Can't reformat hard drive

  Dirty Dick 09:28 31 Aug 2008

I've just had a major crash on my laptop (see seperate thread) and after retriving all the info from the drive I have decided to re-format the it.

However, when I open the hard drive by right clicking on it, sometimes it gives me the option to format, and sometimes it is greyed out, When I have the option to reformat it, a dialogue box pops up saying that if I format the drive I may not be able to get the computer to work as Windows will be affected.

Also, my laptop came with Vista Home already installed, by Dell, and I upgraded to Vista Ultimate. The drive was partioned, part of it being used to store recovery files, but when I recently reinstalled Vista Ultimate due to a crash, the partion reappeared, and Vista made a seperate folder called "windows.old" and this takes up about 25 Gb on the drive.

Can any one suggest how can wipe the drive clean , and reinstall Vista Ultimate, without any partions, so I can get up and running again



  skidzy 09:41 31 Aug 2008

Im not positive you can actually format the drive and install Vista Ultimate if this is an upgrade disc.You may have to install Vista Home first.

Firstly,do you have the Vista home disc ?
Secondly,do you still have the upgrade disc ?
Thirdly,do you have the motherboard drivers and utility disc ?

If so,you maybe able to format using Dban or killdisc but your Vista Home disc should do this for you.

Have you checked for a recovery/restore partition as Dell machines normally have this.This will revert your computer back to factory settings.

  jimv7 09:43 31 Aug 2008

You cannot format the hard drive from within windows, boot from the vista disk and follow onscreen instructions.

  Dirty Dick 09:53 31 Aug 2008

Firstly, No, I no longer have the original disc, this was only a Dell recovery disc.

Secondly I do have the Ultimate disc, this was not an upgrade disc, as I reformatted the drive, and then did a complete install

Thirdly, No Have no longer got motherboard disc.

The recover/restore partion was wiped on the install of Ultimate

  Dirty Dick 11:17 31 Aug 2008

I have tried reformatting from the windows disc, but the only option I get is to re-install Windows.

It opens by asking me my language and keyboard otions, and then I try to Repair Windows, and it finds no problems, then I Re-install and it shows my hard drive as being partioned, one of over 30Gb, nad the other unallocated as 15GB, asking me where to reinsatll Windows. It then goes on to say that it has detected old Windows files, and it will keep them as a folder called "windows.old" but I will not be able to access them. This is probably why my hard drive is filling up.

Is there any way I can wipe the drive clean, nad then do a clean install of Windows ?

  tullie 11:31 31 Aug 2008

Why not install over the current installation?

  skidzy 11:45 31 Aug 2008

If you have the full VU disc (not upgrade disc) you can wipe the drive (this will reclaim your GB's) but first i suggest you collect your drivers and burn them to disc or flash drive.

Dban and Killdisk will do as you ask.

Dban click here
Killdisk click here

Both powerful programs,use at your own risk !!!

  Quiller. 12:37 31 Aug 2008

"then I Re-install and it shows my hard drive as being partioned, one of over 30Gb, nad the other unallocated as 15GB, asking me where to reinsatll Windows."

All you have to do is to destroy the partitions by selecting each in turn and pressing D on the key board. this will wipe out the headers for the partitions and you will end up with one large un-allocated drive. You then select this un-allocated space to put windows on. You will then get the option to use all the disk or to repartition it.

  Dirty Dick 21:47 01 Sep 2008

Thanx for that, BUT a litlle too late. I've started with DBan, and have got about 9 hours to go.

Will let you know how I go on.

  Dirty Dick 17:00 04 Sep 2008

I used Dban to wipe the drive and that worked fine . It took nearly 48 hours.

I then reinstalled Vista from the disc, and everthing is working fine (fingers crossed !!)

Thanx to everyone


  skidzy 17:12 04 Sep 2008

Glad Dban worked for you ok,im a little surprised it took 48 hours though.

Now you have your GB's back,consider changing the way system restore works in Vista,SR will use a lot of space but this tip will stop that click here

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