How do I erase and re-format hard drive?


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Old 01-23-06, 03:33 PM
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Question How do I erase and re-format hard drive?

I have a Dell Optiplex GX1 that has become corrupt. I need to wipe the hard drive.
 
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Old 01-23-06, 04:20 PM
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And it shipped with which version of Windows?
 
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Old 01-23-06, 04:26 PM
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hard drive blues

mary,
there are several ways, depending on your operating system, which is what we would like to know. also, do you have the original system restore cd's that came with the system? the product key? and please define what you mean by it being
"corrupt". i, or not about anyone on this forum, will tell you how to do this without this info because you will be out the next day buyng a new system to replace that new door stop that was created.

barry
 
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Old 01-23-06, 05:22 PM
bf140-Albert
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This topic comes up a lot. Read the posts over the last few weeks to see for yourself. My old boss, George G, used to tell us that the customer is always wrong. Technical support is not retailing, but people are the same. You can depend on the user to experience something gone wrong without understanding what happened or what led up to it. Ask a user what he was doing when he thought the system failed to illustrate the point. "No. Specifically, what applications did you have open when things went south?"

Users will try to analyze the situation and experiment with solutions before asking for help just the same. (Computers ... cars: it makes no difference.) The technician can usually depend on the user to reach the wrong understanding of the problem and propose an unsuitable repair. You should be able to describe what is failing in your HW & SW environment before you reformat your HD to repair the problem. This could turn out to be a drastic solution for a relatively simple problem. Of course on the other hand ...

I don't intend to sound mean-spirited. We need to know what's broken to help you fix it. It will help for you to decide what SW and data installed on your machine you want to keep if you hold to your decision to reformat & reinstall. Other information would be helpful, too, like whether or not the computer makes strange noises; squeaks perhaps. The machine does run doesn't it?
 
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Old 01-23-06, 06:49 PM
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Wipe and re-format hard drive

This machine was a donation to the organization I work for. It has Wondows 98 on it. It will boot up abd fatal error messages appear. I have none of the Dell discs. I do have windows 98 to install on it. None of the data contained on the hard drive needs to be salvaged.QUOTE=bf140-Albert]This topic comes up a lot. Read the posts over the last few weeks to see for yourself. My old boss, George G, used to tell us that the customer is always wrong. Technical support is not retailing, but people are the same. You can depend on the user to experience something gone wrong without understanding what happened or what led up to it. Ask a user what he was doing when he thought the system failed to illustrate the point. "No. Specifically, what applications did you have open when things went south?"

Users will try to analyze the situation and experiment with solutions before asking for help just the same. (Computers ... cars: it makes no difference.) The technician can usually depend on the user to reach the wrong understanding of the problem and propose an unsuitable repair. You should be able to describe what is failing in your HW & SW environment before you reformat your HD to repair the problem. This could turn out to be a drastic solution for a relatively simple problem. Of course on the other hand ...

I don't intend to sound mean-spirited. We need to know what's broken to help you fix it. It will help for you to decide what SW and data installed on your machine you want to keep if you hold to your decision to reformat & reinstall. Other information would be helpful, too, like whether or not the computer makes strange noises; squeaks perhaps. The machine does run doesn't it?[/QUOTE]
 
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Old 01-23-06, 07:03 PM
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Wink wipe and re-format hard drive

This GX1 was a donated machine to the organization I work for and came with no discs. It has Windows 98 installed on it. It will boot up and either get a fatal error message on it or lock up. None of the data needs to be salvaged. I have windows 98 to re-install on it. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 01-24-06, 01:40 AM
bf140-Albert
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The Windows 98 installation consists of a bootable diskette and a CD. The installation diskette allows you to format the HD before installing the new system. Boot from the diskette. The user instructions printed on the diskette label suggests to me that it might automatically start the installation procedure. If the procedure does not appear to support formatting the C: drive, then exit from it and the system should return you to an A> prompt on the monitor screen. The diskette has basic system tools like the 'format' command on it.

Donors sometimes erase all the files off a HD to make sure they don't accidently give anything important away. The HD boot sector can't be simply erased, so the system may boot but produce screwy messages as soon as it tries to read system files that should be on the HD. The first step is check for files.

From the A> prompt, type 'DIR C:\' This command makes a list of all the files on the C: drive on the screen. If there are files there the list will scroll by quickly and fill up the screen. It will keep scrolling up until it gets to the end of the list. We are particularly interested in seeing if nothing happens. If you see a message telling you '0 files found', then you can skip the format step and go right to the installation. Otherwise reformat the drive.

The next step is to format the hard drive.
From the A> prompt type 'FORMAT C: /S'. This will clean the data off the HD. This runs a long version of format we will use to check the HD for errors. There is a quick option for the format command, but it only resets the directory tree without clearing any data. Formatting the drive will take a while. If you're doing this onsite at the organization that received the machine start earlier in the day in case it needs 1/2 hr or more. Just give it as long as it needs. When you start long procedures like format, no matter how much you think nothing is going on, let them run anyway. You can't stop them in the middle.

If the HD is fried, the FORMAT command will either hang so it never ends, or you may see unexpected errors such as write error at sector xx. Listen for strange sounds like a recurring whirring with a clicking as if something is winding out and the clicking back into place. If format isn't finished in, say, two 1/2 hours, you can assume it never will.

You will have to replace the HD if it is shot. The story of HD development for retail sales over the years has been to give the consumer more capacity for about the same amount of money as before. Your $60 now buys 100GB, when in the heyday of Win 98 it bought 20GB-40GB. Hard drives continue to start at about $60 and the prices go up with extra capacity and features. This is not such good news for retrofitting a HD into an older machine. New hard drives may be incompatible with an older BIOS. Some manufacturers give you special bridges and HD extenders to allow you to use the full capacity in an older system. My guess is that this is way more than you need and just adds confusion to a murky situation.

I think a better solution would be find a donor who would be willing to give you a 20GB-40GB hard drive they have outgrown. Try to get a national brand like Geagate or Western Digital because Windows 98 is likely to have drivers built in for national brand equipment produced when Microsoft released it.

Install the system:
Once the HD is formatted boot the machine from the diskette again and follow the installation directions on the screen. You will need the installation CD and the software product key that came with the Windows 98 copy you have for the installation. The procedure will prompt you to type in the product key when it's ready. This is a string of five groups of five random letters and numbers. Type in each group of letters and numbers exactly the way you see them to get it right. You will not be able to complete the installation without the product key.

You're done when this procedure finishes.
 

Last edited by bf140-Albert; 01-24-06 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 01-24-06, 04:53 AM
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Mary,

The person who gave you that computer should have either removed and destroyed the hard drive before they gave it to you, or t the least reformatted the hard drive before they gave it to you. People are so ignorant and naive.

They gave you a hard drive containing passwords, and loads of other personal information including possibly bank account numbers, their social security number, their credit history, you name it, it could be there.

For you, it makes no difference that the hard drive is corrupted. Since you are accepting a used computer from someone, you should be reformatting it and starting over anyway. Even if it came to you perfectly working with no corruption, you should still be formatting it and starting over. You do not want to take over a computer that has someone else's information on it. No how, no way, too much liability.

Actually, my advice is to say thank, but no thanks, and not accept the computer. I volunteer with several volunteer agencies. I have found that it is best NOT to accept used computers, and so we don't. It's probably okay to accept a printer or monitor if you really want one, but computers are a more trouble than they are worth. With new ones costing below $1000, and with all the hassles of used equipment it's just not worth it.

But then there is reality. You and your agency haven't come to this conclusion yet, so you are accepting equipment. And you want it to work.

Follow the advice given, and reformat the hard drive and start over. Do this with every computer you accept, working fine or not.

And also be aware that it will cost you hours more (and perhaps dollars more) to support a computer system made up of donated rag-tag systems than it will to have all new systems from the same manufacturer.
 
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Old 01-24-06, 02:40 PM
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first thing you need to do is find out what drivers are on it now, so you can reinstall them after the format/windows install. They are important, and without them, you will have (probably) bad video and no sound,no modem,no network.
 
 

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