How do I wipe a hard drive?

KK, I already check out the sticky thread and didn’t see my question in there.
I have a hard drive that has alot of corupt files in it and I was told that if I wipe it and re-format all should be good.
I am very computer illiterate but told this was easy as pie.
If you choose to help please use simple/small words as I am blonde. :smiley: :wink:

In all seriousness try to keep it as layman as possible.

“Wiping” generally referes to making erased data on a drive unrecoverable by sophisticated data-recovery equipment (such as the government might use to extract incriminating data from a formatted hard drive). You don’t need to worry about that. Simply formatting the drive normally should be more than sufficient to do the job. If it’s going to be a bootable volume, use FORMAT <drive letter> /s.

Whatever you do, save your important data files on floppies, CD’s, in a separate partition on the drive or another hard drive before you format.

Okay, so I don’t have to “clean/wipe/clear” the hard drive, just format over what is already there?
And pictures saved already. LOL
Basically have to get him going to feed and Everquest addiction.
Worked fine for a few months and then nothing. It’s an old computer that was used in a office and when they upgraded their machines he got it for a song, added more memory and was good to go.

If it’s a Windows box, merely typing Format C: won’t do it. You’ll need to create a boot disk first, then keep it in the drive and restart the computer. That will get you to a proper A: prompt, then you’re good to go.

If you have lots of corrupt files I suspect there might be damage to the disk.
At your prompt (with tdn’s suggestion) type ‘scandisk c:’ and when it asks you if you want to do a surface scan click ‘yes’

P.S. anyone is free to disprove my suspicion. I was surprised no-one had mentioned it yet, and so am wondering it it’s false.

Kricket, keep us posted.

Wiping is really overwriting the data with all 1’s all 0’s or random 0 and 1’s. What you really want to do is find out what brand drive is in the pc, go to the website for that company and download their utility disk. You boot off this disk and it has option to check the drive for errors or wipe it. After it is wiped you can format for you operating system and install

I think QED is correct, if the corruption is caused by software (including OS). If you simply reformat the disk (or partition), you will rebuild the filesystem and it should be good as new. Wiping the entire disk is unnecessary.

But Lobsang has a point too - if the corruption is caused by hardware problems, the only thing you can do is replace it.

I’m surprised no-one has asked the basic questions:

  1. Is the hard disk you want to format your system disk (ie the one you boot from, the one that contains your operating system files)? If not, then you can format it by opening Windows Explorer, right-clicking it and selecting “Format”. If it is the system disk then you need to know the answer to question 2…

  2. What operating system are you using? If it is Windows 9x, then creating a boot disk is the way to go. You can create this by sticking a floppy disk in the drive, going to a command prompt (click Start, run, then type in “command” and hit enter). At the command prompt type “format a: /s” (don’t type the inverted commas in any of these commands). Once done, make sure you copy the format.exe file to the floppy as you’ll need it when you format the hard disk.

Reboot the system from the floppy disk and do “format c: /s”. This should suffice. From there you’ll need to reinstall the operating system from the installation CD. This might require you to load DOS drivers on the floppy disk. You can find boot disks here
If it’s WinNT/Win 2000/Win XP, you’re best off throwing the install CD into the CDROM and booting from it. Tell it you want to reinstall the OS. During this process, delete the existing partition and create a new one - this in itself will force a format.

If you have more than one hard disk in your system, or more than one partition on your disk, make sure you perform these operations on the correct disk!

Disclaimer 1: Please make sure you back up ALL your files before doing any of this. These procedures WILL delete EVERYTHING on the target disk, including operating system files and files required for your system to operate. MAKE SURE you have ALL the installation and driver disks, including drivers for your video card, modem, network card, mouse etc. BEFORE you proceed.

Disclaimer 2: If you balls this up, it is NOT my fault. I’ve given you general guidance, but cannot predict the exact configuration of your PC. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, get someone knowledgable to help you.

Disclaimer 3: I did not intend for Disclaimer 1 or Disclaimer 2 to sound patronising or insult your intelligence :slight_smile:

Maxxxie, no insult taken hon. Remember I said I’m computer literate, so I knew I wouldn’t understand half of this thread.
I did however plan on handing this thread over to my friend and together he and I will work it out.
If not, back-up plan is new hard-drive anyway. We had already bought on but it is to small (?).
So if we mess this one up no biggie, I guess trying to reformat the original is an attempt at saving some monies.
Thank you for all your help, you guys are all great.
I will keep you posted on how this goes. I should know by Tuesday since I will be at work all weekend.
Keep your fingers crossed! :wink:

Just curious… when you wipe a hard drive, are you supposed to go from back to front, or front to back? :stuck_out_tongue:

Having issues with the computer.
It keeps saying that there is something running and to shut it down before going on.
We don’t see anything running. Task manager doesn’t show anything.
How do we find out what program is running?

Methinks this may be related to the OP…

Spybot’s ‘processes running’ tool shows more running processes than appear in task manager.

As will ‘Startuplist’