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If  data on your hard disk is corrupted it is advisable to format the hard disk and reinstall the operating system (usually Windows XP). If a new hard disk is used, you may prefer  to partition the hard disk into 2 or more drive. The operating system is installed on the first drive and a backup of the data is stored on the second drive.  

Formatting and partitioning data storage media

1. Normally, the Windows operating system is installed on the C drive. Since some files are in use when the computer is switched on, you will not be able to directly format C drive from Windows. You will get an error message about running tasks.

 If  you have partitioned your hard disk into C: and D: drive, you can format D drive first, install Windows XP. Store a backup of all your important files on C drive on D drive and only then reformat C: drive

 

2. If  the hard disk is not partitioned or you are working with a new hard disk, change the BIOS settings so that the computer boots from the CD ROM drive. Put the Windows installation CD in the CD ROM drive before shutting down the computer. You can create or delete a partition using the Fdisk command. Windows will show the hard disk, only when the primary partition is created. When the computer restarts, you will get an option - to format the drive and reinstall the operating system.

 

3. Partition and format your new Hard drive. Select the file system as NTFS (New Technology File System) or FAT32 (File Allocation Table) depending on kind of  data you are likely to store on the computer. NTFS has smaller cluster sizes and has security advantages, but FAT32 is the only system that can be used to reliably transfer data between Linux and Windows based PCs.

How to partition and format a hard disk drive in Windows XP  - article from Microsoft's knowledge base.

 

4. After formatting, 100% of the hard drive may not be free, since some space is used for storing MBR and other system data. In rare cases, due to temporary files , you may not be able to format your hard disk. In such cases, you should use some software to remove the partition and remove all the data.

 

5.Thumb drives or pen drives (data stored in flash memory) often give an error that drive is not formatted. You can try to reformat again using the FAT32 system. If this does not work, the memory may be damaged.


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