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How can I format my harddrive without Windows reinstalling?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by pcornall, Jan 26, 2005.

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  1. pcornall

    pcornall Thread Starter

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    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...
     
  2. Plato!

    Plato!

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    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.
     
  3. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  4. pcornall

    pcornall Thread Starter

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    Thanks a lot!
     
  5. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Actually, you may run into problems formatting NTFS partitions. However, for a really clean disk, try DBAN. This will clean EVERYTHING off the drive.
     
  6. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  7. bearone2

    bearone2 Banned

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    after you create/activate the new fat partition.
     
  8. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  9. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  10. bearone2

    bearone2 Banned

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    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:
     
  11. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  12. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  13. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    Did you see my link to DBAN? This will do it very effectively...
     
  14. Bob Cerelli

    Bob Cerelli

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    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.
     
  15. pcornall

    pcornall Thread Starter

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    Thanks a lot for all the advice- that dban looks good to me. I'll try it out at the weekend. Appreciate the help.
     
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