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How to do a low level format on a XP and a Vista machine

Posted on 2010-08-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I am going to do a clean install of Windows 7 Ultimate on my Dell Dimension 8300 and on my Dell Inspiron 9300.  As these machines have been around for a while I wanted to be sure there that all disk sectors are checked and corrected if necessary and have a clean disk to load Windows 7.

What is the most efficient way to go about this?

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Question by:thesurfer31
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11 Comments
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:Xenix
ID: 33473849
I usually stick to the zero-fill & diagnostics utilities of the harddisk manufacturers, do you know the manufacturers of the harddrives in those machines?
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:stergium
ID: 33473860
thesurfer31,
what you need to do then is a simple format and a check disk from a windows xp machine.
you dont need a low level format for an installation.
hth
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Expert Comment

by:adallen
ID: 33473870
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 33474198
Boot from Windows installation DVD and full format the drive. No other third party tools are needed for this purpose.
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Author Comment

by:thesurfer31
ID: 33475393
noxcho,

Does Windows 7 provide those tools so I can do a low level format of the hardisk?  I have not even opened the box yet.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:noxcho
ID: 33475464
When you run installation of Windows 7 you get to its partitioning tool where you can delete all existing partitions from HDD and then create new one formatting it.
In XP for example you get claim to press combination of keys to delete and format a partition.
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Author Comment

by:thesurfer31
ID: 33502670
Guys,

I found the following about NOT doing a low level drive

http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/geom/formatLow-c.html

My Dell Dimension 8300 is 10 years old and my Dell Inspiron 9300 is 5 years old.

What do yall think?
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LVL 47

Accepted Solution

by:
noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 33503716
I think your understanding of low level formatting and the one described in your link are different format methods. The link above tell the low level format that is done at plant (at HDD vendor side) and normally user cannot do it at home. All you can do is format the HDD into file system within the borders given by LLF at HDD vendor side.
My advice - use Windows format tool to format the drive and install the OS. You do not need any other approaches.
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Author Comment

by:thesurfer31
ID: 33503811
noxcho,

Ok, I will do that.

Now for a related question.  I have an "OEM" on the first partition of the first drive which is "C" while the windows environment is installed on partition two of that drive.  Can I just create one partition to hold Windows and my basic files?
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LVL 47

Assisted Solution

by:noxcho
noxcho earned 2000 total points
ID: 33504141
If you plan to delete OEM partition then yes. First of all delete all partitions from this HDD (sure if you do not have data on them) and then create new partition of this free space left after all partitions deletion.
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Author Closing Comment

by:thesurfer31
ID: 33504233
Thanks....
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