I have been trying to reformat a hardrive with windows xp. My buddy's Dell laptop wasn't working too good and it was from his old job which had restrictions by an administrative account we didnt have the password to, so i said i would reformat it for him. I have done plenty of them before but this one i am having problems with.

I have tried reformatting it multiple times already and each time it seems like i get a to a different point and receive a different error message. Some have been referring to the hard drive, some referring to certain files when being copied, unable to start operating system, and i have gotten the physical memory dump blue screen multiple times(these messages are not word for word, its just basically what i remember from them).

I deleted all the partitions and started from scratch every time. Sometimes it wont even let me start reformatting, a bunch of times i got as far as the files being copied when it will just crap out on me saying a certain file is corrupt or what not. One time i even got as far as going through the setup for windows xp where they ask you to type in a computer name for your computer but then in the middle with only 20 something minutes remaining, the physical memory dump, blue page popped up.

Can someon help me? I am hoping its not that bad because i have actually gotten as far as the windows xp setup. Maybe i did something wrong or something is wrong with the harddrive...?

It seems as if the HDD is the problem, Can you try using a diff. XP Setup CD?

I actually did use two different XP setup cd's. They both seemed to get to different stages of the reformatting.

Could i have deleted too much when i deleted the partitions? Because i am starting with a raw partition. Is there something i should do to this raw partition?

There is nothing needed in a raw partition, If you have a Bootable XP CD try formatting in from the XP Setup. It should take care of it.

When you say boot in XP setup, do you mean let windows load and do it through windows because i dont have windows on my computer. I deleted everything and now i have nothing.

No, i dont mean from within window, i know that you dont have any OS anymore. Iam talking about the XP Setup process, which guides you to use the format option.

When you format if you are choosing the (Quick) format option this can cause problems, that's why i generally use the long option.

Matt :)

When you format if you are choosing the (Quick) format option this can cause problems, that's why i generally use the long option.

Matt :)

Yes, Thats right, quick formats just wipes the link records, it does not actually wipes all the data.

I have gone through the setup process multiple times but it has stopped at various points for various reasons. And the first time i tried to reformat, i did not use the quick method and it ended up having a problem so i just tried the quick way the rest because i didnt want to have to wait a long time just for it to not work. i will try the regular way again and see what happens.

here is what u need to do, boot withthe xp cd go to the repair console, run fdisk, check howmany partition are on the hdd, delete all and make one partitions, then do a format. when u get to the install section if it ask to format the partition do the full format.

I went to the recovery console and fdisk was not an option. I did select an option and it said it was running FAT. then when the computer restarted i got the message, "Dell's disk monitoring system has detected that drive 0 on the primary EIDE controller is operating outside of normal specifications. It is advisable to immediately back up your data and replace your hard disk drive by calling....Strike F1 to continue, F2 to run the setup utility." Also if i do not Strike F1 or F2...it says "NTLDR is missing"

Before i did went to the recovery console like i just explained, i was trying to reformat a little while ago and it starts and gets about 48% of the way through when it stops.

Not sure whether this is a valid suggestion, but you could try piggy backing the hdd on another system. Then format it through My Computer. (Right click on correct drive and select format...)


Any idea sounds good about now. But how would i hook the laptop up to another computer??

Well i have another laptop, how would i go about hooking a laptop to a laptop. is there a way without opening them both up?

do u have any bootable windows 98 cd, or any cd with a fdisk utility. base on what you are saying this hdd is fat and cause cause proble, also if it have damage clusters. run chkdsk from the recocery console and check the hdd.

You cannot easily do Laptop to Laptop, commenting on another post saying use a windows 98CD. You could use a Win98 Bootdisk to initialise the fdisk command. Is it an old Laptop?


i ran C:\>fixboot and it said the file system on the startup partition is FAT. But shouldn't it be NTFS???

yes and the size of the hdd will dictate that it has to be ntfs to install xp.

check the "bios aitvirus" isnt on or something
like that

This stops things writing to the MBR like bootsector viruses, but stops windows installing properley

Yes, it normally reccommends NTFS for drives over 2GB, correct me if i'm wrong. So something is possibly wrong. But dont Dell put a special recovery partition on their systems so you can restore your system?

@ guns
yes they normally do but u can clear all partition and install you own operating system, however if u are trying to do a restore if that partition is missing it would not work.

i have formated a windows me dell pc and put xp on it and it runs fine, juts had to the dell site to get the drivers,