Erasing my HDD

By stevenhomz
Mar 12, 2009
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  1. I am currently using Vista 64x and I am having problems so I want to remove everything from my hard drive including Vista and start from scratch.

    Can anyone talk me through which commands I need to delete the partitions and re-format the hard drive removing everything.

    Thanks
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,415   +281

    Just boot up from the Vista disk and pay attention to what is on screen during setup. I haven't done a Vista install in 2 years, but I'm sure one of the steps allows you to Format and Install (will also allow you to add/delete partitions).

    Alternatively download and burn a gParted image and wipe things from there.
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

  4. stevenhomz

    stevenhomz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 63

    Thanks Im in the process of doing that now.

    I see from some other post people mention putting thier OS on one partition and then creating a new one for everything else .

    Do you know the advantage of this and should I follow suit?

    Thanks again for the help
  5. Row1

    Row1 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 354   +8

    program / data partitions...

    hi - people often put operating system on one drive, or one partition, then everything else on another, for one main reason: to keep all of the pieces of the operating system files together geographically, without getting dispersed all across the hard drive.

    you don't see this happen when you look at the file directory, like in 'explorer', but a file may be in many pieces across the hard drive. the 'file allocation table' (FAT) (you don't see this either, but it is there somewhere) keeps track of all of the pieces of each file. then , when you need the file, the FAT simply guides the computer to get to the pieces in order.

    so, if you load windows, then you download some big video file, then you update something in windows, chances are that these are laid down in geographic order on that hard disc; in other words, you have your video file between differnt pieces of your operating system, geographically speaking.

    the computer can run fine, but it will run slower - cuz the operating system pieces are tending to get scattered across time, so the computer has to go father to find them.

    you can see this if you run a defragmenter that includes a visual display of where the various types of files are geographically located on the drive.

    if you keep just operating system on one drive, or one partition, you greatly reduce how much this fragmentation happens.

    i myself believe that I have seen problems from having operating system in one partition (c:), but programs on another (d:) ; it seems like programs don't update, or uninstall well. somehow i think it is because they have pieces in the d: drive, (or partition) but also on c: --because each program is throwing files in various parts of the operating system - drivers, dll files, icons, startup details, etc.

    so, i myself load the operating system AND programs on one fast hard drive. and i defrag occasionally.

    for my data files: things i write, my mp3s, my photographs, I keep those on a second partition.

    I do this so I can easily back up my data.

    if your operating system dies, you won't be able to simply re-load it form a simple back-up ; you will need to figure out a decent survival plan for the day when your operating system dies. If you are really good at computer stuff, and make sure to keep up with the current state of your system regularly, you can recover from most errors pretty well. but it will take time.

    what you truly will want is your data files. chances are you could simply buy a new comp, reload your programs (MS Office, etc.) and just get back to work.....As long as you have your DATA easily accessible. or borrow someone's computer and get back to work.

    by contrast, it takes a long time to reinstall windows, and figure out whether you STILL have the same problem that just killed your computer (super-aggravating when it is the video card - the comp can be running great, but the screen is totally locked - go figure that one out).

    So, I put my data on a second partition. AND I simply COPY that data to another internal hard drive. in fact, i keep all my data i na folder called "backup." All data is in a subdirectory within that folder. So, if my comp dies, I can be back in business quickly simply by pulling this second hard drive out of my computer. I can either plug it inside another computre, or use a connector-thingie to connect it by usb to another computer. Now, I have a sata "docking station" that can connect any sata drive to any comp that has a usb.

    I have this same system at work. I copy my 'backup' file to the network, and am backed up. i can also copy the 'backup' file to an external drive, and take it home, and have work backed up off-site, and accesible to me whether i am at work or not (we flooded here a few years ago and no one could get to any comp for a couple days).

    so, that is why most people keep operating system on one partition. and why i keep operating system-plus programs on one partition, and data on another.

    either way: back up often!

    also - regarding saving/downloading: get your "my documents" to be "directed" to this other partition, and gets 'downloads' directed to the other partition. otherwise, they get directed to the c: partition.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,415   +281

    Good post Row1

    If I may add my own thoughts to stevenhomz's multiple partitions query.

    Personally I always have an OS Partition (C:) and then a Programs partition (D:). I also almost always have more than 1 hard drive. So that drive gets an initial 2 gig partition that I designate for the Swap/page file (S:). The swap partition is easy to defend, you set the OS's pagefile to there, so then you have Windows OS files and the Swap on 2 physically different drives, so you don't have 1 drive flicking the heads all over the place trying to read and write data. Should speed things up a fair bit.. The rest of the drive then is partitioned differently depending on what my needs are, but suffice to say 1 large one after the swap for media would be fine.

    Putting a D partition for programs after C though is harder to defend.. I think the reason you see people do it now is largely a holdover from the old days. FAT32 I believe is more prone to fragmentation, and that is what Windows 9x did (FAT16 was likely just as bad or worse). Now that most everyone is on XP, Vista, or 7, we are using a pretty modern version of NTFS (XP's is slightly different than 2k or NT iirc) and I think that is less prone to fragmentation. So aside from the fragmentation issue, I can't think of a real good reason to seperate the 2.

    I used to argue that if your OS was hosed you could just reinstall it and leave all your other data intact. This is really only true if you had a specific partition just for media (which I recommend. different drive is even better). If your programs were on a different partition and you wipe your OS, you are still left with needing to install programs. I realized this many years ago, yet I still make a programs partition, I convince myself this is good to do because I can just look back at my D drive to see what programs I had installed, and then reinstall them..

    So to summarize, here is what I think you should do:
    Ideal Setup:
    Drive I
    * C for Windows
    * D for Programs
    Drive II
    * S for Swap
    * E for Media

    Decent Setup

    * C for Windows and Programs
    * S for Swap (after C before D, to be only slightly in from the outer rim of the disk, where C is)
    * E for Media
  7. stevenhomz

    stevenhomz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 63

    Cheers for the input guys

    Do you know if microsft ever send out faulty or corrupted copies of Vista?

    I had registry problems which I couldnt solve (OLEACC.dll not found) which wouldnt let me play an installed copy of fallout 3. So I blitzed my pc removing the old partition containing Vista 64-bit and then re-installing on a fresh partition.

    I only then installed neccessary drivers e.g. mobo, grapgics card etc and tried it again to find a similar problem of d3dx9-38.dll file not found.

    Both problems are registry problems so I use CleanMyPc which finds and fixes all problems but still doesnt solve the problem.

    I have also downloaded the files from the net and saved them to the system32 file but it still says it cant find it.

    Is it possible that my copy of Vista 64-bit in faulty?

    Anyone had any similar problems or know anything that could help
  8. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,385   +205

    This article from About.com might help you.
  9. Row1

    Row1 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 354   +8

  10. stevenhomz

    stevenhomz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 63

    Tried googling it but kept getting sites selling reg cleaners.

    Good link to about.com

    Hopefully reinstalling directx 9 will help
  11. stevenhomz

    stevenhomz Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 63

    Re-installing DirectX 9 didnt work

    Well I get no error message now but when I try to start a new game it starts loading and then nothing it just stops

    Does anyone know if driver repair programmes work and will it fix the problem I have downloaded a trial version which scanned my system and reported 15 corrupt window drivers which apparently are critical.

    Are these trial scans honest or are they just trying to sell me a useless product?
     
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