Reformatting Hard Drive

Category: Hard-Drives

If I reformat my hard drive, will my Windows XP cdrom act as a boot disk and allow me to reinstall all my programs?

Yes, assuming your system's BIOS allows you to boot from CD (most modern systems do), that's exactly how you would install an operating system on a freshly formatted hard drive. You can make sure your BIOS supports booting from CD by going into the Setup screens when you start your computer.

Before you reformat the drive, set your BIOS to boot from CD first, then insert the Windows XP disk and restart. If it boots from the CD, you're good to go.

One more important point: If you have the Windows XP upgrade CDROM, and not the full version, you will not be able to install XP. I ran into this problem once when doing a reinstall, and the only way I could figure out was to follow the original install/upgrade path. That meant installing Windows 3.1 (from floppy disks!), then upgrading to Windows 98, then upgrading to Windows XP. What a nightmare that was.

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Most recent comments on "Reformatting Hard Drive"

Posted by:

15 Dec 2005

It's a Dell re-install disk that came with the had the "upgrade" AND "new install?(sic). Does that mean it's the "right" version? Also, it's taking days, to reformat. What's up with that? I opted for a full reformat and not the "quick" reformat.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It should definitely not take days to format your disk, no matter how large. That may indicate a serious hardware problem with the drive.

Posted by:

01 Feb 2006

Somehow I have lost my cd rom and my dvd rom...they lite up but they are not listed in the device manager...will I be able to have a cd start up choice when I reformat or how can I find my drives?

Posted by:

07 Mar 2007

C:\SYSTEM.SAV\FBI\DETECT.BTO that error shows on my pc when i turn it on. it says two files copied. i lost all my hard drive. is there anyway to get it back? i have windows me a compag presario.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sounds like a virus. A good virus scanner MIGHT help, if the virus was not too destructive. See

Posted by:

17 May 2007

My computer is Dell. while i was listining a music from my pen flash, suddenlly my computer restarts and shows me blue screen. i tried to reinstall windows it is saying me that NTLDR file is missing.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Look here:

Posted by:

13 Feb 2008


Posted by:

11 Apr 2008

I have an old 160 gig SATA ATA harddrive that has a bad sector in it so I bought 2 new SATA raid hard drives to replace it and installed them into my computer.. I want to use the old hard drive as a backup. I hooked it with a USB to SATA adapter but windows won't let me reformat it.. What am I doing wrong?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Does it show up with a drive letter?

Posted by:

26 Apr 2008

My son's computer is loaded with virus'. I want to reformat it but when I try to boot from disk, it states it's not a genuine Microsoft disk (which it is) and it came with the computer.

I've tried all the workarounds I could find but I still can't do a thing to reformat. Also when I reboot his computer (Dell) a box comes up stating we have a counterfeit copy. Which it's not. Could it be the virus that is making it state it's not genuine and how can I reformat then? Thank you!

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's quite possible that you have a machine with an unlicensed (counterfeit) copy of Windows. If that's true, you should complain to whoever sold you the computer. I've never heard of a virus causing this peroblem.

Posted by:

15 Feb 2009

Hi Bob,

As mentioned in your other topic about reformatting hard drives from windows XP and back ups etc I have bought a 1TB WD My Book Home Edition and successfully backed up all of my info(I hope).

Which brings me to the next step of reformatting. In this article you mention about being able to boot from CD and getting into BIOS on start up to ensure that it will boot from CD.

On my start up I see a very quick flash of "BIOS not installed" or words to that affect(it's very quick) and then it continues to startup. I tried pressing various keys on startup to try and get into BIOS but no such luck.

So do I just take the chance and format C drive and hope for the best, or I still have my original setup CD disc which came with my motherboard which I assume is just rerun or something.

EDITOR'S NOTE: If your computer boots from the CD when the CD is in the drive, you should be fine.

Posted by:

03 Oct 2009

BOB: please tell me how can I format my computer with out loosing the files. I am getting the below choice and I picked all the options, nothing worked.

Safe Mode

Safe Mode with Networking

Safe Mode with Command Prompt

Last known Good configuration

I tried all options nothing worked. It says use up and down button arrow keys to move the highlighted portion When I do that It looks like working and starts with the time seconds 25 and goes down to 0 and goes back to the original screen saying we apologize for the inconvience......" I tried system recovery disk it gives option that I will loose all files and goes back to factory settings. I do not want to loose the files. Recovery disk is not giving any options...please help me...thanks

EDITOR'S NOTE: You CANNOT format your drive without losing the files. If you tell me why you want to format, maybe I can suggest a better solution.

Posted by:

29 Mar 2010

I have a Toshiba Portege laptop with recovery disk. When I had given this for HD repair, the repair shop had installed their version of WinXP. I want to remove this and put the OEM version, I received from Toshiba. When I run the "setup" from my external USB DVD drive, it does a reboot and then goes back to normal boot. I have made boot sequence changes to the BIOS. The USB connected DVD drive gets recognized after the server reboot and not at the time of reboot. Looking forward to your suggestions. Thank you.

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