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How To Format a Hard Drive With Vista

If you're looking to upgrade your PC, this guide will help wipe the slate clean and give you a fresh start.


  • Step 1: Choose to format the drive either in NTFS or FAT32, and then decide between a full or quick format.
  • TIP: A full format in NTFS is recommended, as FAT32 has a file size limit of four gigabytes and a quick format does not completely erase the drive.
  • Step 2: Wait for the computer to finish before doing anything else. A full format of your primary drive can take several hours, so be patient.
  • FACT: A computer hard drive spins at about 7,200 revolutions per minute, or nearly 170 miles per hour when in full operation.
  • Step 3: Right-click on the drive you wish to format and select Format from the drop down menu.
  • Step 4: Double-click on Computer Management, and then select Disk Management under Storage from the Navigation pane on the left side of the new window.
  • TIP: Use a USB flash drive or your computer's recordable disk drive to back up your files.
  • Step 5: Click on the Start or Windows icon button and then click on Control Panel from the pop-up menu.
  • Step 6: Select System and Maintenance, and then scroll down to and click on Administrative Tools.
  • Step 7: Back up important files or anything you want to keep, since formatting your drive will permanently erase all the data.

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