Want to make HDD factory fresh, start over.

I am a new builder with an Intel DG965WH MOBO, a Hitachi Deskstar 7K160 80G HDD, and XP Pro, SP2 purchased for OEM.

Through various newbie experiments, I have now got my one HDD partitioned as Disk 0, with one primary partition (C:)30GB, and one extended partition with 2 logical drives (D:)37GB, and (E:)10GB. Using Disk Management, I see that all 3 volumes are healthy, that (C:) is a System drive, and that (D:) is the boot drive.

When I turn on the computer, one of the early screens is an opportunity to choose between 3 different operating systems, all Windows XP Professional. Only one actually works.

I know I could use the setup as is. However, partly to learn more, I would like to get the HDD back to where it was when it came out of the box, and start initialization, partitioning, and formatting from the beginning.

I can't find anything on this forum, support.microsoft, GPARTED forums, or Hitachi support that tells me how to do this. I can't get FDISK to run from a bootable floppy. I can't get GPARTED to run from a live CD-it won't completely boot up-has a LOOP error.

When I try to delete C, I get "Windows cannot delete the active system partition on this disk." When I try to delete D, I get "Windows cannot delete the partition that contains your Windows system files." It looks like E: will probably delete.

I have no data, configurations, updates, etc on this HD. Every last byte could go.

Would appreciate any help. Seems like a very basic job, just can't find the answer.
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More about want make factory fresh start over
  1. See http://dban.sourceforge.net/.

    Burn to CD or create floppy. This will completely erase your HDD.
  2. "I would like to get the HDD back to where it was when it came out of the box" Unformatted? www.killdisk.com/
  3. The Simplest thing to do is just boot from the Windows CD and reinstall Windows. There will be an option to delete all of your partitions and start fresh.

    While not quite the same as a low level format, functionally it will be the same for your purposes. The other tools are only really important if you would be disposing of the HDD and you were concerned about a hacker retrieving deleted files.
  4. /\ TRUE /\
  5. yay said:
    "I would like to get the HDD back to where it was when it came out of the box" Unformatted? www.killdisk.com/

    I 2nd the killdisk option, but yes you can just use the XP CD to reformat the drive. But to get it back to "nothingness" kill disk works.
  6. Thanks to Tedmarshall, yay, and zenmaster.

    First, I tried DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke). Failed with message: "DBAN finished with non-fatal errors. This is usually caused by disks with bad sectors." and invited me to submit the event log.

    Now, I am trying KillDisk. It is using the method of replacing all data with zeros. The program is estimating 12 and a half hours to complete. I'm just going to let it run, and check back tomorrow.

    I did not try the Windows setup method for two reasons: first, I may have already tried that-I couldn't remember for sure. Second, I want to get down to the lowest level possible, just for my own education.

    Will post report later when final answer in. Thanks all for help.
  7. Firstly set the hard drive up as a slave, and in control panel, go to administrative tools, an then go to computer management once thats open in the left hand window double click on disk management, you will see your hard drives and their configurations, choose the one u want to restore and start by right clicking on your logical drives and partitions and delete them leaving you with your active windows filesyou should then be able to just delete that active partition, leaving you with a 'raw partition' now u can start again from fresh....creating a new partition formatting, etc hope this helps :)
  8. Forget the "set the drive up as slave ... " - I think that poster meant as a data drive and NOT your boot drive. "Slave" is a term for a role on an IDE port, only. But as I read your post, this is your ONLY drive, and that's why Windows will not allow you to Delete its Partition that contains the OS.

    Completely re-installing Win XP from the Install CD, including Deleting all existing Partitions as the first step, will do almost all of what you want. But you already are doing a Zero Fill operation with Killdisk, which is a slightly more thorough way to empty the HDD AND force it to check every sector and replace any poor ones with good spares. When that is finished, you will truly have an empty HDD, and you can start your Win XP Install just as if it were brand new and empty from the manufacturer.
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