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Old 01-22-2006, 06:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have a stupid question.

I see alot of talk about formatting hard drives. Exactly what is this?

What are the benefits? Also what do people mean by partitions?

As you can see I'm a newbie

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Old 01-22-2006, 06:45 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Stupid Question

Quote:
Originally posted by NewVincent
I have a stupid question.

I see alot of talk about formatting hard drives. Exactly what is this?

What are the benefits? Also what do people mean by partitions?

As you can see I'm a newbie

NV

It's not a stupid question.

Formatting your hard drive is basically removing everything from your computer, and putting what you had on it when you first bought it. For example, lets say you have a bunch of viruses you want to get rid of, you can format your hard drive so the computer the exactly the same way you bought it.
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Old 01-22-2006, 07:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Not exactly....
Formatting it erases everything on it and recreates the file structure on it. If you format it you lose everything on it. You will only make you hard drive exactly the same way you bought it if you bought an empty one. You will have to reinstall windows on it.

Partitions are basically used to divide up your hard drive into several smaller "drives." I partitioned my drive into the C: drive and F: drive.
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Old 01-22-2006, 07:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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that sums up formatting, partitioning is splitting up one hard drive into two or more parts so that one drive acts as two or more drives.
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Have you ever formatted a floppy disk? If you have, then it's no different then formatting a hard drive (except a few extra steps when formatting a harddrive). A DOS partition makes the drive "bootable". It allocates space to install windows or any other operating system.

EDIT: A regular partition, as mentioned above splits the drive into multiple logical drives. So it basically cuts it up in whatever sizes you want. So you can make two partitons on say an 80GB drive. Make one partiton of 40GB for linux (different operating system) and make the other 40GB for Windows. Or 60GB for linux and 20GB for windows.

If you want to know how to format a harddrive in a dos prompt do the following:

1. Put a diskette with no valued data in the floppy a: drive.

2. Go to start and open a command prompt, if you don't know what that is go to run and type "cmd" without quotes.

3. Now you have a blinking cursor right? Type "a:" (remeber no quotes)

4. You should now see a: with a flshing underscore.

5. Type format "a:/s". What this is telling it to do is format the disk in the A drive, and the "/s" tells it to write the system files.

6. It should pop up with a message saying "Warning all data will be lost. Continue? Type "y" (for yes) and it should then format. After it's done you have a completley clean disk.

**But remeber this is for a floppy disk. If you want to format a harddrive you must replace the A with whatever letter the drive corresponds to.**

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks all of you guys. I'm learning little by little.

Also why would want to format a floppy disk. Couldn't you just delete all the files on the floppy for it to be clean?
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:45 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well actually when you just delete things, it erases the adress. When you format you basically overwrite the files with nothing.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vybuni
Not exactly....
Formatting it erases everything on it and recreates the file structure on it. If you format it you lose everything on it. You will only make you hard drive exactly the same way you bought it if you bought an empty one. You will have to reinstall windows on it.

Partitions are basically used to divide up your hard drive into several smaller "drives." I partitioned my drive into the C: drive and F: drive.
I knew what it was, kinda had a hard time putting it into words.
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Old 01-22-2006, 10:51 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I know what you mean...I to have brain farts sometimes hehe.
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Old 01-23-2006, 02:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The biggest benefit, IMO, to splitting a hard-drive into multiple partitions is two fold: (1) data recovery and (2) reinstallation.

Say you keep your OS on one partition and your documents on another. If you're OS gets toasted and you have to reformat, all your files on the non-os partition are still there. Or if you just want to reformat because you've had a computer for a few years and installed/uninstalled tons of shareware, spyware, i.e., garbage -- you can reinstall on just the OS partition leaving your documents fully intact.

It's been my policy to do this ever since a few of my friends almost lost all their files because windows 2000 gave them the BSOD during boot.

Random Tip #1
Incidentally, if for some reason you can't boot your OS...try a Linux Live CD like Knoppix to move your files to safety before you reformat.

Random Tip #2
If you do have documents on a separate partition, read this article about how to move the target of my documents: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=310147
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