Search Google Appliance

Computer Reimaging

Reimaging a computer is the process of removing all data on the hard drive and cleanly reinstalling the operating system. Reimaging can become necessary if your computer is infected with a virus and is blocked from using the PSU Wi-Fi network, if a new operating system needs to be installed, or if the system has begun to run slowly or encounter errors.

Understanding Reimaging

Data Backup

Make sure to back up all data that you want saved before your computer is reimaged. OIT recommends that you back up your data using network or cloud storage; alternatively, you could back up to a CD, DVD, flash drive, external hard drive, etc. OIT does not back up data on public computers (labs, classrooms, and kiosks). The Helpdesk will make an attempt to backup and restore PSU software and personal data for faculty/staff computers, but ultimately all personal data is your responsibility to save.


Reimaging a computer involves formatting the hard drive that contains the operating system (usually "Local Disk C" on a PC and "Macintosh HD" on a Mac). This deletes all software and data on that drive, and prepares it for a fresh installation of the operating system (Windows 7, Mac OS 10.8, etc).

All software will need to be reinstalled after the computer has been formatted. The Office of Information Technology (OIT) will reinstall anything that was purchased through OIT's software sales, but you will need to provide licenses/product keys for all other purchased software on the computer.

Eligible Computers

OIT provides reimaging services for any PSU-owned computers to meet the needs listed in the introduction of this article. PSU-owned computers receive a campus standard image that is different from what is installed from a manufacturer's operating system installation disc. Additionally, the Helpdesk will reimage computers that have been blocked from using PSU's network due to a virus infection. This service is free for faculty and staff; students will be charged $25 for the procedure.

If the affected computer is your personal computer, you also have the option of reimaging the computer yourself or paying a third party (ex: repair shop) to reimage it. You can then simply bring your computer to the Helpdesk for verification that the computer has been reimaged and we will lift the block. If you are unable to bring your computer in, contact the Helpdesk so that we can verify it remotely.

Windows Product Keys

The Helpdesk will need a valid license/product key to reinstall Windows on a PC. (Note that the Helpdesk will already have the Windows product keys for PSU-owned computers.)

To find your Windows product key:

  • Product key stickers are usually attached to the outside of the computer, but may be included with the computer documentation.
  • In some rare cases, brand-name computers may include model-specific versions of Windows on CD or DVD (OEM). In those cases, bring the OEM Windows install discs in with your computer to expedite the reinstallation.

If you don’t have a valid Windows product key, you can buy one from:

  • the PSU bookstore
  • a retailer (Amazon, Best Buy, etc)
  • your computer manufacturer (Dell, HP, etc)
  • students in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science (MCECS) can obtain a copy through their department

Further Resources

Contact the Helpdesk for additional assistance.