Formatting a hard drive may seem like a highly technical task. However, through a set of procedures, you would be able to format any hard drive regardless of the level of your computer skills. Below are the steps in formatting a hard drive using Windows XP.
Backup the important files presently contained in your hard drive. When you format your hard drive, all the information in it will be erased. You therefore have to check all the folders in the drive and see if there are files inside them which are important to you. You can backup your files by writing them to a disc or copying them to another hard drive. If you want to backup small files, you can also try sending them to your own email.
After making backup copies of your files, you are now ready to format your hard drive. Right-click on the My Computer icon on your Desktop. Select the Manage option. Once the Computer Management window appears, select the Storage option, and select Disk Management (Local).
The visual representation of your hard drives will appear. These will also show the partitions of your hard drives. Partitions refer to divisions of space within a drive. If the drive you will format has a partition, you need to delete it before formatting the drive. Do this by right-clicking on the Partitions box and clicking on Delete Partitions. Click on Yes when you are given a confirmation message.
Right-click on the box for the hard drive you will format and select New Partition. The New Partition window will appear. Click the Next button. Make sure the Primary Partition is selected, and click the Next button again.
Afterwards, the New Partition window will ask you if you would like to format the hard drive. Click Yes and select NTFS. The said option is faster and more secure. Then click on the Finish button. The length of time for formatting your hard drive depends on its size and on the type of computer you are using. You will know when the hard drive is fully formatted when the “Formatting” word near the drive changes to “Healthy”.