XP clean install

By motionmouse ยท 12 replies
Jul 24, 2008
  1. Hi,

    a friend asked me to wipe clean her computer and reinstall windows.

    How do I do this?
    I have tried to do it once, but it appears that the windows cd she has (a "reinstallation" cd) is not bootable (i have changed the boot sequence to the cd drive to no avail).

    So i followed the instructions on the screen in windows. However, windows installer asks me where i would like to put the temporary files for the installation. i have no choice except to put them somewhere on the hard drive i want to format.

    Later on, after the comp reboots, i try to format the hard drive but i am told this is not possible because windows has copied some files it needs onto the hard drive.

    is there a way around this? can someone help please?
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    All the original Windows discs are bootable.

    So once you work out how to get the CD to boot
    in CMOS boot order
    Or confirm the drive works
    Or get an actual real Windows CD ! (I'd say this is the issue)

    Anyway, after you boot from your bootable Windows Setup CD, you can then remove the Partition fully, and continue the install process. (also there is no need to create a new partition or even format, Windows install does all this automatically, just remove all the partitions first.)

    Oh and this page may help "your friend"
  3. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    partition the drive

    I would suggest you obtain free partitioning software and begin by reducing the size of the existing C: drive by about 15Gb and creating a second primary partition. There are lots of advantages to this, the most immediate one being it gives you somewhere to store those temporary install files !

    The second (and to my mind vital) use is to have a partition into which you can take a full c: drive image from time to time for backup purposes.
  4. old101

    old101 TS Rookie Posts: 52

    On the point made by gbhall, Acronis True Image for example, requires free space on the C drive equivalent to uncompressed used size of the drive. So if your C drive in use size is 20 GB, no matter what compression you use you need 20 B free space to restore the image back to C.

    I am not quite sure but other Imaging software I am familiar with (Paragon Disc Copy and Macrium Reflect) have the same requirements. As an example my Vista OS plus a full complement of programs and associated folders is around 30 GB.
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Gparted Live CD I think can make partitions, that can be used to backup from 1st Partition to 2nd Partition.
    I use Partition Magic so not all that familiar with it
  6. motionmouse

    motionmouse TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thankyou all,

    I'll try to make a partition, and then do a fresh install into that. it does seem to be a bit of a long winded solution though.

    I have come across another problem, which is that i don't seem to be able to boot from the cd. I have an illegitimate copy of windows which boots on this laptop, but not on the pc which i am trying to re-install the legitimate copy onto.

    the cd drive appears to be working fine except for the no-boot process. i tried the windows copy because i thought i could swap discs when asked to "press any key to boot from cd" but i don't even see this screen.

    does anyone have any ideas as to how to get this cd drive working?
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Seems to be a faulty drive now (note: it was CD first!)

    It's possible (and happens a lot) a CD/DVD Drive is faulty, but it may still read discs in Windows, but not boot from them directly.
    Also confirm the jumper on the end of the CD/DVD Drive is set to CS (Cable Select) and not Slave. The drive should also have its own IDE data cable
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    I think from some of the comments posted following my original suggestion, I ought to clarify exactly what I recommend.

    I am saying that every PC should always have a second partition apart from the installed O.S. partition, and this partition should be used for taking regular images of the working partition.

    The existence of a backup partition has been a feature of all retail Dell and HP machines for a considerable time, and this is entirely an endorsment of what I say.

    The amount of screaming heebie jeebies that could be saved by this simple precaution should be known world-wide, but unfortunately it is not.
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Yes you do need to clarify (and also likely change your mind on all this oneday anyway!)

    You have always said create a small partition (15Gig) for the main OS drive, and then have the rest of the HardDrive on another Partition (or partitions)
    Which I have always said No to.

    Regarding the Manufactures Partitioning:
    They all have made the Image partition (usually being hidden) on the 1st Partition (around 3 to 5 Gig) And the OS partition to be the rest of the HardDrive.
    ie. On a 250 Gig HardDrive, the Windows OS would be on a 245Gig Partition. Which is the best option I agree with this, and all of them do this. entirely an endorsment of what I say.

    Creating unhidden Extra partitions on a users HardDrive, causes confusion (especially to things like My Documents) and should only be used by users who are running Servers (keeping Data and System Files seperate)
    On home users (or even users in the office) there is no need to have extra partitions.

    Not only that, but...

    The Manufactures hidden partition carrying the image of Windows install, is only there because they are usually not providing the actual Windows CD; and horrible but true, this is a loophole in the MS regulation that the system legally must have the Windows software, if a Windows computer is sold.

    I even remember the debate that happened when this No CD issue came out. And guess what, No one liked the idea, except the manufactures. You lose some of your HardDrive space, and you can't install Windows again if the HardDrive fails. You then must go back to the manufacture and purchase a re-install image from them. Win win for the manufacture!
  10. old101

    old101 TS Rookie Posts: 52

    The Dell and HP backup partitions are useful, but in my case only as the last resort, because they return you to "The factory condition" The OS may be clean, but the rest of the factory condition is garbaged up by all kind of trialware you don't want. You then spend days re-loading your programs.

    Personally I prefer to have a separate partition for the OS and program and associated files. Then I have a data partition for data only, which includes e-mail backups, pictures and so on. In Vista I just moved the Documents folder to the Data partition. If you have no addittional hard drives that would be the partition to store you OS disk images. What.s the use of storing backup on the same partition as OS?. Os fails, you have no backup. Again personally I store all my backup images on external (USB) drives, so that even if the main HD fails I can restore the whole computer. The advantage of smaller partitions is that images are quicker to make and restore. I make separate images of both my OS and Data drives
  11. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Good to hear about the imaging, of the OS and updates and programs only. The data (externally backed up you say) do not matter.

    Sadly you (as many do, including some old timers) believe you need extra partitions. Thankfully manufactures also agree this is nonsense and just cause issues. One main issue would be the disk read and write being over used by the HardDrive, consistantly moving (dramatically) when you open your data document (in one partition) which in turn opens the relevant program (in another partition) and if you happen to have your OS seperate again (god forbid!) the head neads to move again to create the logs/tracks to that. All this slowing your HardDrive, and causing excessive unwarranted wear.

    One C drive partition, and all the data backed up externally, is all that is required
    If you don't personnaly believe this is true.
    Then at least you must do this (one partition) on others computers, otherwise you'll put them into confusion. Therefore the best advice (to give others) is no extra partitions.
  12. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    All Dells that I have bought for business in the last two years have three partitions. One hidden - restore partition. One C: drive, half of the remaining Disc. One D: drive, described as backup drive in the manual, the remaining half. Dell also supply a trial version of Norton Ghost and video clips to demonstrate how to use it to image the C: drive onto D:

    All the above applies to British issue Dells. What they do in the US I neither know nor care.

    You do not appear to accept the need to partition a drive in order to have space for images, and of course that approach is not the ultimately correct way to back up a PC, which is always to external media.

    At risk of irritating everyone, I recommend the backing up to a second partition because I am trying to persuade novices to do something, anything to protect themselves from themselves. I am not advocating separation of OS and installed programs, and never have.

    But there are also, Kimsland, sound reasons to separate the data, not least the time it takes to take an image of the OS and a full backup of the data. Mostly because in a business environment, there is an obvious necessity that all data be on a file sever, sharable, off-site backed up, auditable, the lot. Translating business practice to home use would be nice - lets see the home server arriving soon at a MS shop near you......in the meantime, starting novices off in the direction they will need to be at work is no bad thing, hence separation of OS and data as an attitude of mind.

    As to separate partitions making for more disc head movement, that is just funny. The heads have to move anyway between program, data and logs etc.
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Damn, that post makes sense!

    If you are teaching users a transition effect, into the inevitable future setups (as a default) Then I can't argue with that.

    I think Windows Vista has brought extra partitioning to a new level (that with larger HardDrives as well) by many users also wanting Xp on the same HardDrive (through partitioning)

    I suppose the next step would be imaging on another partition (again)
    Seems reasonable!

    Note I'm not changing my mind on this, just accepting that back-up imaging, if it needs to start at the local HardDrive, is reasonable.

    This thread can be concluded from Post#8

    You are wisest to create two partitions. 1 for the Windows OS, 1 for backup
    I can't believe I just said that!
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