Steps to Erasing a Hard Drive in Windows XP

Often it is necessary to erase a computer's hard drive because a virus has invaded the operating system or because you wish to erase all your personal data before selling or donating your computer to someone else. There are various ways and programs available to erase a computer's hard drive, but the easiest way is to reformat the hard drive yourself. Basically, what formatting does is erase all previous data and systems on the computer's C drive, allowing you to reinstall a new operating system on a fresh slate.

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Load the Windows XP operating system boot disc into the computer's disc drive. Turn the computer off.

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Press the "Power" button to restart the computer. The computer will boot off of the XP disc.

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Press "F10" after the Welcome Screen has finished loading the list of boot drivers. Alternately, select "Recovery Console" and press "Enter."

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Type in the administrator password. Press "Enter." If your computer is set up not to require an administrator password, press "Enter."

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Type "Map" and press "Enter."

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Type "Format C: /fs:ntfs" when you are asked which drive you want to format. "Press "Enter."

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Type "Y" for yes when you are asked if you wish to proceed. Press "Enter."

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Type "Exit" when the formatting process is complete. Press "Enter" to exit the boot disc and restart your computer. The system will boot from the XP disc. Wait until the Welcome Screen has finished loading the list of boot drivers and select "1" to reinstall Windows XP on your computer.