Utility software programs help a computer user perform diagnostic tests on the computer hardware and adjust stored data. Diskpart is one such program available to Windows users that allows someone to set up and format individual disks contained in a hard drive. Some Diskpart operations take longer to complete than others, especially those involved with clearing data from large drives.
Diskpart.exe is a utility program available on Windows 7 that processes text-based command prompts regarding an owner's computer drives, including partitioning, listing drives and cleaning them. Windows 7 users can open Diskpart by opening the command prompt from the Start menu, typing "diskpart" into the command line entry and pressing Enter. Windows 7 users can access the command prompt from the Start menu by clicking All Programs, then Accessories and then Command Prompt; select the "Run as administrator" option if necessary.
Diskpart is capable of running a number of text-based commands other than "clean" or "clean all." For example, the Diskpart utility software can list disks or disk partitions; once Diskpart has been opened by a command prompt, running the commands "list disk," "list partition" or "list volume" will list each disk, partition or volume contained on the computer's hard drive. Diskpart can also be used to convert basic disks to dynamic disks and vice versa, create partitions or delete a disk partition.
In Diskpart, the "clean" command directs the utility software to clean a specific disk of any partitions and hidden sector information, clearing the disk of all data. To view different hard drive disks, enter the "list disk" command in Diskpart and press Enter. Choose the disk to clean by typing "select disk *" where * is the letter or number Diskpart uses to identify the disk. Type "clean" and press Enter to begin cleaning the selected disk. This process, similar to a quick disk format, can be completed in under an hour, depending on the size of the disk.
The "clean all" command in Diskpart performs essentially the same job that the "clean" command does, but the operation is applied to all disks on a drive instead of a selected disk. Using the "clean all" command clears the data from every sector on a disk, reducing the value for each sector to 0. Although the time necessary to complete this process also depends on the size of the drive, "clean all" will take significantly longer to complete than the "clean" command does. For example, Diskpart users report clean times of longer than five hours when attempting to clean a drive as large as one terabyte, or about 1,024 gigabytes.