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old hard drive format?

By coolroyboy2 ยท 16 replies
Feb 9, 2002
  1. First I am running win xp home , I replaced my hard drive 2 mo. ago with a much larger drive. I have made a deal to trade the hard drive to somone for another piece of computer hardware.
    The old HD still has my OS on it and some other personal info so I would like to know the easiest way to clean off all the old info and deliver a freshly formated HD to the person I am trading with.
    I only have 2 ide ports on my computer and I have 4 devices already on them . HD ,dvd,cdr/rw,cd rom. Thanks for reading.
  2. Vehementi

    Vehementi TechSpot Paladin Posts: 2,645

    First, shut off your computer and unplug one of your IDE devices. Replace it with your old HDD and boot up your computer. Windows XP has a built in formatting tool, (at least it should, because it doesn't run on top of DOS.) Format the drive, shut down your computer, take your old drive out, and replace it with the device you unplugged before. Simple, eh?
  3. ToRN

    ToRN TS Rookie Posts: 147

    connect disk and simple format

    Just replace another drive with your old drive (if you don't have any ide left) and do a format.

    The format can be done the old fashioned way: in dos (NOT DOSBOX or command prompt, NATIVE DOS) you type format *: (/q) where the asterix is the driveletter and between brakkets is an option to just delete the fattable (recommended in this case is not using this option).

    In XP however, there is no DOS, so use the format tool.

    The fastest and easiest way is using Powerquest Partition Magic. But ofcourse, it's not free ;p. There you can actally format it with unallocated space, so it's like your disk came right out of the factory.
  4. coolroyboy2

    coolroyboy2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I found out how to do it. The tools are in windows xp under administrative tool ,disk management.
  5. uncleel

    uncleel TS Rookie Posts: 977

    The "REAL" uncleel

    whats the "X Copy" command to copy one HD to another?
  6. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    whats the "X Copy" command to copy one HD to another?

    In Windows 2000 / XP a good start for the copy syntax would be :

    xcopy -SCHRKF c:\*.* d:\

    where c: is the source drive and d: is the destination.

    I will check the DOS later... some of the switches might be different.

    To format a hard drive in windows, all you have to do is right click the icon in "My Computer" and select format. There will be all of the options that you want in there.

    Do a search for the "delpart" command, which is a command that deletes ALL of the data and partition tables on ALL hard drives.... great for killing everything in one go, but be careful.

    in the command prompt you can also

    format c: /q

    which will format the drive quickly... instead of verifying each sector as its formatted, it just cleans the file allocation table. In hard drive technology you don't DELETE data as such, you just mark it as USABLE space so that the next time you write data, it gets used. There are read and write heads on an HDD, not read write and erase.

    A full format should be used when a new partiton has been created but a quick one can be used to wipe an existing partition.

    As you correctly identified, the disk administrator console snap-in is great for really getting to see what you are doing and making sense of it all.... GREAT for multiple hard drives... a must!

    Also partition magic, etc, are VERY valuable if you like moving things around and playing with your partition organisation.
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the force...

    Its not actually a part of Windows, just in case this is confusing. Its a third party tool, I think. It only runs in DOS as far as I know. Its very powerful, so be careful. I can send it to anyone who wants it provided you promise to behave yourself.
  8. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,488

    Re: whats the "X Copy" command to copy one HD to another?

    If I was giving/selling an old hdd, I'd skip the /Q part above.... (That way the undelete command in DOS won't be able to recover everything...)

    What I'd do in your case, I'd remove the new harddrive, insert the old and start up with a bootdisk...

    Then start Fdisk and delete all partitions on the drive... Create new and format... That way you'll need a 3rd party recovery software to get the data back...

    It takes some time, but you can be quite sure that the person won't find all your files without really trying...

  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    It is too late for me, son.

    That's a good point, actually. Of course, not everyone would know that the files COULD in theory be recovered, but still. Better to be smart than careless and lazy, I guess.

    If you are REALLY paranoid, you can write zeros to the drive using a linux installation / cdrom or bootdisk.

    The command is

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda
    for primary master

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdb
    for primary slave

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdc
    for secondary master

    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hdd
    for secondary slave

    make sure that you use the right letter!!! Oh, and this takes like forever. eventually the process will bomb out with an error message, saying that the target device has insufficient space. What it really means is that the target device cannot contain infinity. LOL.

    This is probably overkill, though, and a simple

    format c:

    where c: is the drive letter will do you fine unless you are selling your drive to a technological genius who for some obscure reason would want your data.
  10. coolroyboy2

    coolroyboy2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Quick format ?

    1st, wow thats alot of info ! I just did a quick format inside windows,I removed my cdr/rw and hooked up the old HD. It only took seconds.The old drive was formated ntfs,when I did the quick format I used fat 32.
    Should that be enough to allow the new owner of the drive to just install his OS and not be bothered with mine?
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,546   +429

    Re: Quick format ?

    Yes, that will be sufficient for him to not be bothered. We get a little carried away sometimes with our knowledge, creating senarios like your HD had sensitive governmental data on it and you were giving it to an enemy country... :)
  12. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 4,909   +8

    I hope so commander, for your sake.

    LOL!!! Yes... Indeed...

    You have done just fine.

  13. opello

    opello TS Rookie

    full format, just like new

    I just came across this board while looking for some hard disk reviews, and thought I could share.

    There is a program (hopefully attached to this message, if that worked) that is called Maxllf.exe (63.3 kb). It is a Maxtor LLF (low level format) utility. LLF is a format that completely clears out every sector of a hard drive, and can make 'bad' sectors usable again. The process is farily long, but works on any hard drive connected, even with partitions not seeable by windows.

    Although it is made by Maxtor, it is usable on any hard drive!

    I have zipped up the exe and the help file (maxllf.txt). I use them on a boot disk, which is the easiest way that I can think of to do it.

    I would recommend using LBA (see help file refrence), because I always have and it works fine.

    I hope this helps someone ...


    btw: if anyone can recommend a hard drive for me, I need 60gigs that works well (quiet, fast - 7200rpm/ata100) at a decent price. I'm looking at bestbuy's Western Digital and their Maxtor ones. If anyone could make a recommendation? Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  14. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,488

    Re: full format, just like new

    Thank you very much! Allways nice to have a LLF proggy :)

    BTW: does it format all the drives connected, or can you specify which to format?

    (Sorry if it's a double post, but the board seems to have some hicups....)
    (If it doesn't work now...!)
  15. opello

    opello TS Rookie

    Re: Re: full format, just like new

    No problem, happy to share whenever possible.

    There is a menu that gives the option of which device to format. On my system (never dealt with more than 4) I have 2 IDE controllers, with CD-Rom, CD-RW, HDD, (the fourth was another HDD, but I got rid of it ... buying a new one someday ...)

    So on the menu, I chose device0, device1, device2, or device3 (or something similar, I'm not clearly remembering at the moment.

    It lists somewhere (at least I think it does) what each device is, maybe when you select it ... Lists the name of the device (eg. QUANTUM FB is what I had, a 27.3gb quantum fireball).

    Hope this helps, if not, I'll try to elaborate more ... I think it explains it pretty well in that help file thow ... menu structure and all.

  16. MrGaribaldi

    MrGaribaldi TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 2,488

    Re: Re: Re: full format, just like new


    Thank you again :)

    The reason I asked is that I had one proggy which just started on device0 and kept going until all devices was done... And when you don't know that before, it's kind of annoying...
  17. opello

    opello TS Rookie

    np :)

    yeah, I can see how low-leveling all of the hard disks on your system could cause some problems :)
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