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Please help with format

By 6Nina · 12 replies
Sep 4, 2010
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  1. I had my computer since Windows Me. Some years now I install Window Xp.
    My brother tried to format the pc and install again the Xp because the pc was lagged many times. He said that the cd of Windows Xp not recognized. He try some restarts but nothing.
    Sometime I open the pc after the try of my brother and I had a choice to select "Windows Xp professional" and "Windows (default)".
    I chose the first one and then something happens - i didn't understood- black screen and white letters said something about a problem, and then i press esc and it restarted and that menu appears again and I chose the second choice.
    It began Windows Me -maybe it was safe mode. I do my job and I closed the pc.
    Now If I open my pc I see a message "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or Insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press a key_"

    I already read a topic with something like that message but I didn't understand anything.

    I insert the boot flopy of Windows Me to help me.
    I noticed that when I press any choice before the document help or A:\> appears this:
    "Windows Millennium Edition has detected that drive C does not contain a valid FAT or FAT32 partition." and then It appears some causes to fix it but I really don't understand.
    Is this something or it doesn't matter with Windows Xp?

    My brother of course he blames me about all this and he can't fix it.

    I would be greatfull if someone explain me step by step what to do.
  2. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    Installing XP?

    So your PC used to have Windows ME on the C: drive, then you installed XP ?
    Win ME used the FAT32 filing system and XP can do, but it does run 'better' (to cut a long story short) if you choose to format the C: drive in NTFS.
    In 2010 there is not any good reason to use ME, also Microsoft don't support it for security updates.
    I think you might have run your PC with both ME and XP on it.
    So if you want to install XP as a fresh install, you will need to have your 'product key' ready. You can find it on a sticker on the side or or top of PC case.
    Be sure to save any pictures, video, music or documents first, as you won't find them again after installing XP. THEY WILL BE DELETED !! GONE FOR GOOD !!
    To install XP as a new system, put the XP disc into the drive, then restart the PC.
    (if you are unsure, hold the 'power on' button in for 5 seconds or more, then press button as normal to 'start')
    If you have an 'A' drive make sure it's empty.
    The disc will load some files, then it will tell you it has found 'windows' on C:
    You then have to choose the partition with windows on it, and choose the option to 'Format NTFS' It will warn you about 'loosing all data' , you choose 'Y'
    It will take about 20 to 30 mins to Format, then you need to follow the instructions on screen. It takes 45 minutes to install.
    Then you need to change the screen resolution to suit your screen, (Control Panel, Display) and load your other drivers, such as printer.
    If you have a CAT5 cable (ethernet or LAN) you can connect to your router and get the updates and patches from Microsoft.
    This is a very simple note to help, and you may have to delete another partition with your old Windows ME on it as well.
    This is very simple to do, but not easy to explain by typing it up ! Good luck.
  3. 6Nina

    6Nina TS Rookie Topic Starter

    (Her brother) :
    It is most probably a boot.ini corruption matter.Format cannot be done because when when it shows the blue screen that loads some stuff... there are 2 cases.
    ase 1:It shows corrupted file error...3 files..
    Case 2:Lags when all files are loaded and it says: Starting up windows and then shows the Blue screen(the error one)
  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    boot.ini problem

    OK ! Sorry I thought you were trying to find out how to install XP on an old HD with Win ME from years ago.
    Still, a few ideas you might try.....
    * A utility disk you can download to use command line tools and try and rescue the data on the old HD. Just possible you can repair the boot.ini file, make the HD bootable again, and go from there. 'ultimatebootcd.com' (iso file, prob +-700MB)

    or * a program that can scan and repair a damaged HD. It's free as far as I can tell, and can't make it any worse I guess. 'salvationdata.com' the file you can D/L is..
    hsr3.0cdromsetup.zip ( its only 1.2MB)

    or * To try to repair the boot.ini, Change the boot sequence order in the BIOS to be CD/DVD first, reboot with XP disk in, choose 'repair'...

    or * You have got to the point where a new Hard Drive is the only answer, so be it.
    Hope this is of some help.
  5. 6Nina

    6Nina TS Rookie Topic Starter

    i own an external hd.Can i do something with it?maybe intstal windows on it
  6. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    External drive

    If you mean to install XP on external drive instead of C:...
    Well I don't think you will have much luck with that as it is now, because the C: drive needs to hold the info about where the Operating system is, C: or somewhere else.
    You can have two different OS, one in a different partition, on the same drive.
    * But do you mean using the insides of the external HD to put into PC case as C: ?
    That would work if the disk in your external box is the same type as your C: is now.
    In computers older than about 2005, the C: drive will be IDE.
    If your computer was made after about 2006 it will have SATA type.
    So if you don't mind taking the external drive case off, and you can plug the cable that is on the back of your C:, onto the one out of external drive, you will be able to install XP or whatever you have onto that. ( This is a VERY cut down explanation, but if you are used to changing computer parts, this won't cost you anything to try.)
    A problem I can see is that desktop PC's use 3.5 inch drives, and external drives use 3.5 or 2.5 inch disks, but still it will be clear if it's all going to fit.
    If you are in UK a new 80GB HD is about £35, a used one £10 -£15.
    If you have a computer repair shop nearby, take out the C: drive you have, take it to the shop and ask for a similar used one. Even a 20GB will get you back with a running PC.
    Hope that helps. !
  7. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    If your computer came factory with Windows ME installed chances are 99.9% it doesn't have the ability to boot from a usb device meaning you cannot boot from the external hard drive. Personally, I would nor ruing a perfectly good external drive just to replace the internal. This is even if such is possible. My advice to you is to forget about ME and install Xp. Regardless of what you have had on your hard drive before when you install Xp you will be given the option to delete the partition that contains the current Windows installation. Delete all partitions then choose quick format. Xp will install. As noted by the other answer make sure you back up your data first. Otherwise, when you format it will be deleted.
  8. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    Format problem--more

    6Nina & brother, Reading yours posts again, I think the most important part you are not yet doing. You need to get into BIOS screen,
    Press 'on' button of PC, no more than 2 seconds later, PRESS F2.
    You may also have the option (as I do) to Press F12, that will bring up the 'BOOT SEQUENCE MENU'.
    #1) CD/DVD DRIVE # 2) First (or master) IDE or SATA DRIVE
    Then put XP disc into CD drive, and RESTART PC.
    Or you can delete that partition, then create a new one, format NTSC.
    This will fix the Boot.ini problem, and give you a fresh XP to work with.
    But all the data you had before will be gone.
    I understand you are getting a blue screen on boot now, and you won't fix that easily, but if you reinstall XP as described, the problems will be gone, and replaced by the newly installed XP. Hope that helps. For more help, Google 'change order of boot devices in BIOS' and you may get better help than I can explain here.
  9. 6Nina

    6Nina TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Ok thanks all.I think the simpliest thing to do is buy a compatible HD with my computer...am i right?
  10. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    XP install on your HD

    Don't think you need to buy a new Hard Drive. If yours runs quietly, and does not make a 'clunk' sound when you switch PC on, it's most likely OK.
    From your previous posts, it's a software fault, not a hard drive fault.
    All you need is, to have, or can borrow, an XP HOME cd, and you have a real XP product key number on a sticker on the outside of your PC (or just have your own one somewhere), you can install XP again. It will write over all you had before, AND WILL BE AS NEW.
    The problems you had with Windows ME and XP WILL BE GONE.
    If you can afford it, buy Windows 7 Home Premium, as it includes nearly all the drivers you will need. You can't buy XP anymore, but you might find 'Vista' for sale.
    If you buy 'Vista' or '7', you will get a new 'product key' and can activate it on-line or by 'phone. If you buy a new Hard Drive, it will be empty. Windows will not be on it.
  11. 6Nina

    6Nina TS Rookie Topic Starter

    when i insert the windows xp home i have it doesn't format...it loads some stuff and the shows a blue screen(the error one)
  12. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,031   +53

    Installing XP..a bit more

    I think what's happening is; you put your XP disk in your CD drive, BUT the setting in the BIOS is making the system boot from your C drive. YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE SETTING, in the BIOS SCREEN, to make the PC boot from the XP disk in the CD drive.
    Then it will install XP onto your CD Drive. Your blue screen errors will be fixed. You get to the BIOS screen by; Switch on PC, PRESS 'F2 key' straight away.(don't type F 2 )
    You then should see the Blue or Black screen with your PC information on. You need to find the settings for 'BOOT SEQUENCE' and use the Keys 'ENTER' and up, down, left, right and 'Esc' (your mouse will NOT work here). You should see a list. At the top will be 'Primary ON BOARD IDE or SATA', (that is what your PC is FIRST looking in to find Windows.) Next on the list will be CD/DVD drive. WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO, is Switch these 2 around, so that CD/DVD is at THE TOP OF THE LIST. When you have done that, press 'F11' key, which saves the settings, and your PC will re boot, and will then run the install software on XP disc. Follow the instructions on screen. You will need to enter your product key number on one of the screens, part way through the installation, it will take about 40 minutes to install all of XP, then you will have a NEW Windows system to use. You will then have to install your programs. Have a look at this image I found on the net, you need to get to the same page on your PC, it may look slightly different.
  13. ruready2

    ruready2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 202

    FWIW...If, when you put your windows disc in, windows set-up begins to load files then you are booting from the disc. If you are not seeing that then you are not booting from the disc. If this is what you are seeing I would need to know the error. If it is an error copying a file then there are two things which normally cause this. First, it could be a bad disc and the rom is unable to read it. Second, a bad stick of ram will also cause this error. I learned that the hard way. Broke my neck for over a week trying to figure it out when come to find out a brand new stick of ram out of the package was bad...lol. Got a new one and windows installed like a champ. If the error is unable to detect a hard drive then it could be the jumper settings on the hdd, the way you have the ide cables connected or you need raid drivers. The are by no means conclusive but, are a good starting point and have been most often the fixes for me.

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