Dell computers, like other PCs and Macs, have a tendency over time to accumulate junk. This can happen slowly over time or quickly, with a computer virus. Sometimes just uninstalling old programs and running disk cleanup utilities isn't enough to free up your hard drive, and you have to start over. Wiping out your Dell Inspiron may be the best way to go.
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Log in to Windows 95/98/XP/Vista or 7 as the Administrator. It is not enough to just log in to an account with administrator privileges.
Press the "Start" button. In the "Run" prompt, type the word "Command." This opens up a command prompt.
In the command prompt window, type "format c:" and press "Enter." You will receive a warning that proceeding will cause all data on the hard drive to be erased.
Type "Y" and press "Enter" to begin the format of your hard drive. This can take anywhere from several minutes to more than an hour depending on the size of your hard drive and the fragmentation of the data. When the process is finished, you will have wiped out your hard drive, with nothing (not even the Windows operating system) remaining on your Dell Inspirion.
Tips and warnings
- If you are wiping out your Dell in order to get rid of a virus, make sure you know the virus has simply infected your files before you proceed. Some viruses will affect the boot sector of a hard drive, which cannot be destroyed by a simple format. You will have to use the "Fdisk C:" command in order to destroy the partition (and the boot sector) completely.
- Still, a few other viruses can infect your computer's BIOS or CMOS, in which case neither a format or fdisk will get rid of it.
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