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Chilling_Silence
27-06-2002, 05:56 PM
FAQ# 33 How do I reformat my hard drive?

Your reasons for formatting your HDD May vary, it might be a secondary HDD or a Primary Drive (C:). You Might be Partitioning and wanting a clean slate, or you might be wanting a new start because you are infected with a virus that simply won't go away. Or You're second drive may be too full (Of Downloads or program files) and you want to start over. We're going to look at formatting with only one drive, and formatting with multiple drives.

Lets say that you have only 1HDD and are wanting to format. Clean the slate and start over. Firstly you'll need a Boot Disk.
Click Start
-Settings
-Control Panel

Double Click on Add/Remove Programs

Click the TAB that is labelled "Boot Disk"

Then create a boot disk

Once that's done, re-start your PC with the boot disk in the drive and select "With CD-ROM Support".
Place any Data CD (Pref your Windows Setup CD) in the drive and change to it to make sure it works. You do NOT want to format your PC only to find that you cannot install windows because you can't access your CD. So make sure you can access you Windows Setup CD

If it does work, change to your drive with Windows Installed, and change into the Win Directory

Change into your "Command" or "System32" dir and type:
copy format.com a:\
That will copy format.com to your floppy disk

Change to your floppy drive and type:
format c:
the rest is history, select yes and it's away.

When you're finished you'll need to change to your CD-Rom drive and install windows.

Notes:
To change drive, type the letter followed by a colon ":"
C:
A:
E:
When booting and using a CD-Rom if it was previously D, it will now be E, so on most PC's, the Drives are:
A - Floppy
C - HDD
D - (In windows) CD-Rom
D - (When Booting from Boot Disk) and Ram Drive (Temporary drive made by the boot disk of system files needed)
E - (When booting from boot disk) CD-Rom

To change directory in DOS:
CD windows
that will change you into your windows dir
to go up a level:
cd..

Just some basic DOS Usage.



Tell me what you think, I'll finish the secondary HDD one later. All comments and suggestions welcome
Jo

Graham Petrie
27-06-2002, 06:17 PM
Now you've got the idea!

Ok, how about XP - you cannot create a boot disk this way, but you can reformat during the install process using the install disk.

Also, talk breifly about file systems, and their appropriate command line switches eg FAT, FAT32, and for newer OS's NTFS.

Also, explain what formatting does, and warn about data loss, and advise backing up.

You don't want someone thinking that formatting simply cleams out unwanted junk, performing a format, and then wondering where their important research proposal has gone etc.

G P

Graham Petrie
27-06-2002, 06:25 PM
HEY! Didn't Murray P take 33 and 40????

G P

Murray P
27-06-2002, 08:20 PM
Yep I did. No problemo, I'll shift one down to 40 & 41 (don't think 41 is gone).

Haven't managed to make a start yet beyond thinking about it, very busy at work, so had better pull finger this weekend.

Would be a good idea to link formatting, partioning and installing/changing HDD, would it not.

Cheers

Murray P

-=JM=-
27-06-2002, 09:50 PM
I've never needed to copy format.com onto the boot disk before. Windows 98SE seems to do it for me.

Also should mention that some versions of Windows are bootable from the CD to do the reinstallation.

Sant
12-09-2002, 01:43 AM
You might want to mention the cmos boot sequence, what if it is set to C only. This is exactly what happened to my case and the boot disk won't boot up. Took me a while to figure out Cmos boot sequence to "A,C,Scsi".

Sant
12-09-2002, 10:00 AM
Sorry guys, I meant to say BIOS setup boot sequence, not Cmos.

Chilling_Silence
12-09-2002, 10:05 AM
Good point. Also, I found that Format.com and Restart.com are copied to the Ram Drive created. Restart.com is fun, it saves having to get me off my lazy butt to hit reset, although Ctrl+Alt+Del works, hehe.

I'll update in about ten minutes
Chilling_Silence

Chilling_Silence
12-09-2002, 10:18 AM
Your reasons for formatting your HDD May vary, it might be a secondary HDD or a Primary Drive ( C: )
You Might be Partitioning and wanting a clean slate, or you might be wanting a new start because you are infected with a virus that simply won't go away. Or You're second drive may be too full (Of Downloads or program files) and you want to start over. We're going to look at formatting with only one drive, and formatting with multiple drives.

Lets say that you have only 1HDD and are wanting to format. Clean the slate and start over. Firstly you'll need a Boot Disk.
If you're running 95, 98 and (Help me guys, does it work with NT or ME?)
Click Start
-Settings
-Control Panel

Double Click on Add/Remove Programs

Click the TAB that is labelled "Boot Disk"

Then create a boot disk

Otherwise, you could goto http://www.startdisk.com/ and download Ultimate Boot Disk

Once that's done, re-start your PC with the boot disk in the drive and select "With CD-ROM Support".

You might want to make sure that the Bios settings are correct and that you are going to be able to access your FDD on boot!

When your PC first starts to pwer on, getting into the Bios is likely to be either Del, F2 or F12. Which one depends on what brand your PC is!

When you're in the Bios, BE CAREFUL! It's easy to tweak a few setting here, another there and soon your PC is un-bootable for whatever reason. But in saying that, look around, it's not that hard to figure out what does what.

Now, depending on your Bios type. If there are two Columns of Options, one on the Left and the Other down the Right side, it'll likely be the second option from the Top on the Left that you're wanting.

If you have the option of Tabs up the top, it'll be nicely labelled Boot Options or similar.

You want to make sure it says something like:
A,C,CD-ROM
or
A,C,SCSI
as long as A is at the start.

Place any Data CD (Pref your Windows Setup CD) in the drive and change to it to make sure it works. You do NOT want to format your PC only to find that you cannot install windows because you can't access your CD. So make sure you can access you Windows Setup CD

Change to your floppy drive and type:
format c:
the rest is history, select yes and it's away.

When you're finished you'll need to change to your CD-Rom drive and install windows.

Notes:
To change drive, type the letter followed by a colon ":"
C:
A:
E:
When booting and using a CD-Rom if it was previously D, it will now be E, so on most PC's, the Drives are:
A - Floppy
C - HDD
D - (In windows) CD-Rom
D - (When Booting from Boot Disk) and Ram Drive (Temporary drive made by the boot disk of system files needed)
E - (When booting from boot disk) CD-Rom

To change directory in DOS:
CD windows
that will change you into your windows dir
to go up a level:
cd..
or to go to the Root Directory ( C: )
CD\

Just some basic DOS Usage.

Okay, It's a bit more revised, I'm just doing the Bios by memory, so Maybe I'll get into it later today and find out exactly what the labels are and stuff to clarify it a bit more.
Any other comments?
What about booting from CD-Rom, I never needed to format when doing Win2K install coz it did it for me, No boot disk either!

Chilling_Silence

chinadoll
12-09-2002, 04:21 PM
(So make sure you can access you Windows Setup CD)
How can I do that? Sorry for asking that as I am a newbie and not very familiar with tinkering with my computer.
Any sort of that information is useful to me.
Keep up the good work.

Thank you. (_)(_)

Chilling_Silence
12-09-2002, 04:30 PM
Hehe, That's a good question.
Firstly, ask yourself a question. In windows, what is my CD-Rom normall ( In my case, D: )
Then when booting off a disk, it'll be one letter after it! So mine becomes E:
If you have two HDD's, or partitioned your drive, it could be anything after that.

If you don't like Technical Jargon, stop reading.
The reason for this being is that microsoft makes what is called a RAM-Drive that uses RAM to emulate a Hard Drive
On this Drive are stored information such as format.com for formatting, edit.com to edit files, and CD-Rom drivers for DOS!
That's why your CD-Rom drive in DOS is always one letter after what it usually would be in Windows.

To check, type the drive letter followed by colon, for example:
E:

This will change to the E-Drive (Hopefulyl CD-Rom)
You can then type Dir/w
Dir is the command that displays the list of the directory and the /w part makes it do multiple colomns, Wide...

If you can see your Windows CD, You're all okay for Format!

Hope this helps

Chilling_Silence

Susan B
12-09-2002, 04:50 PM
> (So make sure you can access you Windows Setup CD)
> How can I do that?

If you are pretty new to tinkering with your PC I wouldn't advise you to be doing a reformat until you have thoroughly researched the process and know that ALL data you wish to keep has been backed up somewhere off your hard drive.

Anyway, to answer your question, if you have followed the instructions, you should be at the stage where you have booted your computer with your boot floppy in the floppy drive. This really depends on your version of Windows and applies to Win 95, 98 and ME.

Once the PC has booted from the floppy you should be at a C:\ prompt. To ensure you can access your Windows Setup CD type in E: (assuming the D drive is your CD-ROM. If it isn't type the letter that is appropriate). This will change the prompt to E:\ and you can then type in setup.exe to start the Windows CD-ROM setup.

Try and do this prior to reformatting and if it works just cancel the setup and reboot the PC without the floppy in its drive.


Chill: Obviously, from this person's question, there are sections in your How-To that need to be spelt out a bit more. You and I know what you mean, but complete novices to reformatting don't. You have to detail every step if you are to cater to them. From some of the other posts lately I understand that reformatting Win XP is totally different again so I think the FAQ really needs to clarify which versions of Windows it applies to.

Chilling_Silence
12-09-2002, 04:55 PM
mmm, true on both accounts.
Although, DOS is not the easiest thing for most GUI-Couch-Potatoes to get used to. Trying out the linux command line interface for me is, i guess, what it would be like for a newbie to try out DOS.
I guess I could re-write it, taking into account eerything, and detailing which windows versions it applies to. Although I haven't really had anything to do with the installation of XP, just use of it. Somebody said that you've basically gotta boot it off the CD? Would that be correct?! You can do that with Win2K although you don't HAVE to!

Get back to me
Chilling_Silence

Susan B
12-09-2002, 05:37 PM
I've got Win 98 (old PC has got Win 95) so I have no experience with other Windows versions. I just know things from what other people say. Graham P was telling someone the other day you just boot off the Win XP CD and away you go: it even asks if you want to reformat or not.

I know what you mean about explaining DOS to newbies, it is like a foreign language after Windows, but it's not as though pages of info is required.

You don't have to worry about rewriting it if you don't want to, but if you have the time and patience it would be good. When it's all finished Bruce can tidy up the FAQ so that it contains only the final version and not the "discussions".

BTW I've just noticed that you did actually specify which Windows versions the FAQ is for, so ignore my suggestion to do so.

Chilling_Silence
12-09-2002, 05:42 PM
Alright.
Your reasons for formatting your HDD are your own. You may want a clean slate after a virus infection, or you want a newer OS, or even just wanting to Partition your Drive.
This applies to installations of Window 95, 98, ME, 2000 And I dont do much NT.... :)
Firstly, Make a boot disk.
In Windows 95 and 98, and Maybe ME (I don't have immediate Access to ME or NT or XP) you click:
Start
Control Panel
then select Add Remove Programs
Click on the Startup Disk Tab and make the Disk. You may need your Windows CD for this.

This is what I'll be using for the installation.
Please note that all installations are very very different.
For XP help, you can goto:
http://www.min.net/~jsjr/Web2/get/Ubd.chm

Now, Restart your computer, with the boot disk in.
But firstly, we will be checking your BIOS.
Upon boot, to get into your BIOS, it's likely to be eith DEL, F2, or F12. Which one depends entirely on the Brand of your PC.

Beware, changing something you don't understand can result in your PC becoming un-bootable! Be careful what you adjust!

If there are two columns, select the second from the Top on the Left, Labelled BIOS features.
Going down about five, on the left should be Boot Sequence. Make sure that A is the first item listed.
If your BIOS has a few tabs up the top, select the Boot tab and make sure that Floppy is the first item on the list.
Quit your BIOS and select Save and Exit.

Make sure the floppy is in the drive and let it boot.
Select Sart Computer with CD-Rom support.

Now we are going to check and make sure your CD-Rom drive is picked up in DOS!

If your CD-Rom drive in windows is normally D: then It'll be E: in Dos.
Take what your CD Drive letter normally is and go one more. This is because Windows Boot Disk has made a RAM Drive that contains Format.com and a few other things such as CD-ROM drivers.
to get to your CD-ROM drive, type:
E:
this will take you to your CD-Rom drive.
Type:
Dir/w
this will list in about 5 columns all the files on that drive.

Look in particular for setup.exe or something indicating that it is the Windows CD and not a HDD or the RAM Drive.
Try typing Setup.exe
If it starts, Hit Esc and you'll be ready to format.

Type:
A:
this will ake you to your floppy Drive

Type:
Format c:
Type Y for yes
And you're away. Formatting in progress.



Notes:
To change drive, type the letter followed by a colon ":"
C:
A:
E:
When booting and using a CD-Rom if it was previously D, it will now be E, so on most PC's, the Drives are:
A - Floppy
C - HDD
D - (In windows) CD-Rom
D - (When Booting from Boot Disk) and Ram Drive (Temporary drive made by the boot disk of system files needed)
E - (When booting from boot disk) CD-Rom

To change directory in DOS:
CD windows
that will change you into your windows dir
to go up a level:
cd..
or to go to the Root Directory ( C: )
CD\

Just some basic DOS Usage.

Cheers

Chilling_Silence

Chilling_Silence
12-09-2002, 05:42 PM
Oops, Soz S B, too late

Sanco
29-03-2003, 09:00 AM
Hi Chilling.
I am trying to install WinXP on my pc.
I have not re-formatted yet, but I have tried re-booting with cd rom in dos.
Well in the command prompt I can change my cd rom drive from E to F,
type in Dir/w with the WinXP cd inserted in the cd rom and yes I can see the cd and the contents, and setup.exe is part of it. But when I type in setup.exe it says that that operation cannot be done in dos!!!!
What should my next move be?
Thank you in advance for your help.

Chilling_Silence
29-03-2003, 10:48 AM
I know that there IS a way to do it off the CD, as we did it at work, but I wasnt there when they figured out how to do it.

I'll just go check the MS Website and post back, but basically the normal one is a Win32 Application, meaning it has to be run from within Window 9x or newer.

HTH


Chilling_Silence

Chilling_Silence
29-03-2003, 10:58 AM
Just thought I'd post it here, just for the record:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb%3Ben-us%3B307848

Cheers


Chilling_Silence

raddersnz
29-03-2003, 07:03 PM
Just set the BIOS to boot from CD first, and you can reboot the computer. It will come up with the way / wizard to load windows / format the disk.
I'm just going to hide now, as I've a few on my trail who want to "beat me with a wooden spoon" LOL

GL with the format, and congratulations for picking that option.

Radz:p