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Windows 7: I want to format a system disk


06 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 professional X 64
 
 
I want to format a system disk

I want to format a disk on my PC but it is a system disk. Can I change attributes on this disk to allow me to format it. It has an old installation of windows 7 which is no longer used and I want to use it for storage and backups, and get rid of the win 7 installation on it.

Can I change my current C: drive with my current version of Win 7 to a system disk, to enable me to format the old windows 7 disk (D.

Thanks for your help.




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06 Dec 2010   #2
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

What appears to be happening is boot files are being used on disk0 (old D)
to boot C:
I would unplug sata connector to old D (disk 0) and plug it into c:. Leave old D disconnected for the moment.
Run
Startup Repair
up to 3 times
to C: boots in its own right on the disk 0 port.
Replace old D to the sata port C: was connected to and see if you can format old D now. It may require the disk to be cleaned. But try to get c: booting on its own first.
Strongly recommend you have an image of C: & F: (disk 2) first for security.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 professional X 64
 
 

I've just thought of a possible cheat.

What if I booted from my windows 7 cd. Go for an install on drive D: (the one I want to format), and when I get to the section where you choose which disk to install on (and allows you to format said disk before installation), cancel the install after the format.

Would that work ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Dec 2010   #4

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

If that did work you may end up not being able to boot off of C at all then if what MJF says is true. I'd follow his advice first.,

But secondly, I bet of you tried you'd find that the "FDISK" options during install are not usable in that scenario. I've run into that myself
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2010   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Odd Job View Post
I've just thought of a possible cheat.

What if I booted from my windows 7 cd. Go for an install on drive D: (the one I want to format), and when I get to the section where you choose which disk to install on (and allows you to format said disk before installation), cancel the install after the format.

Would that work ?
Well yes it would probably, but you would still have the issue that the poster above you pointed out.

The reason Windows won't let you format it at the moment is because "Windows Old" contains your BCD (Windows Bootloader). because you (for whatever reason) didn't allow Windows to create the 100MB System Reserved partition, your new install of Windows has just tacked itself onto the existing BCD on D:\

Basically, if you did what you just said, then your system won't boot. Which means you will have to follow the poster above you's advice and run Startup Repair 3 times anyway. You may as well just unplug C, run startup repair until the system boots, and then format it afterwards. At least that way you wont accidentally break your system and leave it unbootable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2010   #6
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I would use the bootable CD of Partition Wizard for the operation. Then you need not jump thru the 10 hops when you are using the system. It makes you independent of the system. And you can recreate the MBR too with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2010   #7

Windows 7 professional X 64
 
 

Or how about this ?


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My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2010   #8
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I would have to say that one sata lead swap and startup repair 3 times sounds about as easy as you can get it. C: is already marked active.
It couldn't be easier. I must be missing something.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Dec 2010   #9
Microsoft MVP

 

Either mjf or whs solutions will work:

Swap DISK0 cable to Disk2. Leave DISK0 unplugged, boot the Windows 7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots to write the System boot files to C. Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times

When you plug back in D, wipe it with Diskpart then repartition in Disk mgmt. Disk - Clean and Clean All with Diskpart Command

Or you can use free Partition Wizard bootable CD so you have a picture of what you're doing. Swap Disk0 and disk2 cables, or set Disk2 as first HD to boot in BIOS setup. Rightclick D to Wipe the disk, Apply steps then run Windows 7 DVD Startup Repair x3. Windows 7 should start on its own.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Dec 2010   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Odd Job,
If you followed my steps in post 2 you would have the job finished in under 30 minutes.

The repair function in windows 7 takes care of all the rebuilding steps. You basically have to "press go" 3 times. I actually think Partition Wizard may confuse you more for what should be a very simple task.

The only step of the process I would recommend Partition Wizard for (for this task) is to safely clean up your old drive D:. Diskpart is fine to clean but you need to make sure you have selected the correct disk before applying clean. Also "Clean all" will take quite some time and gives no feedback. Partition wizard will give you more visual feedback for the Clean component.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 I want to format a system disk




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