How to Format a Hard Drive

A new hard drive can’t be used unless it is formatted. Learning how to format a hard drive may become necessary when your operating system gets corrupted or you simply just want to start over after a system crash. When you format a hard drive you basically erase every bit of data on it thus wiping it clean as if it is a new one. The hard drive surface is also prepared to store new data.

There are different steps on how to format a hard drive depending on the system you’ll be using. We’ll go over some of the common ways to format a hard drive whether it’s a new one or you’re simply just starting over.

How to Format a Hard Drive in Windows XP/ Windows Vista

To format a hard drive in Windows XP or Vista, you’ll need your installation CD. You should also have the product key that is shipped with your disk located on your CD’s packaging. You’ll also need you’re your other installation disks after you install Windows operating system.

Before formatting you should have backed up any data that you may need, if possible. Boot to your CD drive with your installation disk already in it. You may have to change your boot settings in your computer’s BIOS in order to do this.

The next step is to follow the on screen menu in the Windows set up page. You might go over such steps as pressing enter on the welcome screen, agreeing on the license agreement, deleting the partitions on your hard drive, and then formatting your hard drive according to your desired file system.

How to Format a Hard Drive in Windows Me/98

Installing Windows Me and Windows 98 will follow the same initial steps as you would other Windows operating systems. However, you will have to format your hard drive manually. After formatting your hard drive you may install either Windows Me or 98.

How to Format a Hard Drive in DOS/Manual Format

To format your hard drive manually, you need to boot to a start up disk, which is either a floppy disk or a bootable CD drive. You need to run FDISK to remove existing partitions and create a new one. You then format your hard drive using the FORMAT command by entering ‘format /s’ on the command prompt to make a bootable hard drive.

For a new hard drive to become usable or if you want to start over after a system crash you will have to learn how to format a hard drive. The steps are simple though the whole process will be time consuming depending on your hard drive’s size.

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