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Windows 7: Formatting question!

07 Apr 2009   #1

Windows 7 RTM 64bit, Windows 8 Pro 64bit
Formatting question!

I have XP installed on my 2'nd hard drive but I want to format that hard drive now. How do I do that in Windows 7? Under Disk Management the option to format is grayed out!

Please help!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #2

7600.20510 x86

Just use your bios to boot to the Win7 DVD. Upon install, when you choose which drive it wil be installed to, you can also format then and there. Be careful you choose the right HDD. That's assuming you want a clean install placed, of course.

Windows will not let you format a drive if it's being used for page file, temp files move any references away from that drive, reboot and try again. That's if you aren't planning to install 7 on it.

Also, just using "computer" i.e. windows explorer, you can right click on the drive and choose format.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #3

Windows 7 RTM 64bit, Windows 8 Pro 64bit

Hi torrentg, I don't want to install any OS on that hard drive, just for all my files. I tried to do the right click thing in windows explorer, but it won't do the format. Can you please tell me how to move references away from that drive?

Thank you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Apr 2009   #4

Win7 Ultimate x64 on Desktop / Win7 Ultimate x86 on laptop / Win7 x86 Starter on Netbook

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #5

7600.20510 x86

What is the exact error that happens when you right click on the drive and try to format? Does it just say, "Windows was unable to complete this format?"

Start menu | right-click computer | properties | advanced system setting (left side) | advanced tab |

Now you can click environment variables. Make sure the two listed directories for temp and tmp and not on the XP drive. If they are, move them away.

Then in the bottom part, in system variables section at the bottom, do the same for them (tmp and temp.)

Click ok. Then under performance, click settings, then advanced, then change. If "automatically manage page file for all drives" is checked, leave it alone. If not, make sure the XP drive is not being used here. Exit all of this.


Make sure that there are no open programs that are running from your XP drive. If there are, kill them using the task manager.

Now try to format again.

Any probs, post back. Good luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #6

Windows 7 RTM 64bit, Windows 8 Pro 64bit

This is the error I get.

Formatting question!-picture1.png

Thanks so far!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #7

Vista Ult 64 bit Seven Ult RTM x64

Hello Bull,

I believe that the reason you cannot format that partition is that you had XP installed first. This means that the partition may contain the boot files for all the OS's you have installed. Formatting it would make your system unbootable. I have the same problem with my Vista partition. I seem to be able to format the drive from windows explorer, but have not hit the last ok button to be sure that no warning ect. comes up. If you are planning on installing the RC when it comes up, I would just wait until then. You could then unplug the harddrive and install the RC which would create a boot record on the other drive. After that was done, you could plug the 2nd drive in and format with no worries. Another possibility would be to unplug the drive from the Mobo and see if it boots. If not you should be able to use the W7 install disk to do a repair install to the boot record. Make sure the DVD is bootable. If you can't get things working you can simply plug the HD back in and boot and we'll look for something else. Maybe someone else can confirm this or has a better idea as I haven't actually tried it.


I see that you did try to format. That post wasn't there when I started to answer. sorry
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #8

Windows 7 RTM 64bit, Windows 8 Pro 64bit

Sorry, I am not sure what to do here!!

Formatting question!-picture2.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #9

7600.20510 x86

That's fine, TheBull. You can leave that as is.

You can copy the "boot" folder and "bootmgr" file from the XP drive straight to your windows 7 drive. Both to root.

Inside the boot folder, windows will not let you copy the important file "BCD" though. You can use VistaBootPro to backup this file. After doing so, you can then cut and paste the copied backup into the new Windows 7 drive boot folder. You may have to also rename it to bcd instead of bcd.backup or whatnot.

Now make sure the boot folder on both drives are identical.

Restart computer, then go into bios. Change the boot drive to the Windows 7 drive, instead of the XP one.

Restart and boot into Windows 7. Now you should be able to format the XP drive if all went well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2009   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64


Just to expand on torrentg's post.

Boot into 7. Go to folder options, Unhide protected operating system files.

Then copy and paste bootmgr and the Boot folder from the XP drive directly onto the root of your 7 drive ( skip copying bcd as it won't let you ).

Open an elevated cmd prompt, and assuming C is the 7 drive letter,type:

bcdedit /export C:\Boot\bcd {enter}

Then change the boot drive as Torrentg described.

Hope it helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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