Can't Format C Drive ??

By macx ยท 10 replies
Apr 16, 2007
  1. Working on a friend's Compaq Presario, XP Home, SP2.

    Caught some really bad stuff, need to houseclean.

    Not much on it for files or additional applications, so
    decided much easier to transfer non-Windows things to
    their D drive, reformat the C drive, and reload XP.

    So, transferred things over, closed everything down I could
    see on the desktop, status bar, etc.

    But when I try to Format the C drive, it says it can't
    because there's something running. So, checked Help.
    Says the C drive can NOT be formatted becuz the system
    is on the C drive, and there's a partition on the C drive.

    The other part of the drive contains Compaq Recovery files
    or some such.

    What to do?

    I don't imagine just Deleting Windows will accomplish cleaning
    out the nasties?

    Would it work to install Windows on the D (physically separate)
    drive, make it the boot drive, and then could I format the C drive,
    maybe after deleting the Windows that's on there? Or would that
    still cause a problem with the Compaq Recovery files on I think it's
    called the H drive that's on the same physical drive as the C drive?

    Thanks for any info / help.
  2. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Try making a boot disk for Windows ME (I know you don't have this, but it allows you to go into DOS), select support without cd, then type "format c:", and say yes, and then it should format the drive with no problems. Good luck :wave: !
  3. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    OK - but silly question from a NON-guru -
    how to make a boot disk for ME when
    all we have is XP?

    Then, assuming we CAN do that, how do I
    get into DOS with it?

    I can't use the XP disc to boot from
    and then somehow (you'd have to tell
    me that, too) format C drive?

    And, again, would I wipe out the other
    partition that's on that same physical
    drive as the C drive? The one with
    the Compaq Recovery info or whatever.
    I don't think I want to do that?
  4. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    Just did this a couple days ago with my friends system..I used 98se..Me should work just as well.Just get into your bios and set first boot to floppy, then press F10 to save and exit. Computer should restart, and boot from floppy. At that point there should be an option to go into the command/dos prompt. Do that, and if using 98Se, type FDISK. Then delete all files.
  5. cfitzarl

    cfitzarl TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,975   +9

    Most of the time, floppy disk drives (when installed) are set first by default in the system BIOS, so it should load up automatically. Good Luck :wave: !
  6. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    If I'm not mistaken, they've got the XP CD but I don't know if they have
    a boot disc.

    I remember that one can be made, don't remember how.

    I do know how to go into setup and change the default boot device.

    Do I need to make a boot floppy?

    BTW, it's Win XP, not ME, but would maybe that DOS and
    FDISK thing work the same way?

    Can you maybe even elaborate a little on how to do that
    step by step?

    I don't have their XP disc at my place, could I make an XP
    boot floppy from my computer which also has XP and use it
    to boot theirs? Been a couple years since I messed with that,
    and they're a good 4 hour drive away from me. I hope to have
    it at least formatted / cleaned off when I take it back up
    there this weekend.

  7. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    compaq recovery partition

    Compaq disk 0 probably has a recovery partition that will restore C: to factory-fresh conditions. However, you indicate that disk 1 is the D: drive, which could indicate that the recovery partition does not exist on disk 0.

    If a set of restore CDs were not created already, a 1-time opportunity may still exist. Start menu ! all programs ! compaq ! compaq presario pc tools.

    Check out Computer Management to examine the disks and drive letter assignments. My Compaq disk 0 has drives c: and d:. drive d: is fat32 & it is the recovery partition. There is no opportunity to create additional drives on disk 0.
  8. G Ray88

    G Ray88 TS Rookie

    Hey from Computer Central

    Hello to everyone, It's good to find another forum for help or to help someone. Good Luck
  9. G Ray88

    G Ray88 TS Rookie

    Macx, try checking at www.bootdisk for more help, if you don't have the restore disk that came with the Compaq and you do have a XP disk the XP should work although. After formatting the drive, without the restore disk that came with the computer. You might have to go to Compaq's web site and download drivers for that computer.
    Good Luck
  10. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 718

    I don't remember the letter for sure, but the Compaq Recovery thing is on
    a separation partition along with the regular C drive on one physical drive.

    I've moved all the other stuff over to the other physical drive, not sure if
    it's D or H or whatever. (I can't look right now, just have one power cord
    and one monitor at my place so can only run EITHER mine or theirs at one time.)

    I'm fairly sure they still have all the discs that came with the Compaq,
    seems I remember seeing something about the restore disk.

    I'll give it a whirl when I go up there this weekend.


    PS - is it real obvious or well explained how to restore the C drive after formatting
    from that Recovery partition?
  11. rf6647

    rf6647 TS Maniac Posts: 829

    Compaq restore is almost completely automatic. When completed, the physical drive will contain drive letters C: and D:. You are restored to out-of-the-box conditions. No user data or user loaded programs are retained.

    Computer Management calls the physical drive a disk. One or more Drive letters (aka partition) can exist on a disk. And yes, Compaq has the recovery partition on the disk. Computer management shows the physical placement of the C: and D: drives on Disk 0.

    However, if the Compaq burst screen does not offer 'System Recovery' [f10 for this machine], and yet Computer Management shows the partition, then you are in unknown territory. Then the only option will be to trust the Restore CD (assuming the owner made it Day 0). For full disaster recovery, in addition to the Restore CD, the owner was given a one-time option to create a set of CDs to image the entire disk (both C: & D: drives). This covers the situation when the entire physical disk drive craps out.

    I hope this helps. For about $25, HP/Compaq will ship you a set of CDs specific to your model, if the unthinkable happens. It takes about 5 business days.
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...