select disk 3
… where you of course replace number 3 with the number that corresponds to the current disc. Finally, run:
Your system will wipe the drive clean, with no hidden partitions or tables confusing your PC. Then you can click the Start menu, search for Disk Management and right-click on the drive to initialize and format it. Note that this only wipes the partition tables, it certainly does not delete all your data – some of it may still be available with file recovery tools. To securely delete all tracks (such as whether to recycle the drive or sell your PC), right-click the drive in Windows Explorer, select Format, and uncheck the Quick Format box. Or use a third-party tool like DBAN, which has a number of other secure deletion options.
Get a list of each program installed on your PC
When you get a new laptop or reinstall Windows, you will probably forget some of the tools you use every day and take for granted. Before wiping the drive, you can take a list of each program installed on your PC with a command.
Unlike the others on this list, however, this command must be run from PowerShell, a newer and more powerful tool built into Windows. Open the Start menu, search for PowerShell and launch a new window. Then run the following command ̵
Get-ItemProperty HKLM: Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Uninstall *, HKLM: Software Wow6432Node Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Uninstall *, HKCU: Software Microsoft Windows CurrentVersion Uninstall * | Select-Object DisplayName, DisplayVersion, Publisher, Size, InstallDate | Format-Table -AutoSize> C: Users Whitson Desktop ProgramsList.txt
Replace Whitson with the name of your user folder at the end of that command to get the file on your desktop. Note that this does not include Windows Store apps, which you can list by running:
Get-AppxPackage> C: Users Whitson Desktop StoreProgramsList.txt
Again, Whitson replaces with the name of your user folder. There will be a lot of rubbish in that list, but you can manually retrieve the few programs you want to remember and paste them into the original list, if that is easier.
See Star Wars (No seriously)
Ok, this is not exactly a “useful” trick, but it is absolutely nice. If you enable Telnet in Windows (search for “turn Windows features on or off” in the Start menu, and check the Telnet box), you can run:
To see an ASCII version of Star Wars in the command prompt window. This has been around for years and it still impresses me.
More great WIRED stories