How to Erase a Hard Drive on Vista

by Jeffrey Ober

When you add a new hard drive to your computer system, or when you move a hard drive from one computer to another, it is better to clean the drive off and start with a new, clear drive. If you don't, you will often have a lot of wasted space on your hard drive.

Click on the Windows Start button in the bottom left corner of your computer. A menu will open, then click the word "computer" in that menu (it will be on the right side of the menu). This will open up your computer window, listing all of your disk drives.

Find the drive letter of the drive you wish to erase. You cannot erase the drive that is currently being used by the Windows operating system.

Right-click on the drive that you wish to erase.

Select "Format..." from the menu that appears. This will open up another window that has "Format" in the title bar.

Choose options in the drop-down lists, or leave them at their default values. Type a volume label.

Click the start button at the bottom of the window and when the operation is complete, the drive will be erased.


  • check Remember: You cannot erase a hard drive that has your operating system on it.


  • close Once you click "start" to format the drive, there is no recovering any information on that drive. Be sure there is nothing on the hard drive you want before you start!

About the Author

Jeffrey Ober is a full-time freelance writer with over 20 years of experience with computers and the computer industry, and 10 years of experience in education. He has a master's degree in information systems and is also a professional sports photographer.

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