How to Erase a Dell Hard Drive


Erasing your hard drive is almost never fun or painless. There are many reasons which would require you to clear your hard drive. You may be selling a computer, upgrading your operating system, or your hard drive may have become infected with a crippling system virus. Whatever the case is, you need to know how to delete all files and folders from your hard drive. Often times this means that you need to reformat your hard drive.

Things You'll Need

  • Floppy Disk

Create a Startup Disk

  • Click on the "Dell Startup Disk FIle" link in the resources section of this article. The file is called "cdenap.exe." Wait for the "File Download - Security Warning" window to open. Click on the "Save" button.

  • Wait for the "Save" window to open, and then select the location you want to save the file to. Select "Desktop" and click on the "Save" button to save the file to the desktop.

  • Double-click on the "cdenab.exe" file on the desktop. Wait for the "Open File" window to appear, and then click on the "Run" button.

  • Wait for the "Dell Computer Self-Extracting Hard diskette Set - 1 hard diskette(s)" window to open and click on the "Setup" button.

  • Hit the "Enter" key when the "Press Enter to continue or Ctrl-C to exit" window appears. Insert a blank floppy diskette when windows prompts you to do so.

  • Click on the "Y" button when the "Hard diskette in drive A: is about to be overwritten with new information " message window appears. Press "Enter" when the "End of the hard diskette set" window appears to exit the setup wizard.

Erasing the Dell Hard Drive

  • Insert the startup floppy disk into the floppy disk drive, turn on your Dell computer and hit the F5 key when the Dell boot-up screen appears.

  • Type "format c: /q" at the command prompt window. Wait for the "WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK DRIVE C: WILL BE LOST! Proceed with Format?" window to appear. Hit the "Y" key to continue.

  • Wait for the "Volume label (11 characters, ENTER for none)?" message window to appear. This is basically asking you to give a name to the hard drive. Enter a name, or press the "Enter" key to leave it blank.

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  • Photo Credit hard drive image by BigDog from
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