatting a computer can be healthy. So here’s a question that should be asked when it comes to reformatting a computer. Is how to know when it’s the “right” time to reformat? With some research and a little personal experience, I found a few reasons on why it could be healthy to reformat a computer twice a year. One major reason was due to clutter on the computer causing the slow down load times and even boot speed.
 It could be a variety 

of things making a computer do this, but the main one I noticed was files not being used that are taking up too much space. Now the part of that complication is becoming clearer let’s cap off the amount of GB on the computer, it will seem to progressively get slower.

Eventually you’ll notice a difference in the boot speed and it will become frustrating. I have an article that goes over reformatting you computer in more detail on How to Speed up your Old Computer. Let’s look at some signs that would indicate if a reformat needs to be done.  

‘Generally a good time to reformat your computer is approximately every 6 months due to clutter. Keep note of a few things that can occur that might convince you to reformat. Your computer slows down not only in boot up speed but in load speed. You have too much cluttered information/programs to where you are losing file locations. Possible virus on your computer changing the way the computer acts such as not letting you push the start button. This could be bad, so let’s take a look at some more examples of good times and bad times to reformat.’

Good Time to Reformat


Generally there are signs that show up that could indicate a slower load time or speed. Some of these symptoms that might reveal themselves are as follows:

  • Slow Boot Time
  • Slow Load Time
  • Windows for internet not opening or taking more than a few seconds to open
  • Programs not opening or taking longer than a few seconds to open
  • Programs showing up in random locations on your computer screen or programs you have never seen or use in random locations on your screen
  • Programs uninstalling themselves(this is rare but it does happen in cases of having a virus)
  • Not being able to click any program to open or even the start button(this is usually from a virus and can easily be fixed, however this is a good time to reformat especially if it has to do with a virus)

Most of the above are perfect examples of things that would be a good idea to keep an eye out for as it would be a great time to reformat. Why? Mainly due to reseting a computer and erase any traces of viruses that might have snuck into the system, and excessive amount of programs installed, etc. This will give the computer a refresh so it can not only get rid of programs that are more than likely not being used, but really give the computer a boost it hasn’t had since receiving/building it! 


It is always a good practice to keep watch over a computers performance especially when purchasing a prebuilt computer. It will make the computer last longer while giving a better return on your investment, via the computer.

After experiencing some of these problems myself I spent hours looking up ways to fix it or uninstall programs. In a rare case, a computer won’t allow the uninstallation of a program. This would also be another example of reformatting being a good thing. 

I have shown and written many examples of times where it might be a good idea to consider reformatting. However, reformatting should not always be the sole solution to seek when trying to repair a computer or remove excess programs. Let’s talk about how reformatting too much could harm a computer and to just consider the possibility it’s time for a new computer.

Bad Time to Reformat


So this is the other side to the coin when it comes to reformatting. You would think giving a computer a good refresh would benefit it but too much of anything is never good. Let’s take a quick look at some examples where reformatting would not be a good idea.

  • Reformatting monthly (although can sound good is too short of a time period, especially if you are keen on holding family pictures, funny photos, or anything else)
  • Trying to keep all your files but wanting to speed up computer(after attempting this myself, I saw no difference in load speed or boot speed, it doesn’t get rid of the files crowding your computer and you more or less waste time doing the easy reformat instead of the longer one that removes everything)
  • Not backing up files(this one is important following the previous point, you need to remove the files in order to speed up your computer and the only way to do that is getting rid of it, when you save your file in another location the computer still holds that information even if you moved it and it needs to be removed)
  • Reformatting your computer fully but not updating drives and everything you had beforehand (this sounds easy to remember, but many forget to update these things and it will ultimately keep your computer slow even after the formatting)

These are just things to keep in mind when reformatting a computer. Don’t intentionally put a computer in a bad situation just you want a 1 second load time instead of a 2 second load time. Having a serious issue or something not normal is usually okay as it could just be the computer getting old and in need of new hardware. I just wanted to list all of the things that could come up as I have experienced most of these the hard way, and let me tell you it is not a good time.  

After laying out the bad times to reformat, it just comes down to troubleshooting whether or not it is a good time to do so. However, one major key point I mentioned is something I want to touch upon so you can remember to do this before erasing all of your important information!

Backing Up Files

The number one thing I want to make sure you all do is back up your files! I can’t count how many times I have heard someone in distress due to erasing important information or pictures. Not just hearing it, but doing it myself a couple times.

It is the worst and most stressful situation to be in while watching your saved files be wiped clean and there is nothing that can be done about it. Here are a few tips that will help remind everyone to always remember to keep backup with you.

  • Buy a USB Storage(they are cheap and can hold majority of your pictures or information you need)
  • Keep the USB Storage close to your computer or next to it to always remind yourself
  • Write a note on your computer screen or computer on important information you need to keep
  • Writing in notepad and keeping it on your desktop of important information you need to save
  • Monthly Spring cleaning (every month just clear your computer of any important information and put it on your USB Storage)
  • Have a separate computer to store all the information

All of these tips will help and hopefully benefit everyone to remember which information or programs that need to be saved. I can’t stress it enough that backing up your files will save you a ton of heartache. I made a point on spring cleaning your computer every month. So how often should you reformat?

How Often Should You Reformat?


Even though I have the answer above stating 6 months. Everyone has a different situation so it could be longer or shorter due to those situations. For example, having constant files being saved that are larger might result in capping the amount of storage on the computer slowing it down in a small period of time.

This would imply a much needed process to remove those files consistently or move them to another location if not wanting the computer to be constantly get get bogged down. This is the complete opposite if you are just using the computer to browse the web or even enjoy some youtube videos. 

The best way to look at how often you should reformat is just see how often you take in and save information. Maybe you don’t take or save information that often but your computer is slower. Something like this could just be your computer getting old which happens.

I wanted to list out majority of the situations but I can’t cover everything as there are tons of possibilities that can occur. Just take note of these things and stay up to date with your computer and you will be successful with taking care of it.

I hope this information was helpful for you. Let me know down below or email me at Tekchaser@gmail.com. Thanks for reading my article and I hope to see you in the next one. Bye for now!