How can I format the C: drive when Windows is on it ?

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  1. Posts : 106
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2
       #1

    How can I format the C: drive when Windows is on it ?


    How can I format the C: drive and make it "like new" ?

    I've been having some random freezes when using Firefox & Thunderbird, the only programs on the PC. I ran sfc /scannow several days ago & it supposedly fixed or replaced some files. There have been no problems for 5 days and I figured the problem was fixed. Until today when TB froze 3 times.

    Since FF & TB are the only things on the PC I figured why not wipe the drive & restore an image.

    But I can't format the C: drive using Windows because Windows is on it.
    I tried using the Windows boot media because it has the ability to format. It shows 4 partitions on the C: drive and I tried to format the first one but it would not let me. Even if it did that means I'd end up with 4 separate formatted partitions.

    How do I wipe out everything & make the drive appear like it's brand new?
    Or is this something not usually done?

    My concern is that whatever is corrupt is not going to fixed if just restore an image. Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks for any suggestions
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  2. Samuria's Avatar
    Posts : 6,555
    windows 10
       #2

    You should be able to delete all the partitions then leave it blank and let image create paritions
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  3. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 14,165
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #3

    @Mike100

    You need a 3rd party partitioning tool, like Minitool Partition Wizard bootable version.
    You can boot from this media, and do whatever you want to the C:\ drive.


    Minitool Partition Wizard 11.0 Tech - bootable media - ISO

    Dropbox - Partition Wizard 11 Tech.zip - Simplify your life

    Burn to a CD or use RUFUS to create a bootable USB stick.
    Insert CD or USB stick, then reboot computer.
    From the "Boot Menu" choose the UEFI option (for the CD or USB stick).

    For the various "keys" that are used by different motherboards or laptops, to access the Boot Menu, go here...

    Boot Menu Option Keys For All Computers and Laptops | [Updated List 2021] |


    Here's a pic of that webpage....


    How can I format the C: drive when Windows is on it ?-0000000-boot-menu-bios-keys.png
    Last edited by Ghot; 23 Sep 2021 at 22:26.
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  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 21,939
    10 Home x64 (21H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #4

    Mike100 said:
    How can I format the C: drive and make it "like new" ?

    I've been having some random freezes....
    No drive can ever be made "as new" if it's starting to fail. Before reformatting everything you should check your drive's health. The drive's SMART data can be a guide to its health, particularly the raw values for 'Reallocated sector count' and the 'Pending sector count' (sectors that have failed and been replaced with a 'spare', and sectors that are possibly about to fail). Both these counts should be zero for a healthy drive.

    I use the Portable apps version of CrystalDiskInfo to read my drives' SMART data.

    CrystalDiskInfo Portable (disk health monitoring) | PortableApps.com
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  5. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 14,165
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #5

    @Mike100

    Here's a pic of Minitool Partition Wizard. It's a newer version, but is pretty much the same.
    This is installed in Windows 10.
    It's free to download, but I wouldn't try formatting C:\ with Partition Wizard (installed) on a computer that's freezing. Best Free Partition Manager for Windows | MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

    I just right clicked the C:\ drive to show you the drop down choices...

    The bootable version will allow you to do the same things.



    How can I format the C: drive when Windows is on it ?-image1.png
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  6. Posts : 106
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2
    Thread Starter
       #6

    Several times a day Thunderbird would open & freeze to a blank screen & would say "Not Responding" in the upper left corner. Once in awhile Firefox would do the same. I could not close out of them in Task Manager & had to power off the PC.

    I reinstalled TB but it made no difference.

    I ran sfc /scannow & it supposedly fixed a problem and everything worked great for 5 days, But today TB froze 3 times.

    I just restored an image & we'll see how that works. However when I opened File Explorer I got a blank screen & "Not Responding" message. A wonderful way to start things off. We'll see what happens.

    I ran SMART from Samsung Magician & there were no errors.
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  7. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 14,165
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #7

    Mike100 said:
    Several times a day Thunderbird would open & freeze to a blank screen & would say "Not Responding" in the upper left corner. Once in awhile Firefox would do the same. I could not close out of them in Task Manager & had to power off the PC.

    I reinstalled TB but it made no difference.

    I ran sfc /scannow & it supposedly fixed a problem and everything worked great for 5 days, But today TB froze 3 times.

    I just restored an image & we'll see how that works. However when I opened File Explorer I got a blank screen & "Not Responding" message. A wonderful way to start things off. We'll see what happens.

    I ran SMART from Samsung Magician & there were no errors.



    Since you already had the problem with freezing... whatever is causing it is probably in your backup as well.
    If you think it's a Windows problem, you can try an In-Place upgrade... before you do a clean install.
    Doing this on a computer that's freezing might present problems also.



    Repair Install Windows 10 with an In-place Upgrade



    Here is the short version of the In-place upgrade tutorial...

    DISABLE non-Microsoft:
    a) antivirus software
    b) firewall software
    c) drive encryption software

    Make a full OS backup with a program like Macrium Reflect (free)
    Macrium Software | Macrium Reflect Free

    Go here and get the Media Creation Tool and save it to your desktop.
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/soft...load/windows10

    RUN the Media Creation Tool and use it to: Create an ISO image... save IT to your desktop.
    This will be the latest version of the ISO image.



    Right click the ISO image and choose: MOUNT
    Open File Explorer and you will see a new drive letter. It will look like a DVD optical drive.
    Double click the new drive letter to open it.
    Find setup.exe and double click it to start the in-place upgrade.

    Choose the Keep personal files and apps option.

    After it's all done... to UNmount the ISO image, right click the new drive letter and choose: EJECT.


    The ONLY thing you will lose is some of your personalizations. Your programs and data will be intact.



    Unfortunately, an In-Place Upgrade will "keep" all your 3rd party drivers as well. So if one of them is the problem... an In-Place upgrade won't fix that. It will fix any Windows problems though.
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  8. Ghot's Avatar
    Posts : 14,165
    Win 10 Home 10.0.19044.1387 (x64) [21H2]
       #8

    @Mike100

    You can also try Step #5 in Option One, here...

    Use DISM to Repair Windows 10 Image
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  9. AddRAM's Avatar
    Posts : 4,434
    Windows 10 Pro x64
       #9

    Clean Install Windows 10 | Tutorials (tenforums.com)

    When you reimage your OS drive, you are not using it.

    Sounds like maybe you didn`t image all of the necessary partitions needed, or your OS was bad when you made the image.

    Do a clean install if you still have problems after doing a repair install.

    Download W10 and make a brand new USB installer.

    Download Windows 10 (microsoft.com)
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  10. Posts : 106
    Windows 10 Pro 20H2
    Thread Starter
       #10

    Thunderbird has been working for about 24 hours & now opened to a blank screen & "not responding".

    Every time I walk by the PC I check email on a few accounts. I've probably opened TB 25-30 times without a problem. I know random problems are difficult to diagnose, but if a file was missing or corrupt then how could TB work all day until now?

    I realize I may have to reinstall Windows, but shouldn't there be something in Event Viewer or a log that would give a clue to what the problem is? When I was looking at the options in Task Manager I created a dump file before I powered off the PC. Could there be something in it that might indicate what's wrong?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have the latest drivers according to the mobo's website. I've always heard that's the best place to get drivers. I also installed the Samsung NVM Express Driver 3.3 that's recommended for their EVO 970+ M.2 drives.

    Is it worth updating the BIOS?
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