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Cannot Format Partition using XP set up, Need HELP

By outas8 ยท 14 replies
May 8, 2003
  1. Im having trouble formatting one of my partitions in XP set up. My hard disk is partitioned as a c: local drive and an f: drive. They were partitioned using partition magic a while ago. XP is only saved on c drive and i use f drive to save documents, mp3, jpegs etc(important stuff). So like normal i put my XP cd in and it went to set up and it found both the drives. i higlighted drive f and hit d, so it deleted it, like normal. but if i highlight c drive and hit d nothing happens. if i decied to install XP in f drive it prompts me to format the drive and it formats it with no problems, which is ok. But if i want to install XP on c drive as well (after re entering set up of course) it will only write over the existing XP, it doesnt ask me to format this drive or does it format it. I want to format the complete hard drive and get rid of the partition and make it one drive, how it was when i bought it. i want to wipe everything off and then repartition it. but it wont ask or let me format c drive. F drive is ok, ic an format it, but the problem is c drive. how can i fix this???? its driving me nutsss. Any help will be appreciated. Thanx in advance.
    :confused: :( :confused:
  2. Justin

    Justin TS Rookie Posts: 914

    How are you starting setup?

    Through the setup inside windows, or booting from the disc?
  3. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    There are several ways you could do this, it sounds to me like you are trying to do this from within windows setup and not booting from the CD, if for some reason you can't boot from the CD, you can use a boot disk, www.bootdisk.com (in case you need one) Delete the partitions and FDISK it. You could also use a HDD setup utility (most likely your HDD manufacturer's website has one available for free download) And follow the instructions on using it, these are pretty simple to use.
  4. Rick

    Rick TS Evangelist Posts: 4,512   +65

    Have you chosen to delete & replace everything in the Windows directory? Perhaps afterward it prompts you whether you would like to format or not.
  5. outas8

    outas8 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    even though i boot from cd, instead of going directly to setup,it goes to windows like normal, which is strange. Then i load the cd up from my computer. then i follow the wizard, it restarts the pc and goes to setup. Wheras it should go directly to setup in the first place because i have changed the bios settings to boot from cd first. can someone please direct me thru this step by step, because its the first time im doing this. thanx.
  6. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,552   +437

    Do you still have more than just your C partition? Do you want those still there or do you just want 1 big C drive? Get a bootdisk and if you just want to format your C then let it boot up and type "format c:"
    Then boot up from the XP cd and install.
  7. outas8

    outas8 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    yes i want to go back to hacing one big C drive. Then i want to format it and repartition it. which bootdisk can i use, which version of windows?????????
  8. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Maniac Posts: 2,218

    If you are going to get rid of all the data, all you need is a boot disk, windows is irrelivent at this juncture. Once you format and repartition, you can Reinstall Windows
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,552   +437

    Windows 98 boot disk will do just fine. But how big is your drive. There are issues with 98 and bigger than 32 gig drives, we just talked about it in another thread but I'm in a hurry and don't have time to look it up.
  10. hocturnal-soul

    hocturnal-soul TS Rookie


    lol hi im very new to these forums and have a rough idea about computers. i had a problem installing windows xp professional onto my laptop so did a search on google and thats how i found this forum about my same problem, error message "cannot format partition". i used it to help me a little and found another way to sort it. basicly, instead of doing a complete format i done a quick format. everything went through smoothly, now im just completing installatiion. hope this works for you too!
  11. nickc

    nickc TechSpot Paladin Posts: 921   +11

    look at the date on the post, we do not need to dig up 4 year old threads to answer questions on that no one is watching for any more.
  12. hocturnal-soul

    hocturnal-soul TS Rookie

    i did realise this, however i had the exact same problem when trying to install xp on to my laptop, so did a search and the first link was to this forum. i merely posted how i solved the problem for when someone else looks at it regarding the same problem.
  13. quinnPA

    quinnPA TS Rookie

    Need Help

    I have a similar problem. I want to restore my hard drive to the factory setting so I inserted the OS CD in and followed the instructions to format my hard drive. I was not able to delete the current C partition because "files were in use" so I re-installed the OS onto that same C partition in hope of overriding any files or the current OS. Now I have 2 of the same OS and the format did not wipe my hard drive clean. I read the comments above but still having problem. I set up the bios to make sure the computer was starting from the CD Rom drive but it always kicks back into the hard drive. Could this be the reason why I can not delete the C drive.

    How can I delete the C partition so that I have 1 unpartitioned space so that I can reinstall the OS CD on my computer and have only 1 OS.
  14. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,552   +437

    The thread is over 5 years old. It would have been much better if you would have just created your own new thread.

    The problem is you appear to not be booting off your XP disk, which means either you've set your bios incorrectly, or you have a lazily copied version of XP. If the second is true, get yourself a legit copy of XP and come back. If the first is true, fix that.

    If you can't boot from the cd and you are sure both of what I said above is wrong, then you will have to find a way to start the setup outside of Windows OR make a partition with some free space so you can dump the temp files there. All the bootdisk talk above is how you can do the first stuff, but frankly its ugly, and 5 years ago using a 98 disk was a decent solution, now it will work, but its a pain. You could get gparted, and try to boot from that. But if you can't boot from a real XP disk I doubt you can boot from gparted. If you do boot off of gparted then you can shrink your current partition and create a new one in the free space and then maybe launch the XP install from within Windows.

    I think the bottom line here is either you've set your BIOS incorrectly, or you don't have a legit XP disk, and we aren't going to be guiding you through the process of installing XP if its not a legal copy.
  15. quinnPA

    quinnPA TS Rookie

    I have the boot disk I received from dell. It's a green CD with the OS system and service pack 2 on it. I set the bios to boot from the CD rom first then floppy then hard drive.
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