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Hard drives are used frequently. They are used to store data in the form of files, document, photos, videos etc. Many a times we need format our hard drive. This is needs for installing some software, or when there is a virus attack on the hard drive, or when we need to give the hard drive to someone else, also when we just need to throw it. There are multiple reasons for formatting the hard drive. Depending upon the requirement, we need to know the method of formatting it. For example, if we want to format the hard drive on which Windows is running, we will not be able to perform this action successfully. This cannot be done because, for formatting the disk and reinstalling Windows we will need to boot our computer from Windows installation disc or any other bootable disc.

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Formatting can be explained as a process in which we delete the data which is stored in a hard drive. We should not do a quick formatting, as this may leave our data in place and showing us the drive as empty. Quick format is risky when we are giving our hard drive to someone else. This may lead to unwanted sharing of our data. It is ok to go for quick formatting when the hard drive is brand new or we just want to reinstall the Windows software. We should also make sure that we have taken the back up of all the photos, videos and other important documents from our hard drive which needs to be formatted.

The most important thing to know about hard drives is, they are divided into multiple partitioned. A hard drive has a huge storage capacity and so usually they are divided into smaller sections called partitions. If we need, we can format only one partition leaving other partitions untouched. But if we want to use the entire capacity of the hard drive we need to format the complete drive and also delete the partition information.

Formatting a hard disk cannot be done within Windows, we need to create a bootable CD, DVD or a USB flash drive and will have to run a third party formatting tool. One such option is Darik?s Boot and Nuke program. This program helps in erasing and formatting the hard disk. It will provide us a clean space to install new operating system. The only drawback of this program is, it cannot revert back to the process.

DBAN program will only be able to create a bootable CD or DVD. If there is no blank CD available, then we can use Universal USB Installer and convert the DBAN ISO image to run from a bootable USB. We just need to insert the blank USB flash, and run the Universal USB Installer program and follow the simple steps. We will have to select the Linux Distribution which we want to install in the USB. Then we need to give a location in out computer and then name it with any letter. Once we fill the information completely, we need to just click the create button.

We now need to change few settings so that our system gets booted with the USB drive rather than the normal booting device. We need to change the settings in BIOS. First go to the boot order settings, and change the value of primary boot device. It should be USB device. Then save the changes and exit from the BIOS. Now insert the bootable USB and restart the computer.

The computer will automatically boot the DBAN software which will help us through the process of erasing the hard drive. It will have options for wiping the data from different levels. System will treat the USB as a new drive. Once we boot into DBAN we can remove the USB drive.

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