How to Reformat a Laptop or Netbook Using a USB Flash Drive

No need for an optical drive.

Your netbook does not come with an optical drive but you can still reformat it using a usb flash drive.

I've reformatted a lot of desktop computers, laptops and netbooks since I learned how to reformat using a USB flash drive only. Normally, you need an installation CD or DVD to reformat a computer. But here, you'll learn how to skip that requirement.

You need the following to reformat using a USB flash drive:

How to reformat netbook using a USB Flash Drive with Screenshots for each step1. The laptop to be reformatted.
2. A USB Flashdrive with at least 4GB capacity.
3. A copy of Windows 7 or other operating system. You can have a copy of Windows 7 from this direct link to their server. 
4. A piece of software called Unetbootin.

Steps in Reformatting Your Netbook

Note: Make sure you have reformatted your flashdrive first and set its format to NTFS for this to work.

1. Download Unetbootin. Install it then run it.

2. Choose Disk Image then browse to the location of the Windows iso file you have just downloaded. Hit OK and wait for the process to finish. This will take about an hour to complete.

3. You now have a bootable flashdrive that you can use to reformat any computer.

4. Boot up the netbook that you have to reformat. Hit Delete or F2 before it starts to go to the BIOS.

5. Go to the Boot section of the BIOS and make sure USB HDD is the first option in the boot priority.

Installing Windows Screenshot

6. Save the settings and reboot.

7. Now, the netbook will boot up from the USB HDD or your flashdrive. Choose the language you want to use during the installation then choose the first large partition to install windows in.

Installing Windows Screenshot

8. Wait for the process to finish and the netbook restarts. When it does, hit Delete to go back to the BIOS and change the boot priority to the main Hard Disk of the unit.

Sit back and relax as windows installs itself. 

Daniel Gubalane Written by Daniel Gubalane - tech blogger, freelance web developer and former Physics teacher. Connect with me on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
Published on Monday, April 02, 2012. Creative Commons License


  1. sir i will try how to format netbook

  2. pagkareformat ba kailangan dadownloadan pa ng drivers

    1. No. Windows 7 has the drivers already. But be sure to install the drivers that came with your PC . It's the CD that's included in the box.

    2. Here is the best Drivers pack :)

  3. San po isasave yung Unetbootin at yung .iso file? sa USB?

    1. You should save the Unetbootin and .iso file in a PC that still operates normally and then run Unetbootin and to make a USB flash drive bootable using the .iso file.

    2. kapag bootable na ba ung usb. ilang gb na ba ung dapat na nasa usb? aftr q kase gamitin ung unetbootin. 7.43 mb pa rin ung laman

    3. 66.3 mb pla. tska d naman umabot 1 hr ung process sa unetbootin.

  4. it says BOOTMGR is missing press ctrl+atl+del to restart? what do I do?

  5. Hello! I just wanna ask. Once I've followed all the steps above, can I just set the DEFAULT setup in BIOS? Coz I can't remember what item used to be my 1st boot priority before I changed it to USB HDD for formatting.

  6. Can I format the USB Flash Drive after being used in reformatting the netbook? I'll use it for normal storage of files. Thanks.

    1. Yes, you can still use that Flash Drive normally after.

  7. i'm having problems with step 7: 7. Now, the netbook will boot up from the USB HDD or your flashdrive. Choose the language you want to use during the installation then choose the first large partition to install windows in.

    after changing my bios default to the usb and saving the settings, what comes up to my screen is just a blue screen and unetbootin on top and default below it. it won't reboot my computer. i'm stuck at this.

  8. ok problem. after installing it asks for a product key. what am i supposed to write?

  9. You shoud have a boot loader dude

  10. Recognizing that үouг chhild is overweight or obese іs the first step yоu'll neеd tօ take to address and correct tɦе
    prοblem. Whhen yyou apply Һer tried-and-true techniques іn the diet plan,
    you'll break ƴоur weight loss plateau, lose ʏour belly fat, improve your
    health ɑnd eliminate yoսr overweight ρroblems permanently,
    wthout ѕide effects. ҬҺe Ideal Fitness Syѕtеm has ebery one οf
    these requirements.

    Hеre is my site - loosing weight

  11. Thankfulness to my father who shared with me on the topic of this website, this webpage is actually remarkable.

    Feel free to visit my homepage ... running sneaker

  12. Undeniably consider that which you stated.
    Your favourite justification seemed to be on the internet
    the simplest factor to understand of. I say to you, I certainly get irked at the same
    time as other folks think about issues that they just don't recognize about.

    You managed to hit the nail upon the highest and also outlined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , people could
    take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thank you

    Also visit my web-site - cenaless (

  13. It houses thousands of manufacturing plants and lures a lot of
    investors. Read here for more information related to Railway Budget 2011 and Railway Budget.
    , lived at 58 Sheffield Terrace and is remembered for her numerous detective novels and short

    Here is my weblog indian railways pnr status

  14. It's very effortless to find out any matter on net as
    compared to textbooks, as I found this article at this site.

    Also visit my web-site :: Smart Berry Slim and true cleanse complete

  15. Very descriptive blog, I enjoyed that a lot. Will there be a part 2?

    Lookk at my web blog :: Tooth Whitening

  16. Hi there, You have one a great job. І will certаinly digg it and personally suggest to my friеnds.
    I'm confident they'll be benefited frpm thiѕ website.

    Alsߋ visіt my blog; buіlders in ԝilmington ()

  17. bro, sakin puro automatic boot in 10 secs nalabas....tapos hanggang dun lang

  18. ahmm sir is this suitable in formating toshiba laptop?
    or can i just reset factory not reformat?

  19. Super tagal niya sa 'set up is starting' thingy :(

  20. Patrick Maina KimaniFebruary 6, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    Am having the same problem.Seekinh for help also

  21. ummmm hahahhaha onc eu change ur boot priority to normal remove ur usb then waallla

  22. ummmm the thing is i do a advance option and selected my local disk c and click format and install windows 7 worked fine ;) you miss that part CLICK FORMAT OPTION


Pinoy Techno Guide