format c:

By master_mood ยท 13 replies
Jul 10, 2006
  1. my computer in currently windows xp home ed, upgraded from windows me, and i wanna reformat my c:

    however, when i try to do so, it replies 'format cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. format may run if this volume is dismounted first. all opened handles to this volume would then be invalid. would you like to force a dismount on this volume?'

    and when i typed 'yes,' it told me 'cannot lock the drive. the volume is still in use.'

    is there a solution to this problem? or are there any other ways to reformat my c:?

    any help will be appreciated, thanks
  2. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    You need to do the following.

    1 restart your computer and go to setup usually by pressing the F2 or delete key.

    2 Once you get into setup look for the boot menu and make sure you set it to boot from cd first followed by your hard drive.

    3 Put the Windows xp disk into your cd.

    4 Now save your settings and exit setup.

    5 While your computer is booting you will see a message that says "press any key to boot from cd" press any key.

    6 When the welcome to setup screen appears press enter and then press F8 to accept the Microsoft licence agreement.

    7 You will be prompted to repair an insallation press the escape key.

    8 Now select the partition that you want to reformat and press the D key to delete it you will be asked to confirm that you want to delete the partition.

    9 Now press C to create a brand new partition you will be asked what size you want the partition to be in mega bytes. If you just press enter then the partition will be the maximum size that you can have. This is perfectly ok if you don`t want to create multiple partitions.

    10 You will now be asked to format the partition select the ntfs file sytem and do a full format.

    11 Once the format is complete setup will continue.

    Your computer will restart during the remaining setup again you will be asked to press any key to boot from cd DO NOT PRESS ANYTHING. and setup will continue. Once the setup is complete and you are back in Windows remove the Windows cd from your cd drive.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  3. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    if you just wanna format, and install xp-pro you can do this:
    get a 98 floppy boot disk from
    start your pc with boot disk in the machine
    after win98 comes up, enter fdisk
    display partition(s) (if any)
    delete partition(s)
    create new partition
    format the hard disk
    turn pc off
    take win98 boot disk out
    put xp cd in the cd rom drive
    turn pc on
    get into bios
    go to boot sequence and choose "boot from cd first"
    save bios, exit.
    let xp install.
    you can also boot with 98 and cd-rom support, and navigate to i386 directory in the cd rom and use winnt.exe command to install xp.
  4. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Why would you want to do all that, when you can do it all from the Windows xp disk?

    Regards Howard :)
  5. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    low level format! :)
  6. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    A low level format requires a Hard drive utility, such as we have in this thread HERE.

    Fdisk won`t do a low level format.

    In anycase this is not normally required.

    If you do a Google search for "low level format", you`ll see what I mean.

    Regards Howard :)
  7. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    actually, fdisk is a form of low level format. it's a bit of misnomer as per this write up from seagate's website:

    What does "low level formatting" an ATA (IDE) drive mean?

    Actually the term "low level" is a bit of a misnomer. The low level process first used years ago in MFM hard drives bears little resemblance to what we now call a "low level format" for today's ATA (IDE) drives. The only safe method of initializing all the data on a Seagate device is the Zero Fill option in DiscWizard Starter Edition.

    Why would I want to Zero Fill my drive?

    The most common reasons to Zero Fill an ATA (IDE) hard drive are:

    The drive has contracted a virus that cannot be removed without destroying the boot sector.

    You are changing from one operating system to another and wish to remove everything from the drive. How do I low Zero Fill my drive?

    Zero Filling an ATA (IDE) drive destroys 100% of the data on the drive. Make sure the drive is completely backed up before proceeding.

    The Zero Fill option in DiscWizard Starter Edition is the only safe method for use with Seagate hard drives. Some system BIOSs may include a Low Level Format option; use these at your own risk, as this may produce undesirable results.
  8. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Yep, I agree entirely with that lol.

    However, I still don`t think it`s necessary in master_mood`s case.

    Regards Howard :)
  9. alidabiri

    alidabiri TS Rookie Posts: 441

    no problem. it's jsut a matter of taste and methods.
  10. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Indeed it is mate. ;)

    Regards Howard :)

    BTW. Sorry for highjacking your thread master_mood. :D
  11. master_mood

    master_mood TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 24

    ok thanks ppl... i'll try it out..
  12. face_t

    face_t TS Rookie


    i'm so glad I founf this post...Howard_hopkinso, you saved me....

    I've been trying to format this comp since yesterday and it just kept doing whatever it wanted.

    I think it's because i also didn't understand part of it.

    Your step by step instructions are great...

    Thanks alot
  13. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello and welcome to Techspot.

    I`m glad we could help.

    Thanks for letting us know.

    Regards Howard :wave: :wave:
  14. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,244   +234

    Yes Howard,

    I follow your instructions always. I perform an FDISK routinely, but I only do a Zero-Fill when the drive shows read/write problems
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