How to format a hard disk without a Windows installation CD

If you have a new hard drive or one that you already use to which you wish to erase the information, it is necessary to format the unit. In general, the simplest way to format a disk drive is to use a Windows CD, but if you do not have one, it is not that bad; you just have to do a little more work. Formatting a unit is still a simple process, you just have to find the right utilities.

If you have a new hard drive or one that you already use to which you wish to erase the information, it is necessary to format the unit. In general, the simplest way to format a disk drive is to use a Windows CD, but if you do not have one, it is not that bad; you just have to do a little more work. Formatting a unit is still a simple process, you just have to find the right utilities.

Step 1

Configuration of the BIOS. Actually there is only one way to format a hard drive and it is through some kind of boot device. If it is not the Windows CD, it can be a floppy disk drive or another CD. When the computer starts, it will ask you to press a key to enter the BIOS; you must press the indicated key quickly. Once you are in the BIOS, search through the menus until you reach an option that says something like “Device start order”. Select “disk” or “CD-ROM”, “Removable device” or something similar, depending on what type of boot device you are going to use. Go out and save the changes.

Step 2

Make a startup or boot disk. You need to download the files from somewhere to make your device boot. Bootdisk.com has a good selection of files (see Resources), some are free and some are not. For a floppy disk, you usually just have to insert a floppy disk into the drive and run the utility that you downloaded. This will make a boot diskette. For a CD you must have a CD recording software. You will have to run the software to copy the files you have downloaded and select “Make this bootable CD.” When making the boot device, make sure that one of the utilities you have downloaded has a formatting tool (you will have to read the documentation well).

Step 3

Restart the computer. Start the computer with the BIOS configured correctly and the boot disk in place. The computer will start from the boot disk or boot CD. If you are using standard DOS on the boot disk, you will only have to type “format c:” (“C” refers to the hard drive). If you are using another program, you will have to use its commands.