If you want to remove a stubborn virus, boost your PC or refurbished for resale, then the formatting of the hard disk is the indispensable step.
In this tutorial, we will explain how to completely wipe your hard drive.
The process may differ depending on whether you want to format the hard drive you have or the one a PC is not used.
You can’t, for example, to format the disk C: when you are in the middle of using Windows. You will need to reboot your computer and then restart it froma USB key or a bootable DVD that you have created in advance.
What does it mean to format a hard drive ?.
Formatting a disk consists of the deletion of ALL data stored on your computer. It is therefore highly recommended to back up your photos, videos, music, drivers, settings on an external hard drive or a Cloud, for example.
In the formatting process, which is explained later in this tutorial, you will see the option quick Format. It will not erase the data even if it is to be noted that the disk is empty. This option does not suit you, not if your goal is to sell or give away your computer.
If you have made deletions by mistake, be aware that in some cases, it is possible to recover.
To format partitions of a hard disk.
Before you begin, it is important to understand what partitions are.
A hard disk can be divided into several sections, called partitions. These can be formatted independently of each other. This way, you can only delete the partition containing your personal data.
In contrast, a full format of your hard drive resulting in deletion of the information stored in those partitions.
Format a hard disk from the BIOS.
The BIOS (Basic Input Output System) is the program that launches at startup of your computer, it allows you to check that the motherboard and the peripheral devices work correctly.
Be aware that it is not possible to format a hard disk from the BIOS. But if you need to format a hard drive, and you can’t do it from Windows, then you’ll need to create a CD, a DVD or a bootable USB drive and use software formatting.
With the software free of charge and in English, Darik’s Boot and Nuke (DBAN), you will be able to erase the memory of your PC and reinstall an operating system using a USB key or a CD/DVD-R. please note that this operation is irreversible.
DBAN only allows you to create CD/DVD-R to be bootable, if you don’t have a burner, you can then use in conjunction with Universal USB Installer. This software will allow you to convert the ISO image of DBAN and copy it to a USB key.
Then it’s up to you to just let yourself be guided by the instructions on the screen.
You will need to select the DBAN, the image and the bootable disk and finally click on Create (to Create).
To access the BIOS, be prepared to press the F10, Del or Esc during the startup of your computer.
Once in the BIOS, navigate through the menu and select USB option First Boot Device (the key does not need to be connected in this step). Now, exit the BIOS and insert the USB drive. Finally, restart your computer.
Your computer should automatically launch with the software DBAN, it will guide you through the complete cleanup of your hard drive. If data is stored on your USB key to be Bootable, we recommend that you remove it just after the restart DBAN otherwise the software will delete them.
Format a RAID.
If you want to format a disk in RAID mode (to speed up the transfer of data and spread them across different devices), follow one of the three methods given below.
Remember, before you do anything, you should back up your most important files.
Use a program compatible with your motherboard or your RAID controller.
Go on the RAID controller in the BIOS (when it appears on the screen during the restarting the PC), and format(s) disk(s) or reconfigure the RAID alone.
Remove the disk to format and connect to a different SATA port of your motherboard which is not part of the RAID controller. Then, use the program disk Management of Windows (explained below) because your disk will not be still detected by your PC.
Quick format of the hard drive.
The quick format only serves to erase the data that you have previously selected. It can only be used for a complete removal of your hard drive.
To achieve this formatting express, go to This PC, and right-click the drive of your choice. Then, select Format..
Note that the formatting of the drive where Windows is installed (C:) is not possible.
NTFS should be selected by default so that the field allocation unit Size must be set, and the option quick Format should be checked.
If you wish, you can rename the disc.
Finally, it only remains for you to do is click on Start.
Disk management is another tool that can help you to format your computer. To access it, type diskmgmt.msc or disk Management in the search bar of Windows.
Select your drive, right-click to display a drop-down list of options, then select Format.
If you have recently connected a new drive to your motherboard, disk Manager will be able to find it, access it, and therefore of the format.
As soon as the program is launched, and your drive is detected, you are asked to initialize it.
If this drive has a storage space larger than 2 Tb, select GPT Partition (GUID Partition Table), this will also create more than 4 partitions.
Now, right-click on the area hatched unallocated and choose New simple volume.., and then follow the instructions.
If the partition size is less than the available space of your disk, for example, 500 Mb to 1 Tb, while the other half will be seen as an unallocated space, which will have to be formatted.
Change the size of the partition.
With the utility disk Management, you can also increase or reduce the size of your partition. You just need to right click the disk and choose the appropriate option, to Extend the volume or Reduce the volume. If you opt for the latter, the program will check the amount of free space available.
This is shown in Mb and not in Gb, you can without problem change. The total Size in Mb after reduction will automatically adjust according.
Note that the extension of a partition is only possible if your volume has unallocated space.
Reset Windows 10 and Windows 8.
Your PC shows signs of weakness, you want to “revive” it before it crashes and loses all your data ? So, it is time to make a backup and reboot your computer. This process will clean thoroughly your PC and only keeps the file systems pre-installed.
To reset the Windows, go in the menu Start, click on Settings (gear wheel) → update and security → Recovery → Start, under the section Reset the PC.
You can then choose to keep some files from your computer or erase everything.
The option to Keep my files, as its name indicates, it will back up your files, but will delete your settings, drivers and programs, and re-install Windows 10.
If you select delete All, all of your data will be erased.
Finally, Restore the factory default settings (option available on some PC’s) will not retain any data, reset Windows 10 and reinstall the original applications.
For those that are gone from Windows 8 to Windows 10, you’ll have noticed that the option Refresh your PC without affecting your files has been deleted by Microsoft, it is now integrated to the option to Reset the PC.
If your computer has Windows 8, you have the choice between to Refresh your PC without affecting your files and remove Everything and reinstall Windows (Settings → Change PC settings → update and recovery → Recovery → Start).
The first option will erase all the installed software, but will retain the default settings and your personal data.
The second will remove everything and re-install your operating system.