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

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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 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.

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

Use the options in the menu on the left for your situation.

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


Identify the file system you are using.

To identify, follow the steps below:

  1. Double-click My Computer on the desktop or from Explorer right click the My Computer Icon.
  2. Right-click the disk that you want, and then click Properties.
  3. Look for the File System entry.
  • If the disk is formatted in NTFS, your options for returning to Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me are limited. The Win 9X based operating systems do not read or recognize NTFS, and you cannot convert the disk to use the FAT or FAT32 file system. The bootable disk that you use and the drive on which you want to install Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me cannot use NTFS. Microsoft does not support any third-party solutions for converting NTFS to FAT or FAT32.
  • If the drive is using the FAT file system, you can install any operating system. If the drive is using the FAT32 file system, you can install Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2) or later.

The above was copied from http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q314052


For feedback contact: Michael Stevens MS-MVP

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Format XP by booting from the XP CD

BIOS must be set to boot from CD before hard drive.

  1. Formatting an XP System Disk by booting from the XP CD is accomplished by loading the Recovery Console by typing R at the first window.
  2. After selecting the Windows installation you want to access and typing in the Admin password [leave blank if no password was created] you will see a command prompt.
  3. Type Map & press ENTER
  4. Note the letter designation of the drive you want to format. [write it down]
  5. type format x:<space>/fs:fat32 then press ENTER, where x is the drive letter you want to format. Substitute NTFS or FAT if  desired.
  6. Type Y to confirm your selection and then type exit & press ENTER to restart computer.
  7. To view other format commands, type format<space>/? &  press ENTER at the RC command prompt.

Format XP by booting from XP CD using an aborted setup

Note: I find this method to format a NTFS partition more time consuming than the use of FDISK from  MS-DOS, but if a boot disk is not available use this method.

  1. Formatting an XP System Disk by booting from the XP CD and using the setup routine is initiated by selecting ENTER at the first window. Example follows in step #2

  2. When you see the "Welcome To Setup" screen, you will see the options below  

    This portion of the Setup program prepares Microsoft
       Windows XP to run on your computer:

      
    To setup Windows XP now, press ENTER.

    To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R 


    To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3.

  3. After selecting ENTER you will be prompted to accept the EULA and then be  given the option to choose the location to install XP. Your choices will include deleting partitions. Choose to delete the XP partition and any other partition you want to remove and then press ENTER.

  4. Choose F3 to end setup.

  5. You will need to use a boot disk or boot from the OS you want to install to format the unallocated space.


For feedback contact: Michael Stevens MS-MVP

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Format Non-System Hard Drive or Partition using XP Disk Management

To open Disk Management

  1. From the Start menu, click Run.
  2. In the Open box, type diskmgmt.msc, and then click OK.
  3. Select the drive or partition you want to format.
  4. Right click the selected drive or partition.
  5. Choose format from the list.

For more information select from the toolbar or from the right click menu.


For feedback contact: Michael Stevens MS-MVP

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Remove NTFS file system and Reformat with Win 98/Me Boot Disk

Check Dr. D's for specialized boot disks.

Click on boot disk from the web page tool bar.

  1. Format with a Win98/Me Startup disk.
  2. Use a Windows 98/Me startup disk to delete the non-dos partition.
  3. Boot from Startup Disk.
  4. Load FDISK by typing "fdisk.exe" at the "A" prompt without the quotes.
  5. Say yes to large disk support  <Y-N>...........? [Y]  ENTER
  6. Enter choice #3 to "Delete partition or Logical Dos Drive"   Press ESC to return to FDISK options
  7. Enter #4 to "Delete Non-DOS Partition". Select the Non-DOS partition by typing the number and then ENTER. Press ESC to return to FDISK options. Note you cannot delete a NON-DOS partition located inside an Extended partition. You can use the DOS utility called delpart.exe from a DOS boot up.
  8. Reboot with startup disk and load FDISK.
  9. Say yes to Large disk support as above.
  10. Enter choice #1 Press ESC to return to FDISK options
  11. When asked if you want to use the maximum size for the partition and make it active, type Y if you want to use the whole drive, or N if you want to set a maximum sized for the partition.
  12. After setting the size, reboot.
  13. If you want to install another OS; after rebootType format X:  at the A: prompt; where X is the drive/partition letter designation.
  14. If you want to reinstall XP clean. After setting the size, reboot, remove the disk from the floppy drive and insert the XP CD in the CD drive.
  15. Boot from the XP CD and do a clean install to the new partition.

For feedback contact: Michael Stevens MS-MVP  

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Format XP on a Fat/Fat32 file system with a Windows 98/Me Boot Disk. 
  1. Boot from a Windows 98/Me Startup disk or a boot disk with specialized content.
  2. Type format X:  at the A: prompt; where X is the drive/partition letter designation.


For feedback contact: Michael Stevens MS-MVP

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Home | MS-MVP | OE Newsreader | Move XP | Restore | Format XP 
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