How do I remove windows remains from HD?

By Valor ยท 36 replies
May 17, 2006
  1. Hello everyone,
    First of all thanks for this great website and forum. Especially the Troubleshooting Sudden Reboots/crashes post is awesome and is helping me a lot! But more on that later maybe...
    Right now I have a problem that I don't know how to fix. I have completely formatted both my hard disks and installed Windows XP Pro on C. That is all working fine but D however is giving me problems. First partition magic told me it had a bad geometry but I took care of that by deleting the partition, creating a new one and formatting it with NTFS. Then when I checked the disk there were no folders and files (no hidden ones either) so everything seemed clean. But when I checked "details" or "properties" it showed me that 10 MB were being used. When I rebooted the computer it also gives me the choice of two windows installations - there should only be one!? So apparently my system is still recognizing some Windows left overs on D that the formatting didn't erase? To make matters worse I figured I would try to format by doing the first steps of a fresh windows installation on D - unfortunately the whole installation went I formatted D again to get rid of that one - but yet again, some remains are left from that installation, too!? Now I get three Windows installations to choose from when I reboot (which is a big pain in the ****) and on details for D it tells me "64 MB used". Yet no files or folders! WTF? How do I find/access that used space and free it? I would greatly appreciate any help on this because I want my system to be as smooth as possible. (I presume this makes it a little unstable...) Thanks!
    p.s.: The windows versions were always XP Pro.
  2. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    The files are probably hidden system ones. If you open your "my computer", goto tools, folder options, view, then scroll down to "Hidden files and folders" and select "show hidden files and folders" then ok it, that should then allow you to see the files.
    You should be able to delete pretty much evey file but system volume information and possibly restore if its there.
  3. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    thats for temp install files
    you should be able to use install disc and delete all partitions and then reload OS
    if you need just for storage use xp or 3rd party to refomat drive should erase all partitions
    if not use 3rd part y soft to 0 out the drive write 0's to the drive
    lots o free utilitys to copy to disc run from boot
    paragon or acronis will 0 out the drive
    larger the drive the longer it takes
    right click on my computer go to manage go to manage hard drives
  4. WinDoWsMoNoPoLy

    WinDoWsMoNoPoLy TS Rookie Posts: 252

    Just run fixmbr in Recovery Console it will reset the bootloader. Have you tried formatting by going into my computer, right click drive, format? Also if you go into System Recovery Console and "cd D:" then "dir" it will list all of the files in the drive. You can delete them by typing "del filename.extension".
  5. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    simpler solution you may want to try first... goto start>run msconfig
    boot.ini tab click on check all boot paths.. that should solve your problem of multiple entries wihout having to boot up recovery console...

    if you are still conserned about the xxmb used up mysteriously by the hdd, then a low level format is what i can suggest to you.. it brings the hdd to factory conditions.
    three most popular/common makers:

    then run msconfig if its still there.. otherwise, delete the entries yourself if you know how to...
  6. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    That was a great suggestion with the boot.ini! Now it's down to one which is the one on C. Thanks, N3051M! As for D, I only intend that disk for storage. As I said in my first post there is no hidden files or folders there. However, when I use recovery console as suggested, it shows me two things.
    d---hs--- 0 Recycler
    d---hs--- 0 Volume system information
    Can these two things account for the 50MB and would it be recommeded to delete them? They don't look like temp install files to me...
    Low level format sounds like a good idea too but I'm not sure if I should really do that. Either way, do you guys think that this makes my system unstable? I always have this yellow alert in the system event log that says:
    "The driver has detected that device \Device\Harddisk1\DR1 has predicted that it will fail. Immediately back up your data and replace your hard disk drive. A failure may be imminent." Could this have anything to do with the mysterious 50mb? Or is this something associated with low power? I am intending to buy me a new power supply this weekend, my current one only puts out 250W. I appreciate anyones feedback, thanks.
  7. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    No, those two files are system files. System volume information can be gotten rid of by turning off system restore on that drive though. The recycler file is your recycle bin.

    As for the low level format, a standard full format from the XP cd should be enough, though a low level format using Dban would indeed write every bit on the disk to 0 , but that takes time - and lots of it.

    The disk message is possibly as a result of SMART. There's a tool to read what SMART is telling you somewhere, but I forget where.
  8. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    Hey spike,
    a standard full format from the XP cd is what I did and it did not get rid of the stuff...
    What is SMART? I'm downloading dban right now but before I use that I want to see what others here think...
  9. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    It sounds like it's leaving the MBR intake on the formatted drive. Have you tried chkdsk /f just in case there's a bad sector it's not formatting? A full standard format should wipe out all partitions, files and the boot sector, so I'm not sure why this is happening. Maybe a low level format is your only option after trying chkdsk /f from the Recovery Console and if it finds and fixes anything, then try a standard full format again.

  10. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    Hi Kirock, I just ran chkdsk on d and this is what it tells me:

    CHKDSK is verifying files (stage 1 of 3)...
    File verification completed.
    CHKDSK is verifying indexes (stage 2 of 3)...
    Index verification completed.
    CHKDSK is verifying security descriptors (stage 3 of 3)...
    Security descriptor verification completed.

    40015048 KB total disk space.
    80 KB in 22 files.
    24 KB in 16 indexes.
    0 KB in bad sectors.
    67496 KB in use by the system.
    65536 KB occupied by the log file.
    39947448 KB available on disk.

    4096 bytes in each allocation unit.
    10003762 total allocation units on disk.
    9986862 allocation units available on disk.

    Where are these 22 files and 16 indexes?? The 67496 KB in use are identical with what disk management tells me. (The 50MB I was referring to, so I was a little off) Cheers,
  11. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    I've been looking into dban now and it sounds pretty radical...can I run it without effecting anything on c? Is there a safer alternative to dban? As I only want to clean my d drive I would like to run something from my XP on c. Thanks,
  12. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    hdd manufacturers also have thier own disk diagnostic utillity (Seagate Disk Doctor/Diskwizard, WD Data Lifeguard (i think), Max something....) that can perform a more detailed scan and also reformat your drive with 0's (low level).. and its free fyi..

    but do get yourself a new power supply before hand (you dont want it to fail while formating.....) 300-400w depending on your system should be enough
    check here: to get an estimate minimum
  13. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    Before you use that program, try doing an unconditional format of D: just from the XP on C. Open the MS-Dos console or command prompt window and type Format D:/U.
    This removes the boot sector, which I think is what's being left on the HDD when a full format is being done.
  14. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    Dban is in no way unsafe - it's perfectly safe. The only potential problem is that of selecting the wrong hard drive to format, and if you're worried about that, the solution is to remove any seconary HDD's from the machine

    SMART is pretty much a case of onboard diagnostics and reporting in your HDD. It stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. se here if you want more info...,_Analysis,_and_Reporting_Technology
  15. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    you can do an FDISK and format with a win98 boot disk.
  16. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    Ok, I did the unconditional formatting and it still leaves the used space! So it's not the MBR then, is it? ARGH...I guess I have no other choice than to use dban. It's just that I read on their website that if your computer tends to crash dban is not recommended - so I'm a little wary. As for SMART, could be but I don't think my computer has that integrated. I have a 5 year old compaq...
  17. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,168

    It's probably there - it's been in HDD's for almost forever.

    Dban should be perfectly fine though. It's only going to fill your HDD with 0's anyway, and is run outside of Windows from a bootable floppy or CD. :)

    It does overwrite the whole disk though, not just partitions on it. If you need to recover data first, I would recommend that you use something such as BartPE and a cd writing plugin before running dban.
  18. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    You guys are mostly helpful, I appreciate it. I downloaded this free programm called Drivesitter that does SMART analysis. This is what it says about the hard disk:


    How can I fix this? I don't want to replace my disk if I don't have to...
    I download Powermax now but problem is that I can't create a boot disk because I just found out that my floppy drive is broken. LOL First time I wanted to use this thing in there a way to create a boot CD with powermax? If not I will do dban since it gives you that option. Thanks all,
  19. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    Nevermind, I just found the newest version that offers ISO image. But I found something better's the ultimate boot cd! It includes everything for maxtor and LOTS more. In case you haven't heard of this check it out:
    Ultimate Boot CD
    I'm gonna use this, that way I'm not wasting a lot of space on a CD-R.
  20. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    Ok, here's the latest. I diagnosed the disk with powermax using UBCD. It gave me an error reading and recommended a full low-level format. After successfuly doing just that powermax told me the disk was now certified error free. Well, after starting up windows it still showed me 65 MB used and SMART still told me the disk had dangerous conditions! WTH? So I used UBCD again and did a dod format with dban. Now I don't have the 65 MB anymore (at last), only 7,3 MB (I presume this is the cache?) but what's strange is that I still get the bad reading from SMART via Drivesitter (so far not in the event log though). I guess my disk is just corrupted and unfixable? Or could this just come from the lack of power? Btw, maybe you guys can answer this - ever since I had this disk my computer would sometimes have a it would make a clicking noise and it would gear up for 2 or 3 seconds until it would perform a task. This would happen with normal things such a opening files or folders or loading applications. I just had it again opening drivesitter. Is this from the low power? Because if that's so I will wait to buy me a new hard disk and just get me a new power supply. Thanks for the feedback,
  21. Rik

    Rik Banned Posts: 3,814

    The clicking thing you mention is probably caused by one of two things, its either the hdd is on its way out or there is a poor connection in the power molex. Try a different molex or using a tiny precision screwdriver, bend the contacts in a little on the original molex. If doing this cures the problem, all well and good, if not then you are going to have to replace the hdd before long.
  22. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    since you've mentioned your psu being suspect, please tell us what make/watts its rated at, and the voltage ratings it has like +12v etc...

    to determine your minimum power needs:

    i've seen and heard what underpowered pcs (especialy the hdds) can do.. very nasty.. between slowing down your pc 30% or so to destroying one/more components in the pc...

    but yeh.. rik also makes a good point on the hdd failure/misconnection...
  23. Valor

    Valor TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 65

    I just wanted to let everyone know that I bought me a new PSU - it has 350 Watts and is pretty decent on the different rails. So far I only had one crash in a week which is a major improvement...I also bought me some new RAM but I'm not sure if that's working (I posted about that in the hardware section). As for the hard disk - it barely ever makes the clicking noise now but that seems to come from the corruption anyway and not the power. I found out that the reallocated sector count is below threshold so who knows how much longer it will go. I decided to continue using it until it really fails probably...(not concerned about data loss as I frequently make backups). I might contact Maxtor because if I'm lucky there's still warranty on it...anyway, thanks to you all for your great help and input. Amazing how much I've learned in just a week through you guys. Cheers,
  24. N3051M

    N3051M TS Evangelist Posts: 2,115

    good to hear its solved :) have fun!

  25. kirock

    kirock TS Rookie Posts: 1,221

    If the 12V rail is really over taxed (i.e running at it's maximum current output) then it's voltage will drop and you could get this clicking problem/symptom. The 2-3 second "gear up" is related to the speed of your PCI bus/CPU and HDD RPMs. This is intrinsic to your system's overall speed. But a really low 12V rail may add to this gear up time as the HDD takes longer to reach it's designed RPM's. If it doesn't reach 7200 RPM (for example) then the reader head is not sinked with the sector tracks and you get the "hunting" and clicking sound.

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