PC Doctor March 8, 2013

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Dear PC Doctor:

I have an external hard drive that I would like to use to back up my computer files.  I had used it for something else previously but don’t need it anymore.  Is there a way to reformat it so I’m starting with a clean slate?


Dear Matt:

As long as you are REALLY sure that you do not want the files stored on the external drive or that you have them safely stored somewhere else, it is a pretty easy matter to format the drive.   Remember once you format it, you will not be able to get back that information. 

I’m assuming that your external drive has a USB connection.  You will need to plug that into your computer and then plug the power cord into the wall outlet if your drive requires a power connection (some don’t).  Give the computer a minute to recognize the drive and then double click on the My Computer icon on the desktop.  If you don’t see that icon, then go to the Start Orb and in the popup menu; look on the right hand side of it for My Computer or Computer.  Look for your external hard drive under Hard Drives or Drives with Removable Storage.  If you are not sure which is the correct one, remove the external drive and see which one is no longer there.  Write down the number so you are sure you have the right one – IMPORTANT, so that you don’t format the wrong drive! 

When you locate the right one, right click on it and select Format.  In the box that opens, click the Start button.  Of course, you will get a warning message just confirming that you really want to do this.  Once you click OK, off you go!  Once it completes, you will have an external hard drive ready for your new purpose.

               PC Doctor

Until next time..happy computing!