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How to Format a Hard Drive With Windows XP

There are times when Windows gets so badly damaged and compromised by hackers or Trojan Programs that the only solution that remains is to start all over again. Starting all over again simply means formatting the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system.

What Does Formatting Mean?

Formatting prepares a storage medium, like the hard drive, so that it can read and write data. When the hard drive is formatted, the operating system will delete all information on the disk, examine the disks to ensure all the sectors are reliable and mark the bad sectors. Thereafter, an internal address table is created which is used for locating information.

Backing Up Your Data

Before you start formatting your hard drive analyze why you want the process done. If your intention is to recover your hard drive, it is important to take a back-up of all the important files, personal data and information on a CD. Generally people want their documents folder to remain intact. You may also save things like Always plan the hard drive format well in advance so that you get enough time to take a back-up of your data before the process commences.

On the other hand, if you want to erase everything and then reload it because of some serious damage caused to the system by virus, you need not take a back-up.

Checking The PC Set-Up

If you wish to reinstall Windows XP after formatting, ensure that the CDs for all applications as well as any third party hardware you require are available. That’s because after reinstalling Windows XP you will need to reinstall the programs and drivers. If you do not have the CD for all your hardware, get a report printed from Device Manager which will list all hardware components, programs and serial numbers.

Before you start with the formatting process, you should know that reinstalling the OS is not a simple task. Anything may happen during the process and that might handicap the PC functions forever. Moreover, this is not a task one can complete in a couple of hours; it does take a lot of time.

Remember that formatting the hard disk and reinstalling the operating system is something you should do as a last resort. That’s because there are several other ways of dealing with a wonky computer. Uninstalling and reinstalling applications could be one of them. Try them all first, before you take the decision to reinstall Windows.

Formatting The Hard Drive

Step 1:

First insert the Windows installation CD and boot your PC from the CD. It is important to boot the PC from the CD because the C drive partition where Windows is installed also needs to be erased so that it can be re-formatted. If you boot your PC from the C drive, this would not be possible.

You can also install Windows without erasing the partition and formatting it. However, that would retain all the program files on your C drive thereby taking up additional space. That is certainly not desired. Thus, make sure you boot your PC from CD.

Step 2:

The next step is to go through the Windows installation process. You will see a screen with text written all over. Do not get scared at the sight of such a screen. You will find all directions written clearly on the screen.

You will see a page called Welcome to Set-up; press Enter. Next press F8 in order to accept the XP Licensing Agreement. Now, you will be asked whether you wish to repair the current Windows XP installation. Ignore the repair part by pressing ESC and install a new copy.

You will find all your disk partitions listed. In order to delete the existing partition where Windows is installed use the arrow key to select the partition and press D to delete. To confirm the command, press the L key. In order to create new partitions select the space which is unpartitioned and then press C. This will create a partition which has the maximum amount of space allotted to it.

Now you need to select the new partition so that you can install Windows on it. Next, you need to format drive as NTFS. This will take a considerable amount of time depending on the size of the drive and how fast your computer works. After this is done, you need to follow the steps of Windows Set-up. Enter your name, password and area code and let your system reboot as many times as it needs. You know the process is complete when you are asked to log in to the system for the first time.

Step 3:

Once you have got your Windows XP installed, chances are you might find that everything on your PC is not working properly. So, now what you need to do is get the drivers installed for all your hardware. The first step is to obtain a list of all that Windows does not have correctly installed. Once you get the list, insert the CD for each of the drivers and get the software needed for running the different components. If you do not have the CD for a driver, perform a Google search on the brand and the model of each driver you need. Now burn it onto a CD and install the driver.

Step 4:

If you have used the Windows installation CD that came with your computer years ago, your PC is running an old version of the operating system. So, as soon as you go online, directly visit Windows Update. Do not delay this process because your virginal PC may be hacked as soon as you connect to the internet.

Step 5:

Now that all the important tasks are done, you need to install the software applications you need. When you are done with the software installation, you can copy all the back-up data back to C drive. Once this is done you can simply sit back and relax. Give yourself a pat on the back for the feat you have managed to achieve.

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