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Should you format when you build a new computer?

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May 30, 2004
It doesn't hurt. I like to do a slow format so any bad sectors can be marked off as unusable. It takes a bit longer, but it's cheap insurance.


Feb 6, 2007
Well should you? Does it make a difference?

I think it is good to because it lessens the chance of driver conflict from the previous hardware install. In otherwords you may not be able to get rid of all of your old drivers and have random freeze and locks ups for something as simple as a fresh install.

Know Nuttin

Senior Member
Mar 25, 2004
Ontario, Canada
I don't upgrade often so it's a good excuse for me to also clean the system. Otherwise, I could be less bothered to sit there and reinstall everything if I wasn't doing a hardware upgrade. MB upgrade (CPU at same time) are normally the only real reasons I do clean installs. Other devices don't warrant enough reason to do clean install unless there are driver conflicts that are unresolvable. The only exception is an SSD, whereby for it to be aligned properly, it is easier for me to allow the OS to do this during partition creation/formatting portion of installation.


Nov 30, 2009
Being driven crazy...short drive.
until the factories start to ship out drives pre-partitioned and formatted, then you still have to let the installer for whatever OS you are using set up the partitions and format the HD in whatever way it deems necessary for proper setup.

Right on the mark Tollhouse. When building new, from new components, you must format the drive as most are shipped with raw platters. This step also lets you partition the drive, which can let you set up an easy re-installation/upgrade path. Also it will matter which OS you are using, as they all have differing file systems. It would be hard for a drive maker to know if you were going to install windows(NTFS), a linux(ext2,ext3,ext4,reiserFS,etc...), or anything else. Also, how the heck should they know if you want a 10 gig partition for the OS or a 20 gig one? A 2 gig swap or 4? Formatting is probably the most confusing and yet rewarding step of the install process.


Jun 15, 2009
Well a friend of mine got a new computer and recycled his hard drive. He didn't reinstall Windows and is running it okay. It was a major upgrade as well from Core 2 to Nehalem. I guess if it works for him then all is good...


May 8, 2004
Full Formats are not needed on modern drives. If you want to securely wipe data, there are specific apps for that, but a simple partition delete/create followed by a quick format is all you need (deleting the partition is a good idea especially if going from XP to Vista or W7 which properly align the new partition through the OS installer's disk tools).