How can I format my harddrive without Windows reinstalling?

Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

pcornall

Thread Starter
Joined
May 21, 2002
Messages
103
I'm giving one of my computers to someone, but without Windows. I therefore need to wipe the harddrive and leave it ready for the person I'm giving it to to install their version of Windows onto it. Can anyone tell me how I can format the drive though without Windows reinstalling? Sorry if this is a dumb question...
 
Joined
Aug 29, 2004
Messages
43
Get a Win98 boot disk from www.bootdisk.com and after booting type

FORMAT C:

If you have multiple partitions on the drive delte them by typing

FDISK

follow directions on the screen to delete partitions and then run the format above.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
If you need specific help with FDISK, see:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/install/fdisk.htm

Topics covered are:
Overview and Getting Started
Partitioning a New Drive - Single Large Partition
Partitioning a New Drive - Multiple Partitions
Deleting a Single Partition
Deleting Multiple Partitions
Deleting a NTFS Partition
Fixing the Master Boot Record

Also make sure your boot floppy has both FORMAT and FDISK (if you need that last one). There were some posts on this forum that not all the disks from that site included everything.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,429
Actually, you may run into problems formatting NTFS partitions. However, for a really clean disk, try DBAN. This will clean EVERYTHING off the drive.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
Pretty sure you can't directly format a NTFS partition from DOS. That is why the link to how to use FDISK first was provided. There is a section in there on "Deleting a NTFS Partition". After the NTFS partitions are deleted, then you can format.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
It all depends on how FDISK was run whether or not you will manually need to set it to be the active partition. Might want to look at that web page on the various ways to run FDISK to help clarify this.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
Also, since there is no indication that NTFS is even a problem but has been brought up, if there are multiple NTFS partitions (not sure that this is an issue either but want to address the solution just in case), FDISK generally can't remove extended NTFS partitions.

But for that there is a DOS based, somewhat GUI interface, program from one of the NT service packs that can remove these as well. Made it available at:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/delpart.exe

So just delete whatever partitions you need (if you need to), correctly create any partitions you need (if you need to), then format away.

Again, the details for how to do this have been previously posted. Hope this helps solve yet another potential situation.
 

bearone2

Banned
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
5,809
Bob Cerelli said:
It all depends on how FDISK was run whether or not you will manually need to set it to be the active partition. Might want to look at that web page on the various ways to run FDISK to help clarify this.
if you don't set the one partition as active you'll never install anything to it unless create/activate are the same command. :cool:
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
bearone2,

Yes. But your first post is only partially true. Again it all revolves around how you create the partition.

Depending on how you create the partition, you don't necessarily need to do make it active afterwards. It will be done as you create the partition.

A perfect example is if you are creating a single partition that is the full size of the hard drive. As you do this (not after) you will be prompted if you want to use the maximum available size for a Primary DOS Partition and to make the partition active. You don't need to do anything afterwards like when you are creating multiple partitions. You can go back and check if you want but if you do it correctly from the beginning, you really don't need to activate it afterwards. It will already be set for you.

Again you might want to look at the various ways you can create partitions and the necessary steps to do this.
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
bearone2,

In reviewing your two posts, you are saying different things in each.

The first one was "after you create/activate the new fat partition". Again, and especially if you are creating a single partition, this is not always a necessary step.

In the second one "if you don't set the one partition as active you'll never install anything". That is true but not exactly the same thing as the first.

Both are again covered in detail on the various ways to use FDISK. I again would invite you to read all the different methods outlined. All include needing to activate a partition if you want to boot from it. But not all require you to do this as an additional step afterwards.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
Joined
Oct 19, 2002
Messages
106,429
pcornall said:
I'm giving one of my computers to someone, but without Windows. I therefore need to wipe the harddrive and leave it ready for the person I'm giving it to to install their version of Windows onto it. Can anyone tell me how I can format the drive though without Windows reinstalling? Sorry if this is a dumb question...
Did you see my link to DBAN? This will do it very effectively...
 
Joined
Nov 2, 2002
Messages
22,468
Guess it depends on how paranoid you are about someone you know you are giving to computer to spending a lot of time trying to recover any data after it was partitioned and formatted.
 

pcornall

Thread Starter
Joined
May 21, 2002
Messages
103
Thanks a lot for all the advice- that dban looks good to me. I'll try it out at the weekend. Appreciate the help.
 
Status
This thread has been Locked and is not open to further replies. Please start a New Thread if you're having a similar issue. View our Welcome Guide to learn how to use this site.

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

As Seen On
As Seen On...

Welcome to Tech Support Guy!

Are you looking for the solution to your computer problem? Join our site today to ask your question. This site is completely free -- paid for by advertisers and donations.

If you're not already familiar with forums, watch our Welcome Guide to get started.

Join over 807,865 other people just like you!

Latest posts

Staff online

Top