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Repairing System and Formatting Disk


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#1 Stang777

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 12:44 AM

Hi, I am running Windows XP Home Edition but do not have the original disk for it, so when I was having problems with my system a while back, I bought a new XP disk just in case I had to reformat my drive. I was able to get my system up and running without doing that by using a fix-it disk, but am concerned about future problems, so thought I would ask what to do should I encounter a problem that the fix-it disk cannot fix.
I have three main concerns, one is, can I use an XP disk that wasn't used to install XP on the system to repair the system or add components?
My second concern is, I have reformatted a drive many times that had been running Win98SE but have never done that to one that has been running XP, do I do things any differently to format a drive that has been using XP?
And my third concern is, I could only buy an XP upgrade disk so I know that should I reformat the drive I will have to install Win98SE first and then upgrade it to XP, are there are any steps I should take while doing that to avoid problems?

Thank you to everyone who can offer any help with these concerns :thumbsup:

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#2 dc3

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 12:56 AM

Hi Stang777, and welcome to BleepingComputer.

Is the XP disk that you purchased a upgrade disk?

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#3 Stang777

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:32 AM

Hi dc3 and thank you.

Yes, it is an upgrade disk and it includes sp2

#4 dc3

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:50 AM

You shouldn't have any problems installing the operating system with the new disk, but if it is the Pro version then there could be an issue using it to make a repair. If you are going to make a fresh installation you will need to install the W98 first and then the upgrade, the good news is you already have the SP2 slipstreamed into it.

Reformatting the hdd shouldn't be any different from what you have done in the past.

As for adding components, I'm guessing here, but if you are talking about hdd, or optical drives, these are plug and play devices. If you add say a graphics card it should come with a CD with the drivers that you will need for it.

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#5 Stang777

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:22 AM

Thank you dc3

The disk I purchased was the home edition.

I am sorry I wasn't very clear about what I meant by components. I was referring to windows components that might not have been installed when my computer was set up.

The more I think about it the less I think I remember about formatting the drive, lol. Do I need a floppy disk with dos files on it or do I just press F8 and make a selection that will let me type c:fdisk? Or am I wrong in thinking that is what I do?

#6 dc3

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:54 AM

Microsoft has a tutorial which seems to be pretty easy to follow, you can read it here.

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#7 Stang777

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 03:07 AM

Thank you, I will check that out

#8 Stang777

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 04:56 AM

Thanks for your help dc3. That article helped a lot but after reading it I have decided that I will just try harder to buy a full version of XP so I dont have to go back to FAT32. It seems that is the only way to format the disk if I use Win98SE.
I am still wondering if I will be able to use a new disk to repair the system if needed, since it was not the one that was used to install the system I have on it now, cannot find anything about that.

#9 dc3

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:12 AM

Once you have the upgrade to the XP you can change the files to NTSF. It ain't that big of a deal to change. But if you wish to purchase the full retail version I can't fault you. It certainly would make it easier the next time you need to reinstall.

This brings up another point, if you have the room on the hdd make a small partition for the operating system and use the remaining space for a partition for all of your files and other applications. This way if you ever need to reinstall the OS you can simply reformat that one partition and not have to bother with the other partition with the files and applications.

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#10 Stang777

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 12:46 AM

Thanks dc3

I was not sure how changing the file system would work with upgrading it. I did not know if it would be done just by upgrading or if it was something I would have to do manually. I know you said it isn't a big deal, but I really did not want to deal with it so when I found a full version of XP today, I bought it. It was only 40 bucks more than the upgrade (which I was able to take back) and I decided that not having the hassle of installing two op systems after reformatting the drive made it well worth the extra money. Chances are I will never need it but I figure it is better to have it and not need it than the other way around.

Sometimes my computer doesn't do things it should when I start it up (like let me access anything after windows has fully loaded unless I shut it down and start it up again) which makes me think that I will someday have to reformat the drive. Besides, even though I run a good and current antivirus program and firewall, there is always a chance of infection which might make me have to reformat, not to mention just some odd problem causing a critical file to become corrupt or missing.

Also there are some things I would just like to have setup differently. One of which is the main hard drive is supposedly mirrored. It shows that when it displays the drives as it boots up, but I cannot find any other indication that is the case and I do not see what the point is in having it mirrored like that. Seems like all that does is cuts my available space in half for no good reason. Do you know of any benefits of it being like that? Will having it mirrored now cause me any problems should I reformat it?

I like your idea of putting the op system on a separate partition but I have no idea how to do that. I am thinking the benefit of doing that is it would mean if a virus or something happened to infect my op system, I could just reformat that partition and reinstall the op system leaving all my programs and such in tact, is that correct? But I could still have a virus or other problem on the other partition that would cause that to need to be reformatted, couldn't I? Also, wouldn't I still need to reinstall all my program since they put files in the op system files?

What are the other benefits of putting the op system in a separate partition?




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