Well, there are many steps in reformatting your hard drive properly. Many things you will want to consider before you do:
1) Do you have all of your original program/driver discs that came with my computer?
2) How are you going to back-up your data? DVD-RW, CD-R, Tape Drive, Second hard drive? Remember, although Windows has many drivers built-in for compatibility reasons, some methods are better than others for backing up. I prefer to send all of my data across the network at my house to another computer.
3) Have you written down all the things that you will need to remember? Passwords for programs, phone numbers (for dial-up users), internet favorites. Also, many programs, such as Musicmatch, require you to type a key to activate the full version of the software. If you bought the key off of the internet, make sure you have it written down somewhere. Many companies offer a lost key retriever service, but its a pain and takes more time than to just write it down.
4) Back up all of your regularly used files. Documents, pictures, videos, music, whatever you want to keep. Remember, you can always just not use some of the things you backed-up, but once you re-format, you can never get it back. If you are a game player, you need to find out how each game saves its files. Usually, you can find the game save files in the folder that the game is located. Look for the name of your game, and write down the location of the file, i.e. C:\Program Files\LucasArts\X-Wing Alliance\. When you reinstall everything onto your computer, just move the file back into the same location. If you use outlook or equivalent for your e-mail, remember to export your all of your used folders. i.e. Your inbox, sent items, contacts, calendar and such.
5) Is it an opportune time to reformat? Do you have a big project coming up for work/school that you need to finish? Taking the time to backup/reformat/reinstall/re-customize a system can take a long time. Do you have the time to do it, or should you wait until later?
Alright, now for what you asked for:
1) Make sure you have everything that you need off of your computer and onto a reliable medium. (See above step 2)
2) Insert your Windows XP Pro CD and reboot your machine.
3) Hit any key to boot off the CD. This may take a while depending on your machine. Be patient.
4) The next screen will have a few options for you. It will say something to the effect of Install Windows XP.
5) If a screen comes up and gives you the option to repair your drive, use that option, if not, proceed to step 6.
6) The next screen should come up quickly and allow you to view the different partitions that were created on your drive.
7) Go to the primary partition and follow the instructions on how to delete it. It is usually d to delete, then L or F8 To confirm.
8) All your information is now gone. Now you need to make space, or get the hard drive ready, to receive the new Operating System.
9) You should see the partition screen again, now, instead of Partitioned Space there should be something that says Unpartioned space. Go to that and follow the directions for creating a new partition. Usually C, Enter to set at maximum size, or you can use the keypad to change the value, and sometimes you can name the partition. I always use the default name.
10) You should once again see the screen that you saw in step 6, now, go to the partition that you just created, and follow the directions there for installing Windows onto it. Usually Enter.
11) After this, its pretty much smooth sailing. Windows will take over, and there should be no more DOS-like commands.
12) Once you reinstall, re-customize everything, youre set to go.
Submitted by: Brenton H.
I have found the best way to resolve problems with WindowsXP installations is to return the hard drive to the state it was in when it came from the manufacturer. To do this you will need a DOS system boot disk that has a copy of "FDISK" on it. I keep a version 6.2 DOS system disk handy for this very purpose.
First make sure your BIOS is set to allow you to boot from a floppy drive. With the DOS disk inserted into floppy drive boot up your computer. While booting your monitor will display "Starting MS-DOS...".
The boot process will stop with the message "Current date is (giving the days date) Enter new date (mm-dd-yy): " displayed on the screen. Simply press the enter key to continue. This will then cause the message (Current time is (giving the time set on your computer) Enter new time.
Again press the enter key to finish the boot. Your screen will then display the message Microsoft (R) MS-DOS (R) Version (version number)
(C) Copyright Microsoft Corp 1981-1993. Below this A:\> will be displayed with a blinking cursor.
Next you will type FDISK (the command in not case sensitive) and hit the enter key. Assuming you have only one hard drive you will see current fixed disk drive, you will then be presented with four options. 1. Create DOS partition or Logical Dos Drive. 2. Set active DOS partition.
3. Delete partition or logical DOS Drive. 4. Display partition information. Entering 4 will display the number of disk drives and the partitions on each. Make a note of all of the partitions listed, along with the type of partition it is. Press ESC to return to the main menu.
Start the deletion process by entering 3 in the Enter choice box.
This will bring you to another menu with four options 1. Delete Primary DOS Partition. 2. Delete Extended DOS Partition. 3. Delete Logical DOS
Drive(s) in the extended DOS Partition. 4. Delete Non-DOS Partition.
Start the deletion process by entering your choice at the "Enter Choice" box. Be sure you start with option 4 working your way to option
1 for the partitions that are on your disk drive. Keep following the on screen prompts to complete the deletion process.
This process will have to be followed for each disk drive in your system. Once it is completed your system will not recognize that you have any disk drives installed. This is what you want as any problem you are now encountering will be removed from the system.
To finish the installation process, simply make sure your BIOS will allow you to boot from a CD Drive. Place your Windows CD in the drive, boot your system to begin the re-installation process of your system.
Power Quest has a program called Drive Image 7 that will keep you from ever again having to strip your hard drive. It accomplishes this by backing up your hard drive on another media, such as CDs, another disk drive, or tape media. I keep mine backed up on an external disk drive.
You will need to make sure you have your drive backed up before you make any changes to your system, such as installing a new peripheral, or even a new program. If your system begins to give you problems after the installation, simply restore your previous back up and your system is restored to the state in was in before the installation. If however, your new installation does work make a new back up of the system encase future problems crop up.
Drive Image has been bought by Symantec. If you like Norton, then get the latest copy of Norton Ghost. However, if you would rather not be plagued with Norton, search the web for Drive Image 7 which is the last version Power Quest came out with before selling to Norton. There are still a few venders that have Power Quest 7, as I purchased another copy a few weeks ago off of the web.
Submitted by: James S.
My Procedure is to:
1) Make a backup to another hard drive, DVD or CDs ( I have a spare 80GB hard drive that I install temproarily just for that purpose). Things you will want after you are done that you may not think of now: Passwords (we forget them when Windows remembers them for us), addresses, favorite URLs etc, images, settings you like for both XP and software.
2) Get drivers for your main board (this is important), all cards and peripherals and put them on a CD, DVD or a spare Hard Drive. If you can't find the original installation CDs for your peripherals, www.driverguide.com is free and very helpful, if you have make and model numbers. You may have to get the main board drivers from the manufacturer.
3) Get a Windows 98 startup disk.
4)Boot from the Win 98 startup floppy (You may have to change your BIOS settings to make the floppy boot before the hard drive), run fdisk from DOS on the hard drive to delete all partitions. At this point everything on your old hard drive is gone, gone, gone.
5)Boot from the XP installation disk (may require another BIOS setting change, but probably not since there is no operating system on your hard drive and no floppy in the slot). Follow instructions to partition and format your hard drive and install the XP Operating System. Then set the BIOS like it was originally.
6)Install the main board drivers (this is important) first, and then the drivers for the functions built into the main board (usually sound, USB ports, maybe video, LAN, RAID, SCSI etc).
7) install all peripheral and add-on card drivers. This is time consuming, but necessary. In fact, getting and installing these drivers will probably be the most difficult part of the job.
8)connect to the internet and get any available updates for XP. Your ISP will usually help you get connected.
9) Install applications.
10)Retrieve any important files from the backup made in step 1. (Do Not try to Restore anything from the backup, just copy the files you want. Any Restore operation is likely to move the problem you were trying to solve in the first place to your new installation)
Submitted by: John H.
First, Plan your move!!
(Assuming you're not a newbie).
- Save all your data files and documents on CD or on a different hard drive/partition.
some examples are: My Documents, address book, Playlists, album art, and any other files you saved under Other personal directories.
- You can also save your emails if you chose to by moving your email application's storage folder to another drive/partition.
Now the most important steps...
- Make sure you save all your drivers, again, on a different drive/partition.
If you need a simple way to do this (or even if you want to learn more), go to http://msn.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,119266,pg,6,00.asp
This is one of the easiest ways to do it.
- If you're using a non-IDE hard drive (SATA or SCSI...) as your boot drive, make sure you have the necessary files (probably on a floppy disk) that you will use for the "F6 install" of WinXP.
Now is the time to...
- Check for newer drivers for your hardware and your mainboard (chipset), download and save them, one more time, on a different drive/partition. (You don't want to install drivers, then update them a few days later).
- Decide whether you want to replace or add hardware.
- Plan the way you want to partition your hard drive. Remember, do NOT play with the partition that has all your above-saved files.
- If your computer came with a system restore CD, check to see if it really IS bootable on this PC.
(Many older models come with CDs that are either non-bootable, or that simply will not boot on the machine it came with). If this is the case, It is time to dig out those floppies that came with your computer and you carelessly stashed away (one of them maybe your boot diskette). If that fails, make a bootable floppy disk with drivers for your CD-Rom drive (and test it to see if it works and that you can use your restore CD).
Now that you're ready...
1- If it is a system restore CD, and it is bootable, Put it in your CD drive and restart your PC.
Follow the prompts to restore your computer...
It normally will restore your PC to the state it was in when you purchased it.
-You might be offered two choices:
** Restore without formatting (In this case your data files are not erased, but your new system could inherit bugs from the old one you just replaced, and you will have to re-install all the applications that did not come with your PC anyway). Go to http://msn.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,119266,pg,3,00.asp
for more help on that.
** Restore with format (My favorite). Let's face it, if someone decides to go through all that trouble, he must have a pretty good reason for it in the first place (system problems, bugs, spyware, etc...) Bottom line, if I do it, this is the way to go. The only way to make sure none of the problems pop up again after the restore.
2- If it is a Windows XP CD, just put it in the drive, restart your PC, follow the prompts with the assurance that you have a plan, and that you're ready. Win XP is a decent system, it should do most of the work.
- Optional: You will be presented with a choice to press F6 to install SCSI drivers for non-IDE hard drives. If your system drive is SCSI or SATA, this is where to tell your PC about it.
Note that it takes a while after you press F6 for the PC to stop and ask you for the floppy disk, don't panic, it will happen.
-You probably do not want to repair Windows, so choose a new installation.
-for the location of the installation, choose the drive/partition that you know has your old windows, and DELETE the partition (involves pressing D and L etc...), then, re-create the partition and choose to install windows on it.
-Format your partition.
If you're experienced, NTFS is the way to go.
If you're not, then FAT32 is OK.
After that, it should be smooth sailing...
Windows will install most of the drivers, and the ones it cannot install, it will prompt you to do so, and all you will have to do is point it to where you had saved your drivers.
If You have SP2 (service pack 2), install it right after windows.
Important Notes about drivers:
-Most USB Peripherals like to have their drivers installed before they are connected to the PC.
-If you have new mainboard/chipset Inf files, install them first.
-Remember that "First things first" and try to be logical about the order of installation of the drivers. Although it should not make a difference, if you have doubts, use logic... (Mainboard first, then display etc..). It is always better to have your display card working well before installing a TV card, right?
Most Important of all...
Do not connect to the internet before you have installed your Firewall, your anti-virus, and maybe even an anti-spy program.
and remember, if, before the installation, you had changed you email storage folder to another drive/partition, point your email program to that location...
Submitted by: Khaled S.
Before you can even start thinking of Formatting your hard drive you must first find out if you have the install cds that came with the webcam, Video card, printer .If you dont have them I suggest you go to http:www.drivergide.com and download the correct drivers for each device. When you have these drivers you must write it on a cd for future use. Make sure you back up every thing you want to save on cdd or so.
Now your steps on formatting you pc:
1) Insert the window XP cd and start your computer up. (Make sure your first boot device are set in Stuffy; cd rom then HD)
2) It will prompt you to boot from cd rom pres any button Just pres any button like spacebar or enter.
3) When it is finish configurating your pc to start up it will as you to setup or repair windows. You use to setup win xp
4) It will then inform you that there is an existing window on it. Pres Esc to install a fresh copy of windows
5) Use the same directory and same partition of the current operating system. Just pres enter.
Now it should prompt you to ask if you want to format this partition using NTFS.Say yes. I prefer NTFS above FAT32. You can decide.
It should start formatting now and after format the setup should start automatically.
During the setup you will be prompt to insert your Serial Key and also date and time line. When it come to network settings you can just say next to auto configure it.
Let it run thru and just follow it as it install. It is very user friendly and whala you have a fresh win xp on your pc.
Please note you can also repair a current instillation. You do the same as above to start but where it prompt you to repair a windows instillation you can use that one and it will reconfigure your windows.
Submitted by: JJ B. of South Africa
I know if I was on a service call to someone's home or business and they just wanted me to reformat their hard drive with XP Pro with a clean boot, first thing I would ask is if they do not have their product disk do they at least have their PRODUCT KEY CODE. if you have least that any bootable disk will work. If not they will need to repurchase a new Key Code or request a replacement from Microsoft.
As far as their peripherals and drivers needed I usually try to get a list of information before going to the site as to what they have models, serial numbers, etc and download the drivers for them before hand and creating a bootable disk with a good back up program I like to use that has saved many recalls from happening in the future. Using a method called "Slip Streaming", I create a bootable disk first with the OS with all current SP updates, with standard drivers they will need as well at the same time. This will reduce time in the long run, and these disks can be left with them afterwards of they ever get into trouble later.
Once there I can verify that all the information they gave me on their products match what I downloaded drivers for, do not want to make matters worse by uploading the wrong drivers for their equipment.
First thing I verify is to make sure their CD-ROM is currently a designated bootable device in the system Bio's. Once that is done then I would make sure ALL internet connections have been physically disconnected from the machine. Once all of that is done, then insert Bootable XP disk and from the instructions I will see it will give me options to either "REPAIR An existing partition", "DELTE EXSISTING PARTITION", or a "RAW INSTALL". So I know I have other places to be I opt to delete the existing partitions by following the instructions given, and allowing XP to do it all for me within a few clicks. Once it is done, restarting itself I then insert the bootable drivers disk for their system peripherals. Last but not least I then add an Antivirus and firewall, and reconnecting the internet connection. Afterwards any additional software they may have for their system.
A bootable XP disk will repair, delete, reformat, and or install itself depending on what you want, just by inserting the disk and booting the machine to the disk when prompted to do so. There is a lot more that can be done than just reformatting. Reformatting is and should always be looked at as the last means not the end means. Registry back up disks, can be used to clean a system, and a repair done to an existing install may all that be needed. Question is how much time do you want to spend and how fast do you want to be back up and running. And that back up program I use for most clients, and they rave about it, is TECH IN A BOX. Once you have all the OS and all standard software needed loaded then it will create a DISE back up partition for you just by clicking on CREATE a backup all automatically you just sit back and let it do it's thing. Then if ever in trouble again, Open TECH IN the BOX look for "Restore to Factory Conditions" and let it do it's thing and you will be back to where you started when you created the initial backup. NOTE* all data will be lost from the back up date to the present if such data is not backed up prior to Factory set up.
I like it because it is a failsafe restore point Manager and creator all in one for the End User.
And if you want to learn step by step on how to "slip stream" and create a bootable disk of your own, go to tomshardware.com and look down the page to "Tom's Guides" in the left column and choose the "PC How To" and read all about the right way to do it. (SLIP STREAMING NOTE* for XP users only) Hopes this helps...
Always and Sincerely yours...
"In the wind...." John 3:8
Submitted by: Barry B.
You didn't say how long you have been running WinXP Pro. Have you been running it for a while and you want to clean it up to make it run faster? Or did you upgrade? You didn't really say. Reformatting and re-installing is a long days work. It doesn't guarantee that everything is going to work properly either. If you don't have a major start up Problem it might be better to just clean out all the sludge. It is the easier and safer way to go. It takes less time and if everything is working properly. You won't have to worry about something not working properly.
You would be amazed at how many programs automatically load at windows boot up. Not all of the icons that start up will show up on your system tray. all these start up programs use up memory and resources which may cause some conflicts. I will give you help on both options and you decide what way you would like to go.
This will take a couple of hours to do like I said earlier. First off, I would do a back up for safety just in case something doesn't go right and you can't get everything to work properly. There are many programs that you can use to make a back up of everything on your hard drive. You can use Norton's ghost or pay out $50.00 US. to pick up Acronis True Image and back up your important data. Second. Make sure you have all of your program disks ready for re-installing all your hardware drivers and programs.
To format your hard drive. click on your My computer Icon on your desktop. Right click on your hard drive and you will see Format in the drop down list. If you don't have My Computer on your desk top. Click on the Start then My Computer again Right click the hard drive and you will see the format in the drop down menus. Then get your windows Installation cd or your Restore CD that came with your computer. If you are using a factory restore cd and it didn't come with the a Cd then there should be a restore on your hard drive. If this is the case. You might not want to do a reformat unless you have done a full back up.
If you have downloaded and use a bunch of shareware or freeware programs that you want to use. You will have to make sure you save them to reinstall after you reinstall windows. You will have to make sure that you have all the registration codes for them to work to turn of the free trial into a fully functional unlimited version.
With any luck. You won't need the CD that came with your hardware, which are neither easy to access or are up-to-date. After you reinstall windows. You will need to go to update all the critical updates to make sure you have all the security bug fixes. Once you install all your hardware you will have to update all the drivers as well. It is a good idea to check to make sure all your hardware is working properly by going to control panel and checking in Device Manager to make sure there are no yellow check marks or explanation marks beside any of your hardware.
Now if you just want to clean out all the cobwebs that have built up and slowing down your computer. Here is the directions on how to do this.
First thing you want to look for is what starts up when you boot up your computer. with WinXP you only need a few icons at start up. One is windows messenger. Even if you don't need or use it. The reason is that if you don't use it at start up. It can cause problems with Outlook, Internet Explorer and other Microsoft programs. And your firewall and antivirus programs. The other stuff just eats up memory and you don't really need them on startup.
To clear out all the unneeded start up programs click on START the RUN. in the pop up box. try in MSCONFIG, and press enter to open the system start up configuration utilities. Click the start up tab and uncheck any item that you don't want or need to start up when you boot your computer. This will help make your computer run faster as there isn't as much stuff hogging your memory. If there is stuff in the start up config that you don't know what they are you can read what they are in the command column. If there isn't anything in there you can check on goggle or your favorite search engine to see what they are and what programs they run.
You can also check for spyware that slows your computer down. I would go with two spyware programs because one will miss things that the other will find. Lavasoft's Ad Aware and Spybots Search and Destroy are the best 2 programs that are free. Once you clear out your start up files and run your spyware your computer should run as if it is a new computer
Either way you go good luck with you choice and hope that it all goes well if you decide to reformat, or have to format because you just installed WinXP Pro.
Submitted by: Ron T.
It is a very simple to reformat your hard disk. And don't worry about peripherals it is of least concern.
The first thing what you should do is to BACKUP YOUR DATA!
If you have two or more partitions then you can copy your data to another partition.
If you have only one partition or want to repartition your drive then you will need to backup data on CD or external drive.
After backup restart your computer & set it to boot from CD. (don't forget to put in your WinXP CD) Also it is a good idea to remove all USB peripherals.
Then follow on screen instructions from setup.
After Windows is installed then first install motherboard drivers. After that INSTALL WINXP SP2 or HOTFIXES. Then install DirectX & then proceed to graphics drive & then go to others.
It is always advisable to install security updates before going online.
Hope that helps
Submitted by: Aditya R.