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Reformatting a hard drive on a windows PC.

My 9 year old daughter has a p4 computer and it runs slow and freezes a lot. I need to reformat it to reinstall windows but forgot how to do it. Is there anyone that can give me a walkthrough?

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This section explains how to reformat a drive from the Windows XP installation CD. This can be used when installing a fresh copy of Windows onto a computer. Here it is especially important to backup all of your important information because upon formatting you will lose EVERYTHING that used to be on the drive. This includes all applications and device drivers, so you must back up everything you can.


Insert your Windows XP installation disc into your CD drive (Home or Pro--it does not matter).


Now as you computer boots a little more it will say "Press any key to boot from CD.." press a key to do so.


The CD will load up a blue screen and then spend a while loading files it needs. When it is finished it will list a few options, mainly "Press ENTER to set up Windows XP." Press Enter or Return.


Now you will be at a screen to select where to install Windows to. This is where you can delete old partitions and format drives. The box in the bottom half of the screen shows all your drives and the partitions that exist on them. Use the Up and Down arrow keys to highlight your "C:" partition and press the 'D' key (if all that shows up is "Unpartitioned space" and you have no C: or D: partitions, skip this step). On the next screen press the 'L' key to finalize deleting the partition.


Now you are back on the screen to choose where to install Windows. The box on the lower half of the screen should no longer show a partition but simply have an entry "Unpartitioned space xxxxxMB." Select this with the arrow keys and press the 'C' key to create a partition on the drive. The next screen tells you the minimum and maximum sizes the partition can be and lets you pick the size. The default size is the maximum, but double check that the number entered is the maximum and hit enter.


Now you will again be back at the choose where to install Windows screen. But this time you will have a partition that looks something like this "C: Partition1 [New (Raw)]xxxxxxMB." Highlight this entry and press enter.


The next screen lets you choose which file system to format the drive with. Choose NTFS as it is faster and more secure. If the drive is brand new and has never been used before then use one of the options that ends in "(Quick)." Or, choose one of the lower down options. Use the arrow keys to select the proper one and press Enter or Return.


From here you are all set and the installation of Windows will proceed starting with a format of your drive. This will take a while (over half an hour) so you can take a little break.



After the installation is finished you will need to install the device drivers for the motherboard. Go to the website of who made you computer (ie. dell, hp etc..)and find the support or download link and type in your PC's model number. Download and burn to disk the drivers for LAN, USB, Audio, video and chipset (the most common ones) there maybe others but they usually aren't necessary and are likely optional. If your computer is not a branded PC, find the model # on the motherboard itself and google it to see which company made it.

it's usually the biggest printed numbers/letters on the board surface.

good luck


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Make sure on step 5 you delete all partitions. +


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you will need the windows OS disk (your version of Windows might be XP, Windows 2000, Vista or Windows 7) place the disk in the CD or DVD

drive and restart the computer. As it restarts it will ask you to hit a key on the keyboard to boot to the Windows disk.

If it does NOT

then you will need to set the CMOS settings to look for a boot disk in the CD or DVD before booting to the hard drive.

Usually that would reguire you to hit the F2 or Delete button as soon as your computer starts up. Then find the "boot sequence" menu and set the CD as the first boot device.

Save those setting and reboot again with the disk in the CD drive.

Follow the instructions to delete the current Partition and then recreate the Partition and it will then reformat your drive and reinstall windows.

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I appreciate your swift reply. I did what you said and I don't know if this makes a difference or not, but the pc was running windows 2000 and I wanted to install XP so I ran the installation disk and all it did was make the pc have 2 operating systems to choose from when it starts up. Now I don't even want to turn it on because it takes forever for anything. How do I Fdisk it so I can start with an empty hard drive?


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