Formatting a Hard Drive
Formatting your hard drive is great way of cleaning your system of all the old files and bugs that may be currently on your PC. It is also something you may need to do to a new hard drive before you install the operating system.
When the first PCs came out, many thought formatting the hard drives was a bad thing and it would lead to a loss of data. While this may be true in some cases, there are benefits of formatting your hard drive, and there are steps PC users should follow in backing up your data before continuing this operation.
Why Format a Hard Drive?
Formatting a hard drive can help eliminate file corruption, correct slow running systems and get rid of error messages that keep popping up. Formatting your system's hard drive should restore your computers performance to an almost "new out-of-the-box" state.
If you happen to have your operating system (OS) CD and all the software and drivers for the hardware in your computer, then this should be an easy task to accomplish. Often, major manufacturers of computers supply "restore" CDs so you can put your computer hard drive back to the way it was originally when you first purchased it.
Step-by-Step Procedure to Format a Hard Drive
Before formatting your systems hard drive, there are few items you should do and have ready. Please read over the checklist below:
Note: If your computer system came with a "Restore Disk" from the computer manufacturer, be sure to use it instead. The information on that disk should have everything you will need to repartition, format and reload software to its original condition.
If you are going to reinstall Windows XP from a
CD, the installation instructions will guide you through re-partitioning and
re-formatting the drive. The following instructions are for those who wish
to go through the manual process of formatting a hard drive.
Starting with a Clean (New) Hard Drive
If you are beginning with a new hard drive, you can use FDISK, a DOS program that comes with Windows to partition the drive. The drive needs to have active partitions before it can be correctly formatted for installation of an operating system. To learn how to use FDISK go here for full instructions. Or, as stated before, you can partition by reinstalling Windows.
NTFS vs. FAT32
Confused on which drive format to choose? Here's a brief guide.