Skip to Main Content Area Site Selections - Account, Store, Cart General Information - Store Pickup, Customer Support, Catalog, Service Product Search Form Product Category Navigation Product Brand Navigation Footer

How to Initiate a Full System Recovery on HP and Compaq Notebooks

Make sure your machine is plugged in, and press the power button. Watch the monitor as your machine begins to power up. When you see an F-11 message flash on the screen, press the F-11 function key once or twice, then wait.

Important! Back up any data that you do not want to lose! The following process will erase all data currently on your PC.

  1. Power off your notebook.
  2. Make sure that your notebook is plugged in to an outlet with your ac-adapter.
  3. Press the power button then press the F-11 function key once or twice before booting into Windows.
  4. In a few moments a menu will appear giving you several system restore options (including a default factory restore).

Keep in mind any software applications or data that you have not already backed up will be erased when you perform the default factory restoration.

* This document was originally based on current system models available in November 2011, however the process continues to work for many models five years later.

Part II: Recovering From a Virus or Malware

After your notebook has been reset to the default settings, you may discover that a limited or trial version of antivirus software has been pre-installed on your system. If you do not intend to purchase this trial software, then you should remove (uninstall) it from your system before installing any other third-party antivirus programs. If you do not remove the trial version, serious software conflict issues may result. Conflicts between multiple antivirus applications can include the system locking up, crashing, restarting, or running extremely slow. After installing any antivirus program, it is important to activate it, update it (via the Internet), and to keep it updated. Viruses, Spyware & Malware surface daily and may infiltrate your computer at any time, so be vigilant.

Note: Do not copy infected data from a data backup, back on to your computer. If you saved files on your computer onto an external hard drive, flash drive or other media (when you had the virus), there is a pretty good chance that that data is also infected.

If your data is on a flash drive or external hard drive, open your antivirus software to scan and clean the removable drive. If the antivirus program cannot clean an infected file, your best option is to delete the file or program. Do not copy it back on to your system without first making sure that all viruses have been removed.