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If you’re looking to reinstall Windows or just prepare a second hard drive for use, it’s a good idea to, first of all, erase the drive by formatting it. You can format any drive from the Windows interface except for the system drive. If you want to format your C: drive or system drive, you cannot do so while Windows is still running and you will need to boot the system from a bootable disc first. If you don’t have a Windows installation media, you can create a system repair disc from within Windows 7.

Hard Drive
Hard Drive

Formatting a non-system drive
1.    Log into the computer you want to format with an administrator.
2.    Click Start button, i.e. the Windows icon or button on your keyboard, then type or search for ‘diskmgmt.msc’ (without the quotation marks) and press Enter.
3.    Right-click on the drive that you wish to format and click ‘Format’.
4.    Click on the ‘Yes’ button if the prompt pops up.
5.    Type a volume label. This is just a display name, so you can feel free to select whatever description or name that works for you.
6.    Uncheck the ‘Perform a quick format’ box. A ‘quick format’ doesn’t wipe out any data, it just flags the volume as being ‘free’ so it can be overwritten.
7.    Click on ‘OK’ twice. The formatting process can take between a few minutes and a few hours. Depending on the size of the drive.

Formatting a system drive

Things needed
•    Writable CD or Flash Drive (for formatting a system drive).

1.    Log into the computer you want to format with an administrator.
2.    Click on the Windows button or start button and search for ‘Control Panel’ and then ‘System and Maintenance’.
3.    Click ‘Create a system repair disc’ on the left.
4.    Insert a writable CD into your CD/DVD drive and click ‘Create disc ’.
5.    Click ‘Close’ and ‘OK’.
6.    Reboot your computer and tap right key to bring up your boot menu, F10 and F12 are usually the standard keys to use. But you can refer to your computer’s user manual if you’re unsure of which key to use.
7.    Select your CD/DVD drive as the device you want to use to boot up your system and press ‘Enter’.
8.    When prompted, press any of the keys to boot to the disc.
9.    Click on the ‘Next’ button. After some minutes, the dialogue box for System Recovery Options will pop out.
10.    Click on the radio button next to ‘use recovery tools that can help to fix problems starting Windows. Select an operating system to repair’.
11.    Select your Windows installation. In most cases, only one operating system will be listed. Ignore the reported drive letter, as it can be incorrect sometimes. Use the size of the partition as your reference instead (your Windows partition in most cases includes nearly your entire disk).
12.    Click ‘Next’.
13.    Click ‘Command Prompt’.
14.    Then type the following command ‘vol C:’ without the quotation marks.
15.    Press ‘Enter’. Take note of the volume label which appears after ‘Volume in drive K is’.
16.    Type the following command ‘format c: /fs:NTFS’ without the quotation marks.
17.    Press ‘Enter’.
18.    Type the volume label which was gotten in step 15 and press ‘Enter’.
19.    Type ‘Y’ and press ‘Enter’ when prompted to do so. The process should take up to an hour or more to complete, depending on the size of the disk.
20.    Type in a new volume label for the drive, and press ‘Enter’.
21.    Eject the system repair disc and then shut down your computer.

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If you cannot get access to your Windows installation at all, or in the doubtful event that Windows prompts you to insert an installation media while creating your bootable CD, you will not be able to create a system repair disc. In this case, you can download a third-party bootable disc, such as the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows or Bart PE.
On the other hand, you can take out the hard drive from your computer and install it as a subordinate drive in any other computer that is working. Next, boot the system into Windows and format the drive using the instructions that were provided in the ‘Formatting a non-system drive’ section.
If you format a hard drive, it will erase any data in it permanently. Therefore, make sure you select the right drive before formatting.

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