How Do I Reformat Entire HDD?

Hi all,

Was gunna do a fresh install of MS Windows XP Pro soon, but first i need to know how to completely wipe everything from the HDD.

And when i say everything, i mean EVERYTHING!
Cause quite frankly, it is a bit of a mess at the moment, 3 different OS partitions (Win XP BETA, Win2k Pro, Win 98 SE). Basically i want the HDD to be restored to the same state it was when it first arrived after i bought it (ie remove all master boot record info). Doe this mean usin the low level format (which ive never performed!) or something similar? Your help would be much appreciated.


You can use fdisk to remove all partitions and then use it to make new ones.

Rempart is a nifty little program that removes all as well.

Will this delete all other info though?

eg. Master Boot Records, Indexes, etc?

Also, can Partition Magic 6 or 7 be used to do the job of completely removing disk partitions safety and reliably?

The Psycho!

Who is the manufacturer of the drive you want to format. If you go to their website you should be able to find a low level format utility, or just search using for a utility. You will have to boot using a cd or floppy and then run the util, this will COMPLETELY blank your hard disk leaving it in its factory config. Secondly if you are installing XP pro again you don’t need to fdisk the partition the system will do this and format with NTFS. Hope this helps

Originally posted by ctwiner
Secondly if you are installing XP pro again you don’t need to fdisk the partition the system will do this and format with NTFS. Hope this helps

If you select this option while installing that is! :wink:
When you boot from the CD (set this option in your bios), you can choose either to leave the filesystem alone and install over a previous OS. Or you can first format the partition (to FAT32 or NTFS) and install after formatting.
The last choise is what I suggest. And then using the NTFS filesystem. You can’t boot from a normal bootdisk afterwords, but NTFS is more stabel. (I myself used NTFS)

Thanks for the advice ppl,

Is this low level format really neccessary?
What will it do, that the deleting of partitions during the Windows XP setup won’t do?

The Psycho!

It will write zeros to the entire disk and check the bad sector table to see if it needs altering, it will make it factory fresh. You asked how to remove everything well here it is.

Thanks Wookie I overlooked that but I was talking about installing XP on a completely fresh disk therefore no filing system, it will then default to NTFS.

a low level is just that, everything that is on the drive will be gone gone.

Make sure you back up the things that you need(like bookmarks, serials, keys, newsgroups settings, and such things).

If you need a bootdisk, you can go to
a few things that u copy to this disk after you make it is, doskey, fdisk, xcopy(I dont remember if it gets on their by default).

PM me if you need step by step instructions on how to clear it off.

Hi there!

To format you harddisk you have to remove all your partitions (if you have any) with FDISK.

The you can boot up MSDOS and use the format.exe (or .com?).
Command is “FORMAT C:” do wipe out the C drive.


for your purposes all you need to do is as wookie says. boot from the xp cd and when it asks where to install it gives you the opportunity to delete the partitions. i would delete all of them and then recreate the ones you want. i would also recommend the ntfs file system.

good luck!

If you use partition magic, you can merge all partition (You may need to format, it depends on whether you are on FAT, FAT32, NTSC)

I have got quite similiar problem (I had Linux, win200, win98), I could deal with partition magic…