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Completely reformat HD?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by Battlesoaked, Jan 6, 2011.

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  1. Battlesoaked

    Battlesoaked Thread Starter

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    I would like to completely reformat the HD on my friend's Dell Inspiron 1520, and then return his laptop to the factory condition using the discs which came with his computer. But my question is this:

    Will his laptop prompt me for the discs as needed during the re-installation, and will the existing partition structure be replicated when I'm all said and done? ​

    I would like to create a single partition on his drive using G-parted (that's what I have, anyway), and then begin with the OS CD (which does boot, BTW).

    Will - or should, I guess I should say - the machine hold my hand by automatically re-creating the partition structure?

    He has all discs which came with the computer: the OS, two driver DVDs, the MediaDirect DVD, and the Webcam manager.

    Here's the present partition structure:

    Partition 1 [fat] 78MB 70 free
    partition 2 [ntfs] 10854 MB (I already deleted the data on that partition)
    Partition 4 <mediadirect> [fat32] 2557 1856 free
    Partition 3 [fat32] 3381 mb 750 free​

    It seems like the machine would do what I'm asking about in the event he needed to replace the HD.

    If this is going to be kludgy, then I would like to at least delete and then restore the restore partition. I read viruses can hid in those partitions.

    Thanks in advance,
    Scott

    BTW, after I'm done with Windows on this computer, I will be installing a dedicated Ubuntu partition on it.
     
  2. Megabite

    Megabite

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    So does this PC have a hidden recovery partition or just recovery discs?
     
  3. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    I am just a little confused. Megabite has already asked the most important first question.

    However from your quotes above - is the final aim to have XP dual booting with Ubuntu 10.10 I think is the latest. I dual boot Vista with 10.4 on another of my computers.
    OR is the intention just to have Ubuntu -as may be interpreted from your last line of the post.
     
  4. Battlesoaked

    Battlesoaked Thread Starter

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    Thanks Megabite and Macboatmaster,

    Not sure. Please see attached pic for what GParted says.


    Sorry. I want to end up with a dual-boot, system: XP and the associated factory partition structure, and Ubuntu 10.04.1 (LTS) (15gb in size).

    Please note the yellow exclamation point triangle icon in GParted for /dev/sda5

    Thanks,
    Scott
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Battlesoaked

    Battlesoaked Thread Starter

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    Derp!: Right-click on the yellow triangle yields: "Unable to read the contents of this file system! Because of this some operations may be unavailable."
     
  6. Megabite

    Megabite

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    I would first use the recovery option and then see what the disc looks like after.
     
  7. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    The Media Direct partition on a Dell Inspiron was unless I am mistaken a special part of the MBR - Master Boot record to load the Dell Media Direct screen. I have a feeling it was acrivated by pressing a Media button on the keyboard. I once worked on one some years ago, putting in a new hard drive and more ram.

    Of greater concern and you should I think, wait for Megabite, to perhaps confirm is that you have now formatted the main NTFS partition on which Windows was installed. Having done that I do NOT think that the Dell recovery partition will recover anything. There were I think two options on this Dell.#
    One was a soft recovery which is similar to a repair install of Windows.
    The other was a destructive recovery which returned the computer to the factory installation.
    HOWEVER I think they were both dependant on the existance in the first place of the ACTIVE NTFS partition and they were accessed by pressing F11 I think on boot.
     
  8. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Further to my last - if this works I will be AMAZED
    Use Dell PC Restore (Windows XP) or Dell Factory Image Restore (Windows Vista) only as the last method to restore your operating system. These options restore your hard drive to the operating state it was in when you purchased the computer. Any programs or files added since you received your computer&#8212;including data files&#8212;are permanently deleted from the hard drive. Data files include documents, spreadsheets, e-mail messages, digital photos, music files, and so on. If possible, back up all data before using PC Restore or Factory Image Restore.
    Dell PC Restore

    Using PC Restore:

    1. Turn on the computer.
    During the boot process, a blue bar with www.dell.com appears at the top of the screen.

    1. Immediately upon seeing the blue bar, press <Ctrl><F11>.
    If you do not press <Ctrl><F11> in time, let the computer finish starting, and then restart the computer again.
    [​IMG] NOTICE: If you do not want to proceed with PC Restore, click Reboot.
    1. Click Restore and click Confirm.
    The restore process takes approximately 6 to 10 minutes to complete.

    1. When prompted, click Finish to reboot the computer.
    [​IMG] NOTE: Do not manually shut down the computer. Click Finish and let the computer completely reboot.
    1. When prompted, click Yes.
    The computer restarts. Because the computer is restored to its original operating state, the screens that appear, such as the End User License Agreement, are the same ones that appeared the first time the computer was turned on.

    1. Click Next.
    The System Restore screen appears and the computer restarts.
    After the computer restarts, click OK.
     
  9. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    In case you pursue this issue - and from my personal experience install XP first.
    There are a number of guides of how to install the dual boot.
    I have always used the one on the Ubuntu forums
    It is here, should be of help.
    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

    IF THAT RECOVERY does not work and you go to a complete reinstall of windows the best early advice is to partition the drive on the reinstall rather than trying later.
    The reason it is best to install Windows first is that its boot loader is far less flexible than the GRUB on Ubuntu.
    See this
    f you are able to partition the drive prior to installing Windows, leave space for Ubuntu during the initial partitioning process. Then you won't have to resize your NTFS partition to make room for Ubuntu later saving a bit of time and I would add - you will find it will go very smoothly.
    Whereas AFTER you have installed XP you cannot use Windows disk management to repartition.
     
  10. Battlesoaked

    Battlesoaked Thread Starter

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    Thanks Macboatmaster,

    I will try your method now.
     
  11. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Which one please. I may have some further advice for you
     
  12. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    This is a copy and paste from your Dell manual.
    I cannot easily ascertain if that HDD is SATA. If so, you may find that you have the problem of F6 and install SATA drivers. If the drive is IDE that will not apply. If the reinstallation Media is SP2 you may be OK - it is really a question of try it and see.

    Reinstalling Windows XP or Windows Vista


    The reinstallation process can take 1 to 2 hours to complete. After you reinstall the operating system, you must also reinstall the device drivers, virus protection program, and other software.
    [​IMG] NOTICE: The Operating System media provides options for reinstalling Windows XP. The options can overwrite files and possibly affect programs that are installed on your hard drive. Therefore, do not reinstall Windows XP unless a Dell technical support representative instructs you to do so.
    1. Save and close any open files and exit any open programs.
    2. Insert the Operating System disc.
    3. Click Exit if the Install Windows message appears.
    4. Restart the computer.
    When the DELL logo appears, press <F12> immediately.
    [​IMG] NOTE: If you wait too long and the operating system logo appears, continue to wait until you see the Microsoft® Windows® desktop; then, shut down your computer and try again. [​IMG] NOTE: The next steps change the boot sequence for one time only. On the next start-up, the computer boots according to the devices specified in the system setup program.
    1. When the boot device list appears, highlight CD/DVD/CD-RW Drive and press <Enter>.
    2. Press any key to Boot from CD-ROM.
    3. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation.
     
  13. Battlesoaked

    Battlesoaked Thread Starter

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    I never get the www.dell.com screen, with or without the recovery cd which shipped with the computer, and, no matter when I press the keys, <Ctrl><F11>, and can't get to a "restore" prompt.

    I'm able to get into the recovery console, but it asks for an Administrator password. The owner says he never assigned one to the laptop.

    I'm tempted, at this point, to reformat /sda2 & /sda3, and then install Windows on the resulting single large 109GB+ block of unallocated disc space. I'm going to set this computer up with Lastpass and a Virtural Box and a bunch of other things which would be lost with any factory restore partition restore process anyway, so I don't really need the factory restore partition.

    I could image - on both an external HD and some DVDs - the configuration (including the Linux installation) and that could be his (Easeus) restore option.

    So, I'm going to give this password solution a shot, then, if that doesn't work, unless you've a better idea, I'll just do away with the restore partition altogether and use the space for the Windows and Ubuntu partitions.

    I've done that more than a few Ubuntu installations, so I should be OK there.

    Thanks,
    Scott
     
  14. Battlesoaked

    Battlesoaked Thread Starter

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    Just now see your #12 response. I won't do anything until I read it. And thanks so much for all your help! This is just great!
     
  15. Macboatmaster

    Macboatmaster Trusted Advisor Spam Fighter

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    Just leave it blank.
    If one was never set that will work.

    However you will, as I thought in the first place never get to the restore partition, as you deleted the original NTFS main Windows install.
    For the same reason the Recovery Console will DO absolutely nothing.

    I am offline now for a couple of hours. Anything you need before I go. -please
     
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