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How To Format A Hard Drive

Here's how to format a hard drive (Legal Stuff: We are not responsible for any damages, lost data, or anything of the sort)...

If you have a computer, you surely know what a hard drive is. If you don't have one, or simply don't know what a hard drive is, then this article will begin with a short description of the hard drive. Then we will cover formating a hard drive...

Step 1: What Is A Hard Disk Drive?

A hard disk drive in computing is a type of storage device made up of hard disk platters, a spindle, read and write heads read and write arms, electrical motors, and integrated electronics contained inside an airtight enclosure.

Now you know what the hard drive is. Let's stick to the point and start with the information on the title of this article. How to format a hard disk drive....

Step 2...

First of all, you should have a reason if you really want to learn how to format a hard drive. But don't forget that formating a hard drive does NOT permanently delete your data!

Of course, when you format your hard drive you think that the data is really deleted, but that is not the case.

The fact is that the data you have "deleted" can be restored. Nonetheless, you should not experiment with formatting a hard drive because you never know what may happen. Of course, it also depends on the software you use, for example, there are such products that will permanently delete the data you want and then you can continue the process of how to format a hard drive.

Step 3...

In fact there is nothing so difficult in it. You first need to decide what operating system you intend to load after formating a hard drive.

It is best and easiest to use a boot disk for that Operating System, such as MS Dos6.2 or Windows95b or Windows98SE. You will need the proper Windows95/98 boot disk in order to load these operating systems on the computer, else it will reject loading due to the wrong Operating System on the computer.

Step 4...

Then you will have to insert your boot disk in the floppy drive and start the computer.

Once the system has completed booting and an A: prompt appears. You will need to type format C: /s and then press Enter. The function of this command is to tell the system to format your "C" drive and when it is finished to copy the system files to the drive.

The "/s" switches for "System". You can format a different drive this way by using a different drive letter.

Step 5...

After that you will see on the screen the following text: "WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK DRIVE C: WILL BE LOST! Proceed with Format (Y/N)?" and if you really want to continue, type [Y] and then press Enter.

Your screen should display the size of your drive and a countdown in percentage of formatting completed. Depending on your computer's speed and the size of the drive it can take from a few minutes to over 15 minutes.

When it reaches 100% complete, you will see a new message: FORMAT COMPLETE. SYSTEM TRANSFERRED. This message is to indicate that the files required to boot your computer from the hard drive have been copied from the floppy to the hard drive.

The computer can now boot from the hard drive without a boot disk in the floppy drive.

The last message that will appear on your screen is the following: "Volume label (11 characters, ENTER for none)?" You can either press any key to continue, or simply to press Enter. And now, you can finally begin to load your Operating System.

Keep in mind that you can receive an error message, which says "insufficient memory to load system files". If you do receive such message, do not worry. It is caused by the lack of a memory manager loaded at boot and your PC can only access the first 1mg of ram memory.

You can handle this situation with two options. The first one is to omit the /s switch when formatting. You should do it by typing this: FORMAT C: and then press Enter. Then when the format is complete, manually add the system files to your hard drive by using this command: SYS C: and press Enter again.

The second solution is to load a memory manager in order to overcome this issue. If you don't have any you can easily download one from one of the million sites on the Internet.

Step 6...

You see, we have finally reached the end of How To Format A Hard Drive. and consequently ? the end of this article. Now you surely know how to format a hard drive. But, once again, don't play with the commands if you are not serious about formating a hard drive.

Even if the data is restorable you may do something wrong to your computer. That is why, you should be careful! And now, good luck!

©2004-2005 Brian Maroevich

About The Author

Brian Maroevich is founder of Cheap-Computers-Guild.com. Brian is also an author, marketing consultant, computer enthusiast, and athlete. Email: brian@cheap-computers-guild.com

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