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Help please, how to reformat the harddrive.

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by TED, Aug 23, 2004.

  1. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    I have a Dell Inspiron laptop. This is the same one that has the destroyed LCD, for which I am currently sucessfully and happily using an external monitor.

    The current issue is that I need to reformat my hard-drive (I already backed up all the stuff I want to keep). The problem is I don't know how. I tried restarting the computer and pushing the F2 key and entering the setup section but could not find anything there that would allow me to to format the harddrive.

    Please help me. I desperately need it. I have been at it for hours now and am going insane.

    TED
     
  2. NetNinja

    NetNinja Always Faithful

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    Uh,

    what are you going to put on the hard drive?

    Linux?
    Windows XP?

    They both format the hard drive for you.

    just put the CD rom in and let the program guide you through the steps.
     

  3. Halo

    Halo Millennium Member

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    Did it come with any kind of restore disc? Usually you can boot from the CD and it will guide you through restoring your computer to the out-of-box configuration.

    If not, put your Windows disc in the drive and reboot. If you get some kind of "Press any key to boot from CD" prompt, follow it. Let the Windows setup proceed until it asks you which partition you want to use for the installation. Press D to delete the existing partition, and L to confirm. Then you'll see "Unallocated" and hit Enter to install to that. It will handle the formatting for you.
     
  4. Bdnbrck

    Bdnbrck

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    What Operating system do you have?

    If windows 98 or 95, you need to make a start-up disk. Go to the control panel ---> Add remove programs--->. The tab on the to right is for start-up disks. I cant tell you exactly what it says as I dont use Win98 anymore.

    Once you create the disk, put it in and restart the computer. Your computer should boot off the disk. Select to boot wiht CD-ROM support. After boot put in a CD ROM and make sure you can read from that drive. If you can, then its as easy as typing "Format c:" from there. Once done, now you can use the CD ROM to setup windows again.

    If you have WinXP then put in your XP CD. It will boot to windowsXP setup. You will have to delete and re-create an active partition, which will accomplish the same as formatting.

    Let me know if you have questions.
     
  5. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    It is Windows XP. I am attempting to follow the advice of the first reply and allow Windows XP to do the auto-pilot thing. However, when it gets to the section where I have the choice to delete a partition (and it only shows one partition, my hard drive, so its not like I'm choosing the wrong one), it says,

    "Setup is unable to perform the requested operation on the selected partition. This partition contains temporary files that are required to complete the installation."

    TED
     
  6. lomfs24

    lomfs24

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    Download a small version of a Linux live distro like Slackware live. Boot off of it then run, from the command line 'cfdisk'. It is a program like the fdisk program for older windows and DOS. Delete the partition and recreate it. Make sure you specify what kind of partition it should be and that it is bootable. That will leave you with an empty harddrive. Then when you load your new operating system it will format and install the needed files.
     
  7. Halo

    Halo Millennium Member

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    When it gets to the point of showing you the partition information, what does it show for Drive C? If most of it is "unallocated space" just highlight that and hit enter. It will then format that part and install Windows to it.
     
  8. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    the computer in question does not have internet access currently and I am uncomfortable with the Linux program suggestion.

    It shows C drive, my hard drive as having 8 megs in one partition and the rest of the 20 gig total drive in the main allocation.

    8 megs isn't enough to even install XP onto.

    TED
     
  9. SamBuca

    SamBuca

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    ;Q

    Hi...here's some actual help.

    Pop the Dell resource disc in (or a stock WinXP install disc) and reboot. After the Inspiron splash screen (the pretty picture), it'll say "press any key to boot from CD", so slap a key. It'll load this ugly blue screen and start doing its thing.

    0) UNPLUG THE ETHERNET WIRE TO GET IT OFF THE NET (You mentioned it's not connected...good)

    1) The first screen will be the welcome screen that asks if you want to repair or continue setup. Press enter to continue setup.

    2) Stupid license agreement screen. F8 to go past it.

    3) Partition info...Hit "D" to wipe any partitions off. It'll probably give a warning for one and say it's a system partition...hit enter to go past it...and then hit "L" to actually wipe the partition.

    4) There are no partitions...hit 'enter' to install.

    5) Do a quick NTFS format.

    6) It'll do its thing and then reboot. Keep the CD in the drive, but don't press anything when it says "press any key to boot from CD."

    7) Your WinXP key is on the bottom of your laptop by the service tag...XP Home keys work for XP Home. XP Pro keys work for XP Pro. DO NOT use a pirated key...you'll be sorry.

    Post installation:

    1) Get service pack 2 on there IMMEDIATELY. Do not pass go, do not collect $200.
    2) Get anti-virus on there IMMEDIATELY.
     
  10. Halo

    Halo Millennium Member

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    Funny...this "actual help" has already been posted.
     
  11. TED

    TED Millennium Member

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    Thanks everyone, I've got it formatting right now. I am a well trained specialist, I can do only a few things, though I do them well, computers is NOT one of them. I really appreciate all of your help, ESPECIALLY SamBuca for putting it on my level, step one, step two, A+B=C, etc.

    Apparently, I might have sucessfuly formatted the thing yesterday but I didn't feel confident about it because I wasn't able to fully follow or comprehend all of what was going on.

    BTW, one of the problems I discovered was that in the F2 startup menu there is a section where you can tell it what drives to use for boot up and in what order of preference. Anyways, the order was all screwy and I think that it looked like booting up from the CD was disabled. So, I ENabled booting from the CD and put it at the top of the list. This is probably why I was having so much trouble before.

    THEN, I followed SamBuca's excellent step by step plan and it worked.

    Anyways, I feel really happy and relieved now.

    ONE IMPORTANT QUESTION, What is Service Pack 2?

    TED
     
  12. MikeG22

    MikeG22 CLM

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    It's a ton of updates for XP bundled together. You will want to use windows update to get it. In internet explorer click tools then windows update. It will take you to the site. Download all critical updates. Note the SP2 is really large so if you're on dial-up find someone with a fast connection that can download the full SP2 install and then burn it to a cd for you so it's not downloading for days on end.