A computer's hard drive needs to be formatted when the machine is new and has just been bought, or when the user wants to make storage space available or when the computer is infected by a virus. Sometimes, programs crash without any explanation, which is another reason why we need to format the hard drive. Note that you need to be an expert to format the hard drive, because it is not a simple task that can be done by computer novices.
Before formatting the hard drive, take a backup of all the files and folders that you need. You should also save all the executable files so that you can install these programs after the hard drive has been formatted. You can copy all the files to a DVD using a DVD Writer or to a USB flash drive. Do not forget to save your bookmarks in Internet Explorer or Firefox. You will also need the CDs used to install any additional programs, and to install drivers of any hardware components.
Formatting the Hard Drive
A simple way to format the hard drive is to go to My Computer, right-click on the hard disk, and select Format. Select Quick Format and start formatting.
Another way is to click on the Start menu, and then go to Control Panel. Go to the Administrative Tools category, and click on Computer Management. Windows will ask for your permission to continue. Under the Storage item in the console tree, click on the Disk Management tool. Now, in the list view of all the hard drives, right-click on the drive you want to format, and click Format. For a Windows PC, the file system should be NTFS. Perform a quick format, and click on OK button.
Here is a third way to format the hard drive. You will see a graphical view of your hard disks. Each box represents a partition on the hard disk. Delete any partition currently present by right-clicking on the partition and selecting Delete Partition. Now, right-click on a region on your hard disk and click on New Partition. The New Partition Wizard comes up. Create a Primary Partition (and not an Extended Partition) and click Next. Then, decide on the simple volume size in MB, which must be between maximum and minimum sizes, and click Next.
Then, assign the drive letter, which may be between A to Z, and click Next. Choose the file system to be NTFS, and click on Perform a quick format. Then, select a label for the volume, click Next, and Finish the wizard. This will cause a message to be displayed showing the formatting. The message shows how much percentage has been formatted, until it shows the hard drive is healthy, which means the device is completely formatted.
A fourth way is by right-clicking on an unallocated region on your hard disk and clicking on New Simple Volume. This will bring up the New Simple Volume Wizard. Then, follow the same steps used when creating a new partition.
Sometimes, while formatting the hard drive, you will see the Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard. You have to select Disk 1 to initialize, and click Next. You then have to unselect Disk 1 to convert, and click Next. Then, complete the Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard, by clicking on the Finish button.
After formatting your hard drive, you need to install Windows. You will need to boot from the Windows CD. To reinstall Windows, you need to create a startup disk and insert it into the CDD when you start your computer.