Formating HD in XP

By dank7737
Jul 30, 2002
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  1. I need to reformat the hard drive in my new comp. im running windows xp for an os. when i right click on the drive under disk management and click format it wont work. I guess i just dont know what im doing. can someone explain to me step by step how to format a hard drive when using xp? thanks a ton.
    Dan
  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    are you wanting to format the partition containing windows XP so you can reinstall it? if so, try booting from the CD (go into the BIOS and change the boot device order to CD first.) The installation process allows you to format the HDD.

    is this what you wanted to know? if not post back and tell me.
  3. dank7737

    dank7737 Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 40

    well my intent was to format the hd and reinstall windows because my hd is being recognized as e: and i want it to be c: because of problems ive encountered. i tried to change drive leters in xp but had problems so i figured im best off starting over since i just buiilt the computer and havent loaded a lot on yet. What is your reccomendation. should i format the whole hd or just the xp partition?> or what other options?
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 Newcomer, in training Posts: 6,504

    what partitions are on your HDD already? primaries, extended, logical drives? have a look in computer management, disk administrator and take a peek....

    normally, c: drive is only assigned to primary master HDD's first primary partition.
  5. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,304   +52 Staff Member

    You cannot format a drive/partition that is being used, so if you are trying to format your system partition (The one with Windows XP on it), then you'll have to do outside of the XP environment.

    If you want to switch the partition Windows XP is installed on from E: to C:, then you'll probably need to do more than formatting - Formatting leaves the partitions intact, just erases the data on them.

    Make sure all of your data that you'd like to keep is backed up on a seperate disk.. CDs.. Something.. (Because you will lose it if you format or repartition!). Boot the computer using the Windows XP CD and let it do its thing for a few minutes. Once it finishes loading the pre-setup, it will ask you a few questions.. One of which should give you a couple of options such as "Repair Windows XP installation", "Recovery Console" and "Install Windows XP" (Not word for word, but you get the idea..). Continue with the option to begin WinXP's installation and you'll be greeted by some options to format and repartition the drive.

    Delete all of the partitions you want to change (Providing you don't have stuff you want to keep on them!) and make new partitions according to the sizes you need.

    Once you have made your partitions, you will have to format them. I suggest NTFS, unless you dual boot a Windows 9x/Me OS also or require FAT32 support for some other reason.

    You will get to choose what partition Windows XP gets installed on from here. Choose C: (Disk 0, partition 1) this time, since this is the partition you want to install it on. The continue with the installation as normal.

    Remember to back up everything you want to keep before hand. This is very important... Don't forget things like e-mails, favorites, music, pictures, address book, word documents.. Whatever it is that is important for you to keep.
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