Give it up Linux, I want my drive back.

So about a year ago I decided I wanted to try Linux (Suse to be exact). I bought a drive, and installed it on that drive (all by itself, there’s nothing else on that drive). Well, the installaion didn’t go very smoothly and I didn’t know ANYTHING about linux so I really couldn’t fix the installation. Well, now I want my drive back, but I need help formatting it so I can use it from Windows. I’ve got my installation CD and I’m sure there’s an easy way, but I have trouble with all the drive names and foreign directory style. I’m worried I’m going to wind up formatting the wrong drvie. I’m thinking about unhooking the Linux drive, booting to windows to make sure I still have my other drives (ie verifying I have the right drive) and then plugging in ONLY that drive (unplugging the other two) so that I can’t do any more damage. From there I should be able to mess around all day and not mess anything up anymore then it is already. So is that my best option or is there an easier way. What would be great is if there was a windows based program that could show me which drive was the linux one and let me wipe it from there. Is there such a (freeware) program?

You’ve probably already got it installed. Assuming you’re running XP as an administrator:

  • Right-Click on the start menu, select Properties
  • In the Start Menu tab, click Customize
  • Make sure “Show Administrative Tools” is turned on.


  • Launch Programs -> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management.
  • Click “Disk Management” in the left-hand pane.

This is a handy tool for dealing with drives at a fairly low level. It will show you all the partitions, even ones it doesn’t understand. Right-click on the ones you want to reformat, and select “Format” from the menu. You can even delete partitions and re-assign drive letters from here. (Note that right-clicking on the DISK and right-clicking on a PARTITION give you different menus, so look around for various options.)

Most folks don’t know this tool exists on their machine, which is unfortunate. You need to be an administrator to use it (although in XP, you pretty much have to be an administrator to use anything).

Where’s that fanfare smiley!!!
That worked great!!!
I’ve been a “computer person” for almost 20 years and I’ve never had such an easy time formatting a hard drive, much less one that windows couldn’t ‘understand’
Thank you.

Easier route for the first half of TimeWinder’s solution: Start - Run - ‘compmgmt.msc’

Typing…how very 1980’s.

However, since we’re cheating, another tool that many folks don’t know about and is awfully handy for disgnosing startup difficulties can be accessed the same way: Start -> Run -> “msconfig”

It’s fairly self-explanitory, but if you’re every getting weird problems that you think are caused by something running at startup, give it a try; it allows you to basically turn stuff off at a very fine-grained level, and even has buttons to “revert to normal,” so it’s hard to screw up.

And if we’re bragging, Windows Key + R replaces Start + Run…

and Windows Key + Break pulls up Computer Properties.

Easier yet - right-click on ‘My Computer’ and select ‘Manage’.

I generally have my manservant open it for me – easier still!

Okay, next question. When I rebooted my computer after formatting that drive I get an error that says “LILO - Keytable/Checksum Error.”
It seems that the easiest way to fix this is going to be fdisk /mbr.
So my question is, will a Windows ME disk, when used as a boot disk provide me with Fdisk?

It might, but I don’t know. I would recommend burning a CD with RIP (Recovery is Possible.) Which is a mini command line OS that has fdisk and everything in it so you can do whatever you want to the master boot record.

Will that work considering I don’t have linux on that computer at all anymore?
Assuming it will, which program am I downloading from that site?