Format Computer Without Windows CD

How to Format Computer Without a Windows CD

Whether you want to reinstall Windows, retire a computer from your company, or prepare a second hard drive for reuse, it's a good idea to format and delete the drive first. You can format a computer's drive from within the Windows interface without a system drive. If you want to reformat the hard drive, or C: drive, you cannot do so during Windows. To perform a PC format operation you must first boot the system from a boot disk. If you do not have Windows installation media, you can create a system repair disk from within Windows 7.

How to Format Computer Without a Windows CD
How to Format Computer Without a Windows CD

Formatting a non-system drive

Log in to the computer in question with an administrator account.

Click Start, type "diskmgmt.msc" (without quotation marks) in the search box and press "Enter".

Right-click the drive you want to format and click "Format".

Click the "Yes" button when requested.

Type a volume label. This is just a display name, so feel free to choose any descriptive name that works for you

Uncheck the "Edit a quick format" box. A "quick format" does not actually delete any data; It simply flags the volume as "free" so that it can be overwritten.

Double click "OK". The formatting process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the size of the drive.

Formatting a system drive

Click Start, "Control Panel" and then "System and Maintenance".

Click on "Backup and Restore".

Click "Create a system repair disk" on the left.

Insert a writable CD into your CD / DVD drive and click "Create Disc".

Click "Close" and "OK".

Reboot your computer, and tap the appropriate key to bring up your boot menu. F10 and F12 are common. Read your computer's user manual if you are unsure which key to use.

Select your CD / DVD drive as your boot device and press "Enter".

If requested, press any key to boot the disk.

Click the "Next" button. After a few minutes, the System Restore Options dialog box appears.

Click on the radio button next to "Use Recovery Tools That Can Help Fix Windows Startup Problems. Select an Operating System to Repair."

Select your Windows installation. In most cases, there will be only one operating system listed. Ignore the reported drive letter, as it is often incorrect. Use the partition size as your reference instead (in most cases, your Windows partition covers almost your entire disk).

Click "Next".

Click on "Command Prompt".

Type the following command (without quotation marks here and everywhere):

"Vol C:"

Press Enter. "Note the volume label, followed by" Volume K on the drive ".

Type the following command:

"Format c: / fs: NTFS"

Press Enter. "

Type the volume label you got in step 15 and press "Enter".

Type "Y" and press "Enter" when requested. The process should take an hour or more to complete, depending on the size of the disk.

Type a new volume label for the drive and press "Enter".

Remove system repair disk, and shut down your computer.

If you can't access your Windows installation at all or in the unlikely event that Windows asks you to insert your installation media while creating your boot CD, you won't be able to create a system repair disk. In this case, you can download a third-party boot disk, such as Ultimate Boot CD for Windows or Bart PE (link to resources). Alternatively, remove the hard drive from the computer and install it as a secondary drive on any other working computer. Next, boot the system into Windows and format the drive using the instructions in the "Non-System Drive Formatting" section.

Formatting a computer hard drive is always a last resort when all other attempts to fix a problem fail. All data including a formatted hard drive operating system will be completely erased The Microsoft Windows operating system comes with a built-in feature that lets you format a hard drive without using a boot disk or installation CD.

Step 1

Click "Start," then click "Control Panel." Double click on "Administrative Tools".

Step 2

Double-click "Computer Management" and then click "Continue" when a box pops up. Wait for a new window to appear, and then scroll down through the list of options in the left pane. Click the "+" icon next to the "Storage" option and then click "Disk Management".

Step 3

Find the hard drive you want to format in the list of drives in the center panel. Right-click the drive and select the "Format ..." option from the new menu that appears.

Step 4

Select the "NTFS" option from the drop-down menu labeled "File System". Leave the "Allocation Size" option to "Default" and then click the "OK" button to begin the formatting process.

Next Post »