Reformatting Problems

By megabomination ยท 6 replies
Jan 19, 2008
  1. This may sound stupid but is reformatting simply reinstalling windows or is there more to it than that? Also when backing up files etc... beforehand , where are the files backed up to ,the HDD itself or u have to burn files etc... to disc? Any help appreciated.
  2. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,026

    formatting is a process carried out on drives to remove all contents.
    Imagine the drive as a filing cabinet without any drawers in it:
    Partitioning is dividing the cabinet into the drawer(s).
    Formatting is preparing the drawer(s) so that you can put files (programs and data) in them.
    Hope this analogy works for you!
  3. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Usually to backup and reformat (or format) means:

    Backup all user data, to external CD/DVD or Flash/Hard drive, including:
    My Documents; Other data storage folders; Email; Internet Settings
    Any other user data i.e. licence keys, myob; or whatever is required to be backed up.
    Boot (start) Windows CD
    At this stage you can select format, or remove partition.
    Removing the partition is preferred for a clean install of Windows
    Load Windows after that (if required to be re-installed)

    Do you require me to elaborate further on any specific area ?
  4. megabomination

    megabomination TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 153

    Thank u both. From your reply kimsland i can change format and remove partition WITHOUT reinstalling windows.Is this correct? I dont understand different formats and what they do or what a partition is? Your help would be good or is there websites i can read up on this stuff.
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    You cannot change or remove the partition that Windows is using
    Unless you decide to use a bootable disc ( Windows CD ) and remove the partition or format it; which will remove Windows fully.

    Some computer users have multiple partitions on one Hard Drive
    ie C drive; D drive; E drive; so forth

    Users usually have this set up as follows
    C drive: Windows operating system and program files
    D drive: Data (Music; pictures...) and other user data
    E drive: Full install programs (entire of office CD; entire of Windows CD ...)

    Therefore, it is possible to format partitions D or E drives (or further) But not C

    There are different formats too (just to make it more confusing)
    Fat 32; NTFS; Fat64 and more - but these three are the most common for Windows harddrives
    Usually in Windows Xp/Vista NTFS format is the most common, but newer computers are now using 64Bit which is faster. (But the motherboard and software installed must suit it.

    Are the ways in which the disk is divided up.
    ie you can have 1 partition for NTFS format across the entire computer - the norm!
    You can have 2 partitions with 2 NTFS formats for making a C and D drive (se above)
    Actually you can have 128 partitions but practically 4 primary (main operating system) and unlimited logical drives.
    Yes there's also a partitioning preference (Primary; Extended; Logical)

    Actually the information on this is very extensive, it may be better to ask a specific question on Google.
    ie Try typing in "How do I partition my Windows Xp hard drive" (without quotes)

    As this information can be quite huge (to say the least) You may just want to be more specific.

    Here's a good start page:
  6. megabomination

    megabomination TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 153

    Thank you very much for your help, im now very confused but alittle more informed.
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523


    Well you can still ask me specific (not general, otherwise I'll give you a big reply) questions.

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