Reformat Hard Drive with Windows XP
For step-by-step instructions on how to format newer versions of Windows, click here.
Need to reformat the hard drive in Windows XP and start with a clean slate? Reformatting a hard drive prepares the disk surface to accept and store data. It is important to reformat the hard drive before selling, donating, or returning a computer to an employer. Likewise, users can reformat a hard drive with Windows XP to remove viruses or errors and return a computer to its' "out of the box" settings.
Warning - A simple hard drive reformat with Windows XP will not permanently erase your data. Even after reformatting the hard drive, deleted files can be easily recovered. If you want to permanently wipe your hard drive by completely overwriting hard drive data, check out WipeDrive.
Before you Reformat the Drive
- Backup all important data
- Disconnect network and Internet connections
- Jot down network and computer configurations
- Make a bootable disk
Reformat the Hard Drive in Windows XP
- To reformat a hard drive with Windows XP, insert Windows CD and restart your computer.
- Your computer should automatically boot from the CD to the Windows Setup Main Menu.
- At the Welcome to Setup page, press ENTER.
- Press F8 to accept the Windows XP Licensing Agreement.
- If an existing Windows XP installation is detected, you are prompted to repair it. To bypass the repair, press ESC.
- Use the ARROW keys to select the partition or the unpartitioned space where you want to create a new partition. Press D to delete an existing partition, or press C to create a new partition.
- Type the size in megabytes (MB) that you want to use for the new partition, and then press ENTER, or just press ENTER to create the partition with the maximum size.
- Select the format option that you want to use for the partition (Recommended: NTFS), and then press ENTER.
- You have now successfully reformatted the hard drive with Windows XP.
Reinstall Windows XP
- To reinstall Windows XP after reformatting the hard drive simply insert Windows XP CD and restart your computer.
- If your hard drive has not been reformatted, follow the steps above to reformat the hard drive in Windows XP.
- Your computer will automatically boot from the CD and begin the installation process
After Installing Windows XP
- Reconnect the network or any other connections that were disconnected.
- Copy any data that you would like back onto the machine.
WipeDrive: Wipe All Data Before Reformatting the Hard Drive
Deleted files can be recovered even after a hard drive has been reformatted!
A recent study of 129 old hard drives (many of them reformatted) revealed more than 5,000 credit card numbers, medical correspondences, love letters, pornography, bank account information, and other confidential data. To protect yourself from identity theft, erase ALL data with WipeDrive before reformatting a hard drive.