Format / remove partitions on old HD

By xauss
Nov 11, 2012
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  1. I have an old 2 1/2" HD from a previous laptop that I have successfully convrted into a external harddrive with an appropriate HD Enclosure, and recovered whatever data I wanted onto my new win8 laptop.

    since I no longer need the operating system, the data, or the partitions on this reborn external harddrive since I would like to use it for backups/ storage, it makes sense to me to wipe it clean to start afresh. does reformatting essentially wipe it free of data and restore as a single volume?

    since I have never formatted or wiped a hard drive in my life and a quick google search suggests I can format a new harrdrive (no mention about an old one!) with Computer Management > Storage > Disk Management (pic uploaded I hope) I dont really understand what the four sections represent on Disk 0 (the new lappies harddrive) and they dont appear seperately as far as I can tell on file explorer. Disk 1 does however appear as drives E F G H when plugged in (though E is completely empty)

    anyway, if anyone can explain in simple id-iot-proof language that I cant screw-up how to wipe clean Disk 1 into a single usable 300GB volume I would be a happy bunny.

    aditionally I would appreciate any comments as to a good strategy for backing up (I thought I would initially make a full image of the harddrive, then just periodically save just the data manually) is it possible to boot from the image if required? (I could always just plug in the 2 1/2" into the drive bay if the computer doesnt support booting via the USB)

    Attached Files:

  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,026   +221

    YES
    Let's make sure you never get these mixed up.
    get a command prompt (click start and in the SEARCH box enter CMD hit enter.
    In the new window, enter DISKMGMT
    In the Disk Mgmt window, there's two major sections: Upper half and bottom half and this is where you see Disk 0, Disk 1, ...
    Mine show three blocks Recovery, Win7-OS (C:) and one with only a size and 'healthy'
    The biggest block should be your Windows partition and have status like
    • Healthy (Boot, Page file, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)
    For my system(s), I did a right-click on this partition -> properties -> General Tab and created the name WIN7-OS
    so that I never screw-up.

    For your DISK 1; do the same thing and give a name like EXT_HD
    TAKE NOTICE OF THE DRIVE LETTER (I'll assume it's Z: below)

    Assuming you've given disk 1 this name, in the command window, enter the following:
    Format Z: /X /FS:NTFS /V:EXT_HD

    Let's deal with that after the above is completed
    xauss likes this.
  3. xauss

    xauss Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    the portable HD doesnt have a...
    Healthy (Boot, Page file, Crash Dump, Primary Partition)

    but a..
    Healthy (Active, Primary Partion) for SYSTEM (E:) 199 MB NTFS (which is completely empty when explored)

    and...
    Healthy (Primary Partion) for (F:) 284.28 MB NTFS (which has Program Files, Users, Windows etc when explored)

    I renamed (F:) to EXT_HD... (because r-clicking the partition and selecting format for F: pops up a promising window, but doesnt when I try it on E:)

    however typing Format F: /X /FS:NTFS /V:EXT_HD (replacing your Z with F) gives the prompt...
    Enter current volume label for drive F:
    ( was going to type EXT_HD... but didnt know if thats what it really wanted)

    when r-clicking on volume F: and selecting format I get options to select File system (NTFS is the default), and Allocation unit size (Default is the default) as well as check boxes to either Perform quick format, or Enable file and folder compression

    so I've gone for it... its formatting now
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,026   +221

  5. xauss

    xauss Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    nearly - I had drive F open in explorer and got a warning message asking me to cancel or force it which might cause unexpected errors, so I cancelled and closed it in explorer and have gone for it again... time for a tea while I wait
  6. xauss

    xauss Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Hmmm - same warning about it being in use which may cause errors if I force it, other than in disk management that is doing the formatting I cant see how else it would be in use

    any ideas?
  7. xauss

    xauss Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    All done... I removed the HD & emptied the recycle bin (some of the stuff I didnt copy over I just deleted - maybe that caused the drive to be 'in use')

    the external drive is now a 32GB RECOVERY (F: ) recovery drive and 266GB of storage EXT_HD (G: )

    sweet - thx for your help jobeard
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,026   +221

    Prior discussion on Backup Techniques, including replication

    The official Windows technique for creating a image of your entire C:

    Third party tools include Norton Ghost and True Image 2013 by Acronis

    seldomly. True Image provides a standalone Boot CD which is then used to restore a saved backup image. You can investigate Norton for that feature yourself.

    My technique is not imaging, but replication, using Allway Sync (see this review). This was the tool I used to recover my files when my prior laptop die. The new one came with an OEM installed Win/7, I updated it to Pro and then recovered my data.
  9. xauss

    xauss Newcomer, in training Topic Starter

    Cheers for the extra links jobeard. I'll have to take some time to read, digest and consider which options work best for me and my limited technical savvy. now I have my files recovered from my old dead lappy onto this one and backed up on an external drive plus having made the recovery drive, the need for immediacy has gone


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