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How do I format a NTFS/Fat/Fat32 drive with XP installed?

Move mouse over menu below to display format options.


Identify the file system  you are using:

XP system disk using any file format booting from XP CD:

Format non-system hard drive or partition using XP Disk Management:

XP system disk using NTFS with Win98/Me boot disk:

Format XP installed on a Fat/Fat32 file system using a Windows 98/Me Boot Disk :

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If you have a problem and have exhausted all other options [read below] and currently have an XP CD (not Restore media supplied by the OEM) and simply want to Clean install XP, select the Clean Install link below with a step by step guide to Clean install XP.

If you want information how to format a hard drive with XP installed, see the options from the menu on the left for your situation.

Before formatting a hard drive, make sure you have backed up all the important data and anything that cannot be replaced from other sources.

Need a boot disk? You can get images to create all types from www.bootdisk.com.

Hint: It is usually not necessary to format XP to correct a problem. You should first try to find a solution from the Microsoft Knowledge Base, the Microsoft newsgroups, manufacturer web sites or if you suspect a virus, get the latest virus definitions from your AV manufacturer's web site; you can also run one of the many free web format virus scans.

As a last option before resorting to a format and reinstall, a Repair Install will usually fix file corruption problems and leave your applications and setting intact. Updates not included on the XP CD used for the repair install will need to be reapplied and should be applied before connecting to the internet. Updates can be downloaded and burned to CD media prior to the Repair Install or clean install.

The alternative to applying the SP updates after the repair or clean install is to slipstream the updates into the XP CD.

Check for links in the Clean Install link below as they will be the latest updated links for slipstreaming.


The Repair Install is not a fix for and will not remove a malware or adware problem, but it will restore files affected by the malware or adware applications after they are removed.

The links below will help the reconfiguration of your computer.

Repair Install  

Clean Install

XP FAQ