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Quickest way to format a hard drive

Discussion in 'Windows & Other Software' started by Felix, 14 Aug 2006.

  1. Felix

    Mobster

    Joined: 25 Jan 2003

    Posts: 2,701

    I need to format a load of currently NTFS hard drives that are already in PCs. What is the quickest and easiest method?
     
  2. WolfR1der

    Hitman

    Joined: 28 Jan 2005

    Posts: 871

    Location: South West

    I guess you could download a Linux distro, burn it to multiple CD's and use the Partitioner in that. You could also try collect your hard drives together and hook them up to as few computers as possible if that would be easier. Sorry I can't get you a direct link to something... Things like partition magic can make boot disks that should do it for you, but I couldn't find a handy bootable shareware for formatting NTFS...
     
    Last edited: 15 Aug 2006
  3. Freakish_05

    Hitman

    Joined: 1 May 2006

    Posts: 810

    Location: Bristol, UK

    FDISK is my preferred method....You have the option to 'slow format' as well. Kinda defeats the object of formatting the drives 'quickly' but I like to have the option of slowly destroying most of my data.
     
  4. Energize

    Caporegime

    Joined: 12 Mar 2004

    Posts: 29,125

    Location: England

    Normal slow format checks the disk for errors and this is the method I've always used otherwise it can and has caused errors in the filesystem which causes problems in windows and needs to be fixed later with chkdsk. Slow formatting still doesn't delete anything. ;)
     
    Last edited: 15 Aug 2006
  5. AJUK

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 14 Nov 2003

    Posts: 10,949

    Do you just want to format or do you want to destroy the data?

    For cleansing hard drives I use Webroot's Windows Washer that allows you to create a boot disk that can overwrite the hard disk with a number of algorithms. One option is just to overwrite the boot sector that makes OS's think that the hard disk is blank and that can be done instantly. It isn't secure though and the data will remain. Other options can take several hours depending on how paranoid you are.

    Dariks Boor'N'Nuke and Active Killdisk are freeware options but again they take a lonf time. There are other commercial solutions but, apart from a gert big magnet, they all involve overwritting the hard drive and take a long time.
     
  6. masterluke

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 24 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,417

    Location: Cork, Ireland

    1)Get a desktop hard disk to USB adaptor.
    2)Go around each desktop pc with a laptop
    3)Connect each desktop pc to the laptop by USB
    4)"Format d: /q" (or whatever drive it is)
    5) Move to next desktop
     
  7. Felix

    Mobster

    Joined: 25 Jan 2003

    Posts: 2,701

    Thanks guys, in the end I found the killdisk utility. Did a 20gb drive in 10 mins.

    It was for a batch of PCs that were being shipped to Africa and I wanted to clear everything from the drives before they went.
     
  8. csmager

    Soldato

    Joined: 30 Dec 2003

    Posts: 5,770

    Location: London

    Geez - that's a lot of effort! Just boot the pc with something as boring as a win98 boot disk, type format C: /q. Achieves exactly the same with far less effort.
     
  9. AJUK

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 14 Nov 2003

    Posts: 10,949

    The data will still be there though. ;)
     
  10. csmager

    Soldato

    Joined: 30 Dec 2003

    Posts: 5,770

    Location: London

    Yep - hence 'achieves the same'. i.e. sweet FA, really.
     
  11. Belly

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 25 Jun 2006

    Posts: 1,323

    Location: Somewhere East of Eden