How to Erase a Hard Drive Manually

by Chad Hunter

A hard drive is the brain of a computer. However, over time, that brain can become overworked and overly saturated with old software and outdated information. It becomes clogged and needs a fresh start. By erasing a hard drive, you can give your PC that fresh new beginning. With a few steps. you can erase your hard drive manually, without the aid of expensive software.

Make sure your data is protected before you proceed. Whatever you do not save will be lost once you erase the drive. Use a CD or jumpdrive to save your information.

Boot with a system disk. Before you continue to erase the hard drive, use the system to create a system disk. Use a 3-1/2 inch floppy disk and format it with the command "format a: /s"; this will create a bootable disk that contains system commands. Place it in the drive of your system and turn it off, then back on.

Reformat the hard drive. Once you've booted with the system disk, type "format c: /s"; this will reformat the hard disk, virtually destroying the old hard drive you used to know. Depending on the size of the drive, the formatting may take a fairly long time.

Once the formatting is over, use the command "fdisk" to create partitions (which are logical sections for your hard drive's storage). Given the newer hard drives and operating systems of today, you can fdisk the drive and use all of the space.

Tip

  • check Erasing your hard drive can give your PC a fresh start.

Warning

  • close Make sure you save your data before wiping out the drive

About the Author

Chad Hunter is a freelance writer and author. Hunter began writing professionally in 1993 and has written for AskMen.com, Baton Rouge Parenting and additional newsletters, magazines and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computer networking from Purdue. Hunter is also a guest lecturer.