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dual hardrives format query


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#1 layzworm

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:49 PM

hi i have a very old computer 1ghz amd processor 512mb ram 128mb nvidia mx4000 graphics card and running xp home
it has two hard drives 60gb and 20gb and i want to clean up the computer ie get rid of all programs and data and start again fresh so i started by formatting D drive (20gb) i then moved all the data i wanted to keep from C drive to the empty D drive but:

here's my question can i format C drive? i am worried that this will delete windows xp from the computer

i want to keep windows xp on the computer so is it safe to format C drive?

thanks in advance

Edited by layzworm, 18 March 2009 - 10:50 PM.


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#2 Platypus

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:54 PM

Formatting the C: drive would indeed delete Windows from the computer, and it would then be necessary to re-install XP from the CD.

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#3 layzworm

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 10:57 PM

windows xp was installed on this computer about 6 years ago and i have lost the cd
what to do now?

#4 Romeo29

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:05 PM

If you have the original XP CD key, you can borrow a cd from your friend. This way it would be legal.

If you cannot find cd key somewhere on your cpu cabinet, you can use tools like http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html before you start to format.

Edited by Romeo29, 18 March 2009 - 11:07 PM.


#5 layzworm

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 03:00 AM

If you have the original XP CD key, you can borrow a cd from your friend. This way it would be legal.

If you cannot find cd key somewhere on your cpu cabinet, you can use tools like http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/product_cd_key_viewer.html before you start to format.

thanks for the fast helpful replys!

i have the original xp cd key on my cpu cabinet but i have to find a friend with the cd and another thing
1) i have never installed an os before is it difficult?
2) what happens after i format C drive will the computer just turn off?
3) how can the formatting continue after the windows files have been deleted ie: is windows xp doing the formatting?
4) what will happen after i start my computer after the format?
5) when i reinstall xp will the files on D drive still be there and accesible?

sorry for so many questions i am noob

#6 Platypus

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 06:22 AM

There are some complexities you'll need to allow for if you want to re-format and re-install. Unless the existing Windows is in some way damaged and therefore needing a clean start, it can be much simpler to just un-install any programs you no longer wish to have on the computer, then take some simple measures like Windows Cleanup and Defrag to tidy up afterwards.

Some things you will have to consider for a re-install include:

The Windows XP CD will need to match the existing installation. eg XP Home or XP Pro. With the sticker on the case, it is presumably an OEM version as well.

You'll need to source necessary drivers for the system (either by brand if it's a brand name, or by identifying components if it's a generic build).

Depending on the Service Pack level of the initial installation, you'll need to start with at least Service Pack 1, then update preferably to Service Pack 3 and at least IE6 Service Pack 1. Then install a respectable anti-virus and manually update it, before the system is safe to go online and download the rest of the necessary updates.

As regards other queries, you cannot re-format the system drive from within Windows - as you comment, how would Windows then be running from that drive? It would have disappeared.

You would need to ensure the computer is set to boot from the CD as first boot device, put the CD in the drive and restart the computer. When the Windows Setup started, you would then need to choose to install Windows to the C: drive, and set the option to re-format the volume. When the installation finished, you would then move on to install all the Service Packs etc I mentioned above, which you 'd need to have made ready beforehand.

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#7 Elise

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 08:55 AM

You'll need to source necessary drivers for the system (either by brand if it's a brand name, or by identifying components if it's a generic build).

Depending on the Service Pack level of the initial installation, you'll need to start with at least Service Pack 1, then update preferably to Service Pack 3 and at least IE6 Service Pack 1. Then install a respectable anti-virus and manually update it, before the system is safe to go online and download the rest of the necessary updates.

As regards other queries, you cannot re-format the system drive from within Windows - as you comment, how would Windows then be running from that drive? It would have disappeared.

You would need to ensure the computer is set to boot from the CD as first boot device, put the CD in the drive and restart the computer. When the Windows Setup started, you would then need to choose to install Windows to the C: drive, and set the option to re-format the volume. When the installation finished, you would then move on to install all the Service Packs etc I mentioned above, which you 'd need to have made ready beforehand.


Unless you have a SATA harddrive the necessary drivers can be downloaded as well after reformatting and reinstalling windows. With the exception of course of internet connection device-drivers if you need them (normally on CD with the product). Microsoft update offers the most common device-drivers.
The service packs can be downloaded beforehand on separate cd's to avoid long update download time (after genuine validation downloadable from microsoft update site).
As for the reformat, the XP installation CD has as mentioned before, a build-in format-function. It is really quite easy, the setup contains of different stages, and your are prompted about what you want to do, you dont have to be an expert to follow the setup, it asks you in the setup where to install and if you want to format. The windows CD copies the necessary setup start-up files to your computer after the format and starts the installation, automatically.
Booting from a CD is quite simple, most computers display a key (f11 at mine) to enter the bootmenu at startup. Simply press that key and select your CD-drive and it will boot from there.

regards, Elise


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#8 Romeo29

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 09:10 AM

You cannot format C: from within Windows. You have to boot from Windows XP CD and then proceed to format C: TO boot from CD, you make settings in BIOS. Change boot order so that first boot device is CD and second boot device is Hard disk. Since you dont format C:, data on D: would stay unchanged.

Some things to remember
1. You will need CD of same flavor like Home or Professional or cd-key wont work. Read on the sticker on your cpu cabinet or right-click on MyComputer and select properties to see if Professional or Home.
2. You should have driver cd ready that came with your PC. In case you lost it, better download drivers from manucaturer's website and store on D: drive or USB stick. Download them first because you wont have network drivers (probably) after re-install and as a result wont be able to download.
3. You should backup windows activation so you dont have to call Microsoft. See http://www.windowsnetworking.com/kbase/Win...Activation.html. Some versions of Windows come preactivated like OEM.
4. Since you have C: and D:, be extra careful not to format wrong partition during Windows installation.

Read tutorial on XP installation: http://www.theeldergeek.com/clean_installa..._windows_xp.htm

If you are worried too much about installing. Experiment first using Virtual PC http://www.microsoft.com/downloadS/details...;displaylang=en. Create a virtual hard disk and try installing from cd. This way you would also be able to know if your CD-Key would work with it or not.




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