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How To Format a Hard Drive With Windows 7

If you're looking for a fresh start with your new computer, this guide will help wipe the slate clean.

Instructions

  • TIP: A full format in NTFS is recommended as FAT 32 has a file size limit of four gigabytes and a quick format does not completely erase the drive.
  • Step 1: Click Okay to continue with the formatting and then wait for the computer to finish. This can take several hours, so be patient.
  • FACT: The National Security Administration destroys about 30,000 hard drives a year by either shredding them to dust or running them through a very powerful magnet.
  • Step 2: Choose to format the drive either in NTFS or FAT 32 and then either a full or quick format.
  • Step 3: Right-click on the drive you wish to format and select Format from the drop-down menu.
  • TIP: Use a USB flash drive or your computer's recordable disk drive to back up your files.
  • Step 4: Click on the Start or Windows icon button and then right-click on Computer. Select Manage from the drop-down menu.
  • Step 5: Select Disk Management under Storage from the Navigation Pane on the left side of the new window that pops up.
  • Step 6: Back up important files or anything you want to keep, since formatting your drive will permanently erase all the data.

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