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  1. #1
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    Reformat drive (WinXP)

    I consider myself pretty computer savvy, but fortunately, I have never had to reformat the hard drive and reload WinXP (or any other OS) from scratch. Any suggestions? I am helping a relative out, and I want to clear out their hard drive and reload WinXP as a clean install.

    Thanks,
    Kathy

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Reformat drive (WinXP)

    I haven't formatted a drive since I got Windows 3.1, but I do have three thoughts: (1) make backups of as much as you can, in a format you will be able to restore (e.g., not the ever-changing Windows backup format, and not an image that you can't restore selectively); (2) make sure you have all license keys, activation codes, and so forth, BEFORE wiping out the current installation; and (3) allow many hours to complete the process, because CD drives are SLOW.

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    Re: Reformat drive (WinXP)

    Kathy--

    We had this question recently on an XP thread and I will try to find it and link you to it where I remember Mark (WW) giving some advice. XP will do its own formatting--short or long and I remember Mark saying there was a qualitative difference in that and true formatting but that it should be adequate. This had to do with sectors, I think so instead of stumbling on I'll try to find that thread and see if I can find a formatting reference. But you defnitely get the chance to format quick or longer when you load Windows XP as a clean install.

    Also I know some good screen shot sites on the install and instructions and if they seem helpful I'll put them up when I find them.

    SMBP

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    Re: Reformat drive (WinXP)

    Having done many format and clean installs, I can confirm that <!profile=jscher2000>jscher2000<!/profile> has covered all the key points. Be prepared to look in some not so obvious places for data it could be useful to back up. The Application Data folder is worth doing, and it may be simpler to back up the entire folder (although you won't necessarily need ALL of it). If your friend has been using Outlook (not Outlook Express), make sure you backup the Local SettingsMicrosoftOutlook folder as well. You may well have covered these points already, but HTH.
    Gre

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    Re: Reformat drive (WinXP)

    Just did this recently myself. My registry was completely bloated to the point that it made my P4 perform like an AT. Anyway, before you start reformatting -

    Step One - make sure that you've copied DATA files to a safe location, like a CDR. Almost every program you use maintains a data file. It's easy enough to reload the programs: Office, Games, other software. But what about all the work, the address book, the high score data, the letters, the spreadsheets, the music files, the picture files, custom wallpaper, toolbars, etc. The "My Documents" folder is a good place to start. These are the things that you could possibly never recover!

    I easily spent half a day creating CDR backups of data, and using pen & paper to jot down settings from IE, Start Menu structure and customizations, color schemes, email settings, passwords, etc.

    Step Two - Make sure you have a FULL VERSION of Windows XP (Home or Pro). An upgrade version won't do. Once you format the C drive, there's nothing to upgrade...

    Step Three - In the System Bios settings, make sure your PC is set to boot from an optical drive (CD). My PC let's me select a 1st, 2nd and 3rd device to boot from. It checks each item in sequence. I leave my 1st item set to ATAPI CD-ROM, then floppy, then C: drive. If the 1st two items are empty, then it reverts to the C:drive.

    Step Four - Insert your original Windows XP CD into the CD drive. Use the power switch to switch the PC off. Wait a moment and switch it ON. The Windows XP CD will search your PC and give you several on-screen options: Repair a previous install, do a new install, etc. If you follow the on-screen prompts, it's fairly simple to do a quick format of your hard drive, set the partitions and do a fresh install of Windows XP.

    Note: There are a number of other considerations: Fat32 vs. NTFS. Do you have all the driver disks for hardware that WinXP may not recognize (i.e. printer)? Is there a better solution to the problem (may not have to format the drive!). Make sure you have your WinXP Serial Number. Finally, there may be other considerations and you should wait to see the tips / advice from other loungers before proceeding...

    Good luck.
    - Ricky

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    Re: Reformat drive (WinXP)

    <hr>An upgrade version won't do. Once you format the C drive, there's nothing to upgrade<hr>
    Almost. The upgrade CD will ask for proof of ownership of the previously installed operating system, at which point you provide the installation media that was used for it. The key here is to make sure that the operating system in question qualifies for the upgrade to Windows XP.
    -Mark

  7. #7
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    Re: Reformat drive (WinXP)

    Kathy--

    You may find these links helpful. In a clean install you simply put in the XP CD, let it scan for prior Windows installations, pick the partition you want to install to and set up any other partions, and setup will delete, format and do your clean install. I'd recommend an NTFS file system--plenty of NTFS vs. FAT discussion on the lounge and on www.ntfs.com. I'd choose the regular format instead of the quick format so that setup can scan the disk to check for bad sectors running the chkdsk command when you choose it. I noticed that the KB recommends using chkdsk /r for repair. Good choice.

    Here are some additional links, many with step by step screen shots and a lounge thread that provide install and format information including the differences between a "Quick Format" and "Format" in a Windows XP Install:

    Lounge XP Thread: Format 2nd Hard Drive November 29, 2003

    302686: Differences Between A Quick Format and a Format During Windows XP Setup

    Black Viper's Windows XP Installation and Format Guide with Step by Step Screen Shots

    Clean Install Windows XP

    Using the XP CD to Format Hard Drivers

    Windows XP Pro Clean Install Screen Shots

    XP Pro Clean Install Text

    HP Home Clean Install Screen Shots

    How Do I Format With Windows XP?

    SMBP

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