A hard drive is a mass storage device found in all computers---it's the mechanism on which all the information for your computer is stored. To keep your Internet surfing private and your computer running at maximum speed, it is crucial to keep the hard drive clean. There are different processes and programs you can try, but to deep clean your hard drive you need to reformat it. By reformatting the hard drive, you get rid of all unnecessary files and folders and deal with any viruses or other repair problems with the computer. In a few steps you can reformat your hard drive and get your operating system nearly back to new.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Backup all important data. Once you format the hard drive, all information will be lost. Back up any programs or files you may want later and check the backup is actually saved before going any further.
Disconnect the computer from all networks. This ensures the safety of your computer, because experts from Georgia Tech say an unpatched Windows computer will probably not even last 30 minutes on the Internet before it is compromised.
Insert your Windows CD into the disk drive and reboot the computer. The computer will boot from the CD automatically.
Follow the Windows Setup process, and select "Set Up" when prompted whether you want to set up or repair Windows.
Agree to the license agreement.
Highlight the "C" drive partition and press the "D" button to delete it and "L" to confirm. At this point all information on the C drive is erased.
Click "Enter" to install Windows on the "Unpartitioned Space."
Follow through with the set up process.
Patch the system and reconnect to the appropriate networks.
Install any available Microsoft updates.
Restore all your programs and files to the computer. At this point it is safe to put your information back onto the computer so you can copy all of your old files to the proper locations and install all applications. You now have access to all of your saved programs and files as before, but now the hard drive is deep cleaned and should work just like new.
Tips and warnings
- You should run the Disk Cleanup tool on your computer at least once every two to three months to keep it working at top speed. For people who regularly use the Internet, every couple of weeks is ideal. The first few times you run a deep clean of your computer it may take quite some time to finish, but the process becomes quicker the more often you run it.
- Always ensure you have antivirus software installed and updated. The importance of this software cannot be overstated and it helps keep clutter from building up in the hard drive.
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