Question Can someone please help me format my secondary hard drive?

Dec 12, 2020
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Hi! I recently had some problems with my computer and decided to do a fresh install of Windows. I installed it on my SSD (C:). But when I did, many of the programs installed on my secondary drive, a 1TB HDD (F:) stopped working, but still took up space. For example I installed Halo MCC from the PC GamePass but after the fresh installation the app didin't recognise that it was still on the HDD, and it didn't let me uninstall it either.
So now, because of that and some other reasons I would like to format my secondary drive and delete everything on it (I already made a backup of stuff I want to keep) but I'm scared of messing up. I'm scared primarily because when I accessed Disk Management ir shows me that the HDD is holding something called "System Reserved (D:)" and I'm worried I shouldn't delete it. Like this:


So, can someone walk me trough formatting my drive without breaking everything? Thanks for everything.
 

xenthia

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Sep 20, 2012
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Hi! I recently had some problems with my computer and decided to do a fresh install of Windows. I installed it on my SSD (C:). But when I did, many of the programs installed on my secondary drive, a 1TB HDD (F:) stopped working, but still took up space. For example I installed Halo MCC from the PC GamePass but after the fresh installation the app didin't recognise that it was still on the HDD, and it didn't let me uninstall it either.
So now, because of that and some other reasons I would like to format my secondary drive and delete everything on it (I already made a backup of stuff I want to keep) but I'm scared of messing up. I'm scared primarily because when I accessed Disk Management ir shows me that the HDD is holding something called "System Reserved (D:)" and I'm worried I shouldn't delete it. Like this:


So, can someone walk me trough formatting my drive without breaking everything? Thanks for everything.
Hi, the simplest way to be sure that formatting your drive will not break something is to do as follows:
Shutdown the system take out the HDD and boot up the system using the SSD. See if windows boots up without any problems and then try to see if all your programs run ok, check to see if all your files are where they are supposed to be, try to remember if there is something like a precious html file, or Word document you might be missing, something you may have hidden somewhere on the HDD that you might have forgotten about and that you need, passwords or some other files.
If the system boots up and the files you need are where they are supposed to be that means it is mostly safe to format that HDD entirely. If not shut down the system again and connect the HDD and then boot up the windows and see if you can locate the missing files and relocate them somewhere else like the SSD.
Also since you have put a label on the reserved partition it seems, like D: browse into that partition and put a screenshot of the content of that partition here, so we can take a look and tell you what it is and if you need it or if you can relocate it somewhere else.

cheers.
 
Dec 12, 2020
3
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10
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Hi, the simplest way to be sure that formatting your drive will not break something is to do as follows:
Shutdown the system take out the HDD and boot up the system using the SSD. See if windows boots up without any problems and then try to see if all your programs run ok, check to see if all your files are where they are supposed to be, try to remember if there is something like a precious html file, or Word document you might be missing, something you may have hidden somewhere on the HDD that you might have forgotten about and that you need, passwords or some other files.
If the system boots up and the files you need are where they are supposed to be that means it is mostly safe to format that HDD entirely. If not shut down the system again and connect the HDD and then boot up the windows and see if you can locate the missing files and relocate them somewhere else like the SSD.
Also since you have put a label on the reserved partition it seems, like D: browse into that partition and put a screenshot of the content of that partition here, so we can take a look and tell you what it is and if you need it or if you can relocate it somewhere else.

cheers.
Thanks for the reply. I don't remember actually assigning a letter to that drive, from what I remember it did it on its own when I installed the SSD for the first time a few months back. If I access System Reserved this is what I see.

The Program Files folder has another folder in it, called "Modifiable WIndows Apps" and that folder appears to be empty. When I try to access the WindowsApps folder it tells me that I don't have permission to access.
 

xenthia

Distinguished
Sep 20, 2012
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Thanks for the reply. I don't remember actually assigning a letter to that drive, from what I remember it did it on its own when I installed the SSD for the first time a few months back. If I access System Reserved this is what I see.

The Program Files folder has another folder in it, called "Modifiable WIndows Apps" and that folder appears to be empty. When I try to access the WindowsApps folder it tells me that I don't have permission to access.
Well in that case it seems to be ok to format the drive, but to be sure that it doesn't make any problems, just shut down the system, detach the power and data cables to the HDD, and then boot the system back up and see if windows boots up ok, check your apps and software and if they run ok, and check if all your important files are there. If all your important files are accessible all documents all passwords everything important, and the windows boots up ok, and your softwares run ok, it means it is totally safe to zero out the HDD.
 
Dec 12, 2020
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Well in that case it seems to be ok to format the drive, but to be sure that it doesn't make any problems, just shut down the system, detach the power and data cables to the HDD, and then boot the system back up and see if windows boots up ok, check your apps and software and if they run ok, and check if all your important files are there. If all your important files are accessible all documents all passwords everything important, and the windows boots up ok, and your softwares run ok, it means it is totally safe to zero out the HDD.
Very wel. thank you very much ~
 

Karadjgne

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I'd suggest starting over. Right now you'll have 3 partitions, C, D, E. C being the ssd with windows on it, D being the Windows Cab files except they are on the HDD (that's all the zip files windows uses to be Windows, it's a reserved backup to replace any messed up files) and E which is the rest of the HDD.

When you create Windows, C&D should be on the same drive, E stands alone. What you did was leave the HDD in place, install the SSD and then Windows, but it's using the HDD too. This can create issues as now windows thinks it's much bigger than it really is.

So pull the hdd data cable, then install windows from scratch on the SSD, it'll create C&D automatically and any associations. Get it all updated and finished. Then plug the hdd back in, and...
View: https://youtu.be/6lTrZopRtE8
 

RolandJS

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Mar 10, 2017
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I have always given my physical hard-drives and all partitions such as C, D, E, F, etc., unique names (max is eight characters I think). That way, no matter what boot/load, no matter what utility, the unique names "tell" me what's what. Especially during backup operations, restore operations, such info is priceless for me anyway.
 

Karadjgne

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Most people will name their drives, even if it's nothing more than 'the ssd' and 'the hdd'. But drive names are irrelevant to the pc in general, it's just a personization. What matters is the drive letter assignments instituted by the partitioning software. A/B is reserved for floppies, but this is often reassigned with OEM reserved space as restore/system files, since they can't be accessed by normal/accidental usage. C is primary boot drive. D is usually used for optical drives as it could also be part of the boot sequence, but can be anything. E-Z is any other storage drives, USB drives as needed.

For Op, the hdd contained B/C, that's windows restore drive (B) and OS + storage (C). When the ssd was installed and Windows added (C), it already registered the restore, now moved to D, and extra storage (E).

And that's where the issue lies, windows is now split in 2 physically seperate drives. If Op formats the hdd and removes the partitions, he loses D, the restore/replace/fix info.

Better to pull the hdd from service, allow windows to install the restore partition as B on the ssd, then partition the hdd.

If you look around the web, anyone and everyone will tell you to uncouple all storage drives prior to installing windows, for just this reason. You want windows on C physical drive fully and alone.
 

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