Format and reinstall XP home

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Thread Starter
Sep 9, 2001
I am going to sell this computer and get a different one. I need to completely clean this machine and reinstall XP home, where can I get step by step instructions that I can print and use so that I can do this. I have an 80G hard drive showing C, and D drives if this is useful
Aug 5, 2002
go here to get a reformating software program.

then when you are done go it to your bios set your first boot drive to cd rom. and stick in your xp cd and restart your computer relax and read a good book while. the xp cd does its thing. when it restarts go back into bios and reset hd to first boot drive. and it will finish installing windows.. this should not take more than 2-3 hours
Feb 23, 2003
Steps to Clean Install XP

If the above instructions for configuring your system to boot from CD or you have acquired the necessary boot floppy/floppies; you can now boot the computer and follow the on screen prompts.

Have your CD key available, typical install is around 30 minutes. If setup seems to hang, wait at least 10 minutes + before restarting system. You should experience momentary screen blackouts.

1. Power on the computer. Press the Pause/Break key as soon as you see text on the screen.

[If you currently are running in an OS of any flavor, insert XP CD and restart computer. Skip to #3 if system is configured to boot from CD.]

2. Insert XP CD into CD drive. Press ENTER to resume booting from the XP CD. (BIOS must support booting from CD and boot order must be set so CD boots before hard drive. If computer does not support booting from CD go to 2a for floppy install).

2a. Floppy install: Boot from Win98/Me/Special XP install floppy disk with smartdrv.exe added to the boot disk; or the Win XP set of 6 floppy disks.

3. Look for message "booting from CD" usually located at the bottom of the screen. If you have a factory splash screen, press ESC to unload it.

3a. Floppy install: From the A Prompt; A:\type: smartdrv.exe. then press ENTER. If you are using the XP boot floppy setup disks skip to step #5.

4. Press any Key when you see the prompt to 'Press Any Key"

4a. Floppy install: CD to the location of the CD-ROM drive with the XP setup files; CD to the i386 folder where you will type: winnt.exe to start setup.

5. Setup will start copying files, if you need to install any third-party or RAID drivers press F6 at this time. the copying of files can take awhile.

6. Next you will get the option to repair or enter setup, choose to enter setup. Press ENTER.

To see images full size, place mouse cursor over image and click/double click or press the left button and open.

7. Press F8 if you agree to the license.

8. Setup will scan for previous Windows installations

9. If you are using the upgrade version of XP on a computer without any version of Windows currently installed, this is where you will replace the XP CD with your qualifying CD, XP setup will scan the qualifying CD and instruct you to replace it with the XP CD to continue XP setup; otherwise, you will not see this screen. Clean install qualifying media can be any of the following Win NT3.51, 4.0, 2000, Win 95, 98, Me.

10. Choose the location to install.
10a If this is a clean hard drive, you can choose to create a partition in the un-partitioned space. At this point, you can allow Setup to use all the space or set a size for the partition.

10b If the hard drive or partition has a previous installation of XP you want to remove, choose to delete the partition by pressing "D". You will then be prompted to create a new partition in the empty space. This will remove all data from the deleted space.

10c If you intend to use multiple partitions, or dual boot, this is where you specify the size of the boot partition and or setup location for XP. If you are planning to dual boot XP, I would create a small 100 meg DOS partition for the first primary partition, then an 8 to 10 gig partition for XP. You can partition and format the remaining space after XP is setup from Disk Manager. If you do not intend to dual boot, you can either use all the un-partitioned space, or create an 8 to 10 gig partition for XP and leave the rest free to partition later.

If a fat32 partition larger than 32 gigabyte is desired, the hard drive or partition will need to be created before running XP setup. XP will not create a fat 32 partition larger than 32 gig, but will support one previously created.

11. Choose the file system from this screen. If dual booting and you created the small 100 meg partition, make it a fat partition. NTFS is configured at the optimal file size during the initial setup. See this link for more on NTFS

12. If you have more that one partition or hard drive on your system, make sure you are formatting the correct partition/drive.

13. Select F to continue.

14. Setup will show a progress box and reboot when copying files is complete.

15. When you see the "Press any Key to Reboot" do not Press any Key. If CD boots anyway, remove CD and reboot.

16. From this point, you will follow the on screen prompts.

17. If you live outside the US, you will probably need to modify the default settings.

18. Personalize your XP Enter your Name and Organization.

19. Enter the CD Key. The Key is located on the back of the CD folder in the Retail versions, and on a holographic label with the OEM versions purchased with a piece of hardware. Write this key down and secure it in a safe place in case the original is misplaced destroyed through natural causes or stupidity. :cool:

20. Choose a name for the computer, this should be a unique name for the computer, especially if it is to be connected to a network. In Pro, you are given the option of creating a password or leaving it blank.

21. Set your Time Zone and Time and Date.

22. Setup will scan for network.

23. If detected you will have the choice to choose a typical configuration or custom. Choose typical if you are unsure.

24. For home you will choose your workgroup, if a network is already established and you intend to connect to it, use the existing workgroup name, otherwise, I suggest using the default.

25. For Pro, the same goes for Pro as suggested for Home, but you will have the choice to join a Domain, if you do not have a Domain or do not know leave blank.

26. Setup will continue and reboot when completed ignore the "Press Any Key".

27. The loading XP window will now display after reboot.

28. You will see a change display settings, say yes, and accept the setting if you can see the screen after accepting.

29. You will see a welcome screen, press next and unfortunately you have to wait for the dialog to finish.

30. Set up your internet or network connection.

31. This is the Activate, Register screen. You must activate within 30 days of installing XP, but you do not ever have to register, Registration is completely optional and if you do not register, no personal information will be transmitted during activation. If you register, then activation will transmit that information along with the activation. The first Activation is usually done over the internet if the computer is connected to the internet, otherwise, it can be accomplished by copying the alphanumeric string from the activation screen and make a phone call to the on screen supplied phone number. The activation center will then give you a slightly longer number to input into for activation. I suggest you do not activate immediately in case you need to make hard ware changes, or install to a different system within the thirty days, and you will be reminded on boot up until you do.

Blaster worm warning: Do not immediately activate over the internet when asked, enable the XP firewall before connecting to the internet. You can activate after the firewall is enabled. Control Panel - Network Connections. Right click the connection you use, Properties, and there is a check box on the Advanced page.

32. Setup users screen. Set at least one user for yourself or the person that will be using the computer.

33. Thank You

34. Logon to XP and apply Service Pack and Critical updates from Windows Update before installing any software or hardware.

35. Install your anti-virus software.

36. Install all applications and setup your email.


Thread Starter
Sep 9, 2001
buddafabio and Mobo, Thanks for the quick reply I will let you know how it works
Jun 11, 2002
Personally I would buy a new hard drive for that system and install the WinXP on a fresh drive. Save the 80gig drive you have now and use it in the new system as a slave/storage drive. Your personal data stays with you and you gain 80gigs in your new box.
All of that format reinstall stuff does NOT remove everything and it only overwrites the same place it was installed anyway. It removes the pointers to your original data, but it is still there.
The only way to be sure it is gone is to write 0s (LLF) or one of the more advanced drive wiping methods BEFORE you could reinstall WindowsXP.

Buy a small (cheap) drive and be sure.
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