How to Format a Hard Drive

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How to Format a Hard Drive

The process to format a hard drive will vary depending on exactly how you want to format the hard drive: with or without a Windows startup disk.

Option One: Formatting for a fresh Windows Installation

First thing you have to do is insert the Windows XP disk into the CD-ROM and reboot the machine. When the computer starts back up enter into your Setup screen and make sure that your BIOS is set to have your CD-ROM be your first boot up device. Once this is correct hit F10 to save and exit the setup screen.

Once you are out of the setup screen, a message will display “Press Any Key to Boot from CD” at this time do as the command says. Once you have pressed any key the computer will boot up from the CD-ROM. After several minutes, a message will come up on the screen asking to either install Windows XP, Repair Windows, or Exit.

At this time you want to Install Windows XP. Follow the on-screen commands, as the next window will come up and ask you to read the User Agreement and Hit Accept. Once you have hit accept, you come to a screen where it ask you which Drive you would like to use. Once you select your proper drive it ask if you would like to do a “Quick” or a “Full” format of the hard drive, and you will choose which ever you need at the time. Once this process is complete the drive is completed formatted and the bare minimum files for Windows are placed on the drive. That is one way to format your drive for a fresh Windows Install.

Option Two: Formatting by MS-DOS, complete format, no files on the Hard Drive

This is older way of formatting a hard drive, and usually is never used unless you are wanting to completely wipe and clean the hard drive and leave nothing on it at all. In order to do a complete wipe of the system you have to restart the computer and enter into a DOS prompt. This can be done a couple different ways. On computers with Windows ME and older, you have an option to restart the computer in MS-DOS mode; if you have a newer version of Windows you must have some sort of Windows Boot disk in order to start the computer in a DOS prompt.

Note: We are going to format the drive “C:” Your drive letter may be different. If you would like to format D:, enter D: where we enter C:.

Once you are at a DOS prompt follow the following commands:

C:\Documents and Settings\UserNameXXX> Format C:

WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK
DRIVE C: WILL BE LOST!

Proceed With Format (Y/N)?

Give this answer a Y, and the format process will begin.

Once this is complete, all data on the drive will be completely gone, and the drive will be fresh with no data on it.


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* Now that you’ve successfully formatted your hard drive, you now need to recover many of your computer’s key elements and functionalities. If you don’t know how to install video card, here’s an excellent article that shows you how. If you want to liven up your Internet experience, check out how to install a webcam. If you’re moving away from wired connections and going wireless broadband all the way, you may need to know how does a wireless router work.

Other Articles on Formatting Hard Drives

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Comments

  1. JohnnyBoyClub said,

    on June 18th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    All people should know before any format are 3 basic steps :

    1. Backup your data
    2. Format the pc ( also i think the best way to format is inserting a bootable disk and format from setup )
    3. Restore the database using the same software .

    And you are ready to go

  2. ram said,

    on July 7th, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    im trying to reformat through dos but when i type in C:\Documents and Settings\UserNameXXX> Format C:

    this msg pops up please help
    C:\Documents and Settings\UserNameXXX> Format C: the type of the file system is RAW
    Please use the /FS switch to specify the file system you wish to use on this volume.

    what steps do i need to take please help

  3. Nash said,

    on July 5th, 2009 at 5:35 am

    Hi .,
    Please anyone can help?i have an HP 5010 duch version window XP pro.I wanted to format the hard drive and install fresh XP pro english version.I went through the procedure BIOS setup and set to reboot from cd room.when i load the XP cd to install it goes through the setup and when it come to the level option install window ..press enter.
    then repair window hit R …and exit f3.I pres enter and the message come as window cant detect hard drive abnd please insert hard drive.presently window xp version dutch runs well.
    many thanks for your help.
    Nash

  4. Karen said,

    on June 30th, 2009 at 8:39 am

    Would Windows XP Profesional Utility: Setup disks for floppy boot install work to make mi computer work again?

  5. Karen said,

    on June 25th, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    My computer won’t let me get into windows, I think it’s because it has a virus. I had windows xp on the computer but I dont have the disk. If I chose to format using MS Dos, do I need to buy a windows instalation disk or can I download the drivers from the internet?

  6. Hernan Rodriguez said,

    on April 18th, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Alan, I undertood tthe process to format and install windows xp, after we do all the step you said, do we have to downloading any upgrade? thank you

  7. alan said,

    on March 20th, 2009 at 9:49 am

    if i save some folders like, my photo folder with all my photos and another folder with all my music to a usb memory or in some other device (like an ipod hard drive).. can i transfer it safely back to my computer or loptop once it has been formated and the windows vista has been re installed??????

  8. AL said,

    on March 16th, 2009 at 11:20 am

    Option One: Formatting for a fresh Windows Installation

    First thing you have to do is insert the Windows XP disk into the CD-ROM and reboot the machine. When the computer starts back up enter into your Setup screen and make sure that your BIOS is set to have your CD-ROM be your first boot up device. Once this is correct hit F10 to save and exit the setup screen.

    Once you are out of the setup screen, a message will display “Press Any Key to Boot from CD” at this time do as the command says. Once you have pressed any key the computer will boot up from the CD-ROM. After several minutes, a message will come up on the screen asking to either install Windows XP, Repair Windows, or Exit.

    At this time you want to Install Windows XP. Follow the on-screen commands, as the next window will come up and ask you to read the User Agreement and Hit Accept. Once you have hit accept, you come to a screen where it ask you which Drive you would like to use. Once you select your proper drive it ask if you would like to do a “Quick” or a “Full” format of the hard drive, and you will choose which ever you need at the time. Once this process is complete the drive is completed formatted and the bare minimum files for Windows are placed on the drive. That is one way to format your drive for a fresh Windows Install.

  9. Paul Markfort said,

    on February 26th, 2009 at 6:58 am

    It is dangerous to your personal safety to destroy a hard drive with a drill or by smashing it (small flying metal fragments and metal dust from the drive platters which could damage your lungs if inhaled). If you do this make sure you are outside and are wearing protective clothing, gloves and safety glasses (and probably a simple breathing mask). I think GMA should have included this safety information on the air.

    For a personal machine it is probably easier to securely wipe the data (although you will have to let the process run for several hours). You can do this with DBAN which is a free program provided with the SystemRescue CD ( http://www.sysresccd.org/ ) Or you can download dban alone if you want to make a boot floppy ( http://www.dban.org/ )

    There are other programs like DBAN which do patterned, secure erasure of the entire hard drive (not just a format). The benefits – you don’t have to take your computer apart – you don’t risk hurting yourself – and you can give your computer to charity in full working order ; with good assurance that nobody (not even the NSA) can recover any usable data from the hard drive.