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How to Format the C Drive on a Dell Computer

by Alex Zang

When you format a hard drive, you remove all previous data on it in order to establish a blank slate for new files. As Dell computers work with Windows, you'll need your Windows installation CD in order to format your C drive. In general, you format your computer when you want to sell it (so as to remove your old files), or as a last resort for dealing with a pesky virus.

Step 1

Insert the Windows installation CD into your Dell computer.

Step 2

Restart your Dell computer. It will recognize that it has a Windows installation disk, and ask you to press a key to boot from the Windows installation CD. Press any key.

Step 3

Choose your language, then click "Next."

Step 4

Read the license terms, then click "I accept the license terms." Click "Next." You'll be asked what type of installation you desire.

Step 5

Select "Custom." The window will change, asking you which drive you want to format. Select your C drive. Click "Format." The installation disk will format your Dell's C drive.

Click "Next" once the formatting process is finished. You'll be given the option to reinstall Windows, if you would like.

Items you will need

  • Windows installation CD

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