I've got an old Hard Drive from gateway laptop and I wanted to delete the partition that had the vista backup and formate the entire drive for my backup. I haven't been able to figure out how to do this. Hoping for help.
The tool in Windows for this is Disk Management. Click on Start at lower left, then RIGHT-click on My Computer and in the mini-menu chose Manage. In the new window that opens, expand Storage in the left column if necessary so you can choose Disk Management.
On the right there will be upper and lower panes. Each of these SCROLLS so you can see all its devices. The upper one shows you all the drives Windows can use now. The LOWER RIGHT pane is what you need. Scroll to your old drive you want to empty out. It is represented by a horizontal block with a small label square on the left end. To the right of that are one or more sub-blocks that each represent Partitions defined on this drive. Each Partition will have some info in it about its name, size, file system, etc. Since you want to get rid of all of this, for each Partition RIGHT-click on it, then choose to Delete this Partition. Do this for all you see until there is only Unallocated Space on the drive. Back out of Disk Management and reboot the machine so the Registry can get up to date on your changes.
Now go back into Disk Management and find that drive. RIGHT-click on its Unallocated Space and choose to Create a Primary Partition. Set its size as you like up to the full disk size, do NOT make it bootable (so it is only for data). At this point if you are already inside a Wizard that helps, you will also see options for the Format part of this task. Chose to install the NTFS File System, and I suggest you do a Full Format. Full (vs Quick) will do the format job and then take MANY HOURS to exhaustively test the entire disk surface for bad sectors. Run this task. When you are done, back out of disk Management and reboot again. You should find that disk as a new drive in My Computer, ready to use.
If you find no Formatting options included where you first set up the Partition, that task may be done as a separate one. In that case you do the Partition Creation job first. THEN you RIGHT-click on the new Partition and choose to Format it. Set options as above and run the format task. Then you can back out and reboot.