View Full Version : Re-format HDD

10-02-2010, 11:21 PM
I have finished cleaning up my now redundant desktop (Windows XP) and want to FORMAT the HDD (C), On-line articles have nearly got me there but there is a frustrating hurdle at the finish..
Digging down thru My Computer to Manage/Computer Management /Storage/ Disc management (Local) I am able to get to the FORMAT option for my C drive [which has no partitioning]
On clicking format I (not unexpectedly) get warning “Formatting will erase ALL data on this disc. To format the disc click OK .To quit,,click CANCEL.”
So I click OK & get the response “Windows cannot format this drive..Quit any disc utilities or other programs that are using this drive . Then try formatting this drive again” With Task Manager, I can see no other programs are running, nor does there seem to be any activity on TAskManager’s Processes tab.

What have I missed? Is there a work around?

Speedy Gonzales
10-02-2010, 11:30 PM
You have to put the the XP cd, in the cd then go into the BIOS, then change the bootdisk to cd.

Then save the settings. Then boot from the cd. Wait for it to tell you to press a key, then press it ONCE. (Dont press a key everytime it reboots, or you'll go round in circles). And just follow what it says on the screen

You CANT format windows (if youre formatting C, since its got windows on it), and you're using it / in it. This will format it / you'll be doing a clean install. So, everything will get wiped. So, before you format it, make sure you've got drivers etc so you can reinstall them after. However, if this has a restore partition / or restore cd's use them instead

10-02-2010, 11:49 PM
You can't format the drive that windows is running on, because then you'd be deleting the operating system and programs that allow the formatting to happen, therefore the formatting wouldn't be able to happen because there wouldn't be any program there to do it.

11-02-2010, 07:33 AM
You could make a floppy "boot disk" and use that.

However, Format only invokes a format of media other than the HDD. I believe you need to use FDISK to format the HDD.

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 08:07 AM
Umm no, you'll still have to use the CD

11-02-2010, 08:56 AM
Easiest way, is PUPPYLINUX(again). Restart and boot from this CD.
Faster than using the windows XP CD. Once you have the hang of Gparted its easy.

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 08:58 AM
It maybe faster, but you'll still need the XP cd to reinstall windows

11-02-2010, 10:42 AM
Umm no, you'll still have to use the CD

No... there are many different tools available on floppy disks that will format your hard drive.

Some might not work if the drive is SATA in AHCI mode though.

It maybe faster, but you'll still need the XP cd to reinstall windows

Who said he wanted to reinstall Windows?

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 11:03 AM
He didnt say he wasnt going to reinstall windows either

11-02-2010, 11:04 AM
Maybe he wants to wipe the drive and then sell the PC?

11-02-2010, 11:05 AM
Maybe the drive is going in as a slave data drive.

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 11:08 AM
True who really cares what he's formatting it for

11-02-2010, 12:15 PM
just to answer some queries
i want to remove all data and pgms on the 115 Gb hdd, so i can sell it (for a nominal sum) to an acqaintance, with the XP XP (Home Ed) disc cleaned up. Then he wd instal XP.
Folloeing yr advice Ive got got into CMOS setup, picked Advanced BIOS features, changed HD Boot Priority to CDROM as 1st device, Floppy as second device and HArd disc to third. Saved with F.10.
Then reboot. Then hit a key ("any key" to boot from CD. and then, it boots ok but not with the CD. In fact, the CD drive (D) seems to have gone walkabout. It does not appear in My COmputer at all.. just the C: dve and 3 1/2 Floppy !!
With the XP CD loaded & attempting to setup, i got 3 options (1)Setup W XP (2) Repair W XP (3) QUit without installing.
I take Option 1. It then gives abt 15 one liners on separate sccreens saying its setting up/loading various files. And then "Setup did not find any HDD. Setup cannot continue"

M'mmmmmm !

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 12:44 PM
Well if you want to format it (without reinstalling XP on it). Connect it to another PC. Remember to jumper it properly, if its IDE. Then format it within windows (on another computer)

It sounds like the hdd is SATA? If it cant find the hdd, if you were trying to do a clean install / reinstall XP on it. The reason, it cant find the hdd during the setup / install stage, is because the XP cd doesnt have SATA drivers on it (thats if the hdd is SATA). You have to change the mode in the BIOS from AHCI to IDE mode.


Do you want to format the hdd and leave it blank (then give it to your mate then he'll reinstall XP on the hdd)?


Do you want to do a clean install / reformat the hdd / reinstall XP. So, when you give it to your mate, XP will be on it?


Does this system have restore cd's / a DVD, or did it have a restore partition on it?

11-02-2010, 01:20 PM
Do you want to format the hdd and leave it blank (then give it to your mate then he'll reinstall XP on the hdd)?

yes, this is the preferred option

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 01:23 PM
yes, this is the preferred option

In that case, it'll be better if you remove the hdd and connect it to another computer then format it. Then put it back in the case again.

Otherwise, if you do a clean install it'll reinstall XP. and if you use your copy of XP and its been activated. Your mate wont be able to activate it after

Speedy Gonzales
11-02-2010, 01:46 PM
Or if you dont have another PC, your mate will have to come over to you, then install XP with his XP cd.

11-02-2010, 04:17 PM
To save fluffing about if you can also download Boot and nuke (http://www.dban.org/download) Unzip the ISO file, burn it to a CD, boot from the CD, nuke the drive, partition and all = blank drive.

Or do the same thing with gparted - dont bugger about formatting, as any OS will need to do that when it installs anyway - just wipe the partition.

13-02-2010, 04:50 PM
problem solved.
the new owner is far more knowledgable than me, and before i got round to applying speedy;s last suggestion, or wainuitechs even easier solution, he found that my efforts had "hidden" the hard drive! He took it home, confident that he cd find the drive (by systematicaly changing setttings)
Which he did, and then permanently removed all files and re-formatted the HD.
Only complaint he had was re a thick layer of dust in the box!
Thanks to all who helped