Formating a Hard Disk with XP?

Tony D
5th September 2008, 08:43
Been building my own computers since the days of the first Pentium CPU,after many years of potterin about with these dammed machine of figured out it was oft simpler to bite the bullet ,format a worky ticket buggad up hard disk and do a clean install of operating system plus all your drivers and start afresh.
With Win 95 and win 98 this was a simple matter,one booted to bios told the machine to boot from the floppy bunged in the ms dos rescue disk in the floppy drive re booted typed "Format C:" an bobs your uncle,simple.
I have had XP on the latest machine I built a couple of years ago and as yet have not found a simple way (as above) to do this with a Hard Disk that has XP installed upon it,is there such a thing as a floppy disk with the format command for xp?
I think the original ms dos format command was not intended and cannot deal with todays very large disk capacity ie hundreds of gigabites,er I have tried with some painfull results,e reporting the disk size incorrectly
So chaps,is there such a thing as a simple bootable floppy disk of even a CD with a format disk command that can deal with a large capacity hard disk??

SHM 078
5th September 2008, 08:55
Just go into your bios and select the boot device as CDROM (or DVD etc) set this as the first boot device,save this change then reboot with the XP cd in the relevent drive,upon reboot it will ask to boot from cd press any key ,once you do this it will go through the start of setup,loading device drivers etc, it will then bring you to the partitions screen,remove any of the partitions you do not require by following the onscreen destructions,it will then give you the option to create a new partition for the new install and will ask if you wish to format the new partition using quick ntfs or standard,choose the desired one and then follow from there, it will then formate and install the new version,
Or you can use the format /c command from the dos prompt in safe mode i think it was,the above method works fine and will format the hard drive and reinstall the o/s as you go,
Ive used this method on hdd upto 250gb sata with no problems,


Tony D
5th September 2008, 09:24
I think I have tried that method,for some reason my XP CD does not do the things you say,if I remember correctly it tells me that there is already a operating system on the disk and advises against a reinstall if I insist it simple installs thE operating system over the buggad one and retains the problems,I have ran the Fdisk option form a win98 rescue disk and removed the partitions,but as I said in the first post it led to all sorts of other probs.
Why have they made it so bloody complicated.(Cloud)

5th September 2008, 11:08
As SHM says you have to use the Windows XP CDROM. After the configuration period as it boots up it should offer options to either repair 'R' which will take you into a command window scenario, or install including the ability to delete and create partitions and format the disk. FDISK in Windows 98 should be run if it is the updated more advanced FDISK, not the original.

The CDROM should give you all the functionality of earlier boot floppys.

Tony D
5th September 2008, 11:39
As I said I have tried this,no problem at all with a brand new unformated disk things happen as you say,with a disk that already has a XP operating system installed upon it don't,I have spent many hours try all the tricks I know to no avail frinstancs removing the partitions is fine,it then offer to format the disk but only in the ntfs file system it does not offer the fat32?
I have put the porked hard disk in as a slave and tried formating from the disk manager,it does format it, very very slowly but when I try to install a new operating system as per norm it tells me the disk size is being reported incorrectly.
I have been pointed to websites that offer as downloadable boot disk for XP, it require four floppy disks?no mention of a simple bloody format c: dos command on any of the four disks.
In fact one has become so frustrated one just nips out buys a new hard disk,do the biz with this then install the knackered hard disk in as a slave and copy the files I want across then bin the bloody duff Hard Disk,hard disks are very cheap now I know but it irritates that a disk that could have been recovered very simply at one time and re used is wasted.

SHM 078
5th September 2008, 11:59
You have probably seen or tried this but worth a shot ,



Tony D
5th September 2008, 12:24
Thank you Mr SHM will keep that in me bookmarks,I'm begining to wonder if the XP disk I have is genuine,it never seems to do what other peoples XP disks do,it is actually a XP upgrade disk to upgrade from win98SE.
A lot of the problems I am having at the moment are due to Mozilla Firefox,the earlier version was great had no probs but I downloaded the upgrade and have had nowt but trouble since.
Think I might try this new Google browser.
Thanks for the help chaps

K urgess
5th September 2008, 13:21
You may have to install the Win98SE o/s first and then upgrade it.
If the drive is SATA just get the array program to rewrite the boot sector and that will force Windows to format.
You definitely need to boot off the CD but be careful that Windows names your Hard Disk as C:
I've just reloaded windows onto this PC and to make sure it went right I got a new hard drive and left the old one out of the machine until I had windows up and running so that it wasn't consulted during the format and installation.
I know this happens because my copy of Office is an upgrade 2003 and it should ask for the original disk. It didn't because it found the old version on the old disk.
I suppose you've tried booting up using your old drive and then just typed Format C: at a DOS prompt. Must admit to not having tried that with XP.


Tony D
5th September 2008, 15:37
That's what I normally do,I have hard disk with clean operating system and drivers kept on the bookshelf,so I can whip the old disk out at the first sign of trouble and be back in operation in a couple of minutes,and yes I have to install WIN98SE before I can install XP.

K urgess
5th September 2008, 16:34
Have you tried formatting a floppy disk with the "create an MSDOS startup disk" option checked, copying from your hard drive onto the disk, booting your system from the floppy and then running format?
Format is in the Windows system32 directory on my machine.

5th September 2008, 20:17
If you have a Windows XP upgrade you still should not have to install Windows 98 first. I have just completed a job installing XP from an upgrade CDROM. Admitted I was installing onto a new unformatted disk, but the only criteria is after booting up on the XP upgrade disk, it will during the installation ask you to insert the 98 CDROM to check that you have a valid licence for Windows 98. It will then allow you to install XP in the usual way.

Ideally I would use the updated FDISK (search for it on the Internet if you don't have it) to delete all partitions on the disk and then boot up on the XP CDROM and install in the usual way, with the 98 CDROM handy for when it asks for it. This way all partition creation/formatting etc will be done by the XP CDROM. The only job the Win 98 CDROM will do is confirm you have a valid operating disk prior to installation. It is not required for anything else.