how to format a hard drive using DOS

I’m working on updating and installing some new software on a friends computer, but I’m a little confused. The computer I am working on has two hard drives, a main one and a back up one with all the restore options. If I want to completely clean the hard drives and rid myself of any spyware or viruses, how would I go about formating the hard drive. I assume that I can just right click on the second hard drive and click format, but what do I do for the main one? I was told that I would have to format it in dos. Is this true? If so, how do I go about doing this? Thank You

If you’re using XP, simply boot off the CD and format using the menus.
If you really want to do a DOS format, you’ll need a DOS boot disk (available online I’m sure) and simply type “format c: /s” (without the quotes). If you’re worried about a boot sector virus you can also use the /mbr switch to clear the master boot record (at least, that was the fix 7 years ago with my first and only virus).

If you plan on running Windows XP or 2000, all you would need is the OS installation CD. It will automatically detect your hard drive and give you the option to partition the space on it and format it.

If you are running Windows 98 or lower, then you will need to make a MS Dos boot disk. You can download one from this site.

well basically this is what I want to do: first off, I the computer I’m working on has two hard drives. The first of which is the main one and the second has the back up files. I’m assuming that I can just right click the second one and format that with a simple click of the mouse. Since the girl is running windows 98, I assume that before I format the second hard drive I can create a startup disc from the control panel and use that as the disc needed for the format of the C drive. Am I right?

I’m assuming you have all the software you’ll need to install later? Windows, etc? Otherwise, you’re going to end up with a pretty box that doesn’t do anything. :slight_smile:

Assuming you’re all good, the easiest thing to do is create a DOS boot disk. Put a blank floppy into the drive, right-click it in Explorer and select Format. Check the option that says “Make Disk Bootable” (something like that). Finally, go into your \Windows\system32 folder and copy to the floppy.

Now reboot with the floppy in the drive. When the computer reboots, it should boot into DOS. From there, you can type

format c:

(or use whatever drive letter you need. If you’re installing Win2000 or newer, you’ll probably want to use NTFS as the file system (add /FS:NTFS to the format command).

You may not need all of this - if you do a fresh install of Windows, it should give you the option of reformating your drive(s) during the installation process.