How to Format a Computer with Windows XP

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The word Format can mean quite a few things in the world of computer. You can format texts [changing the properties of the text such as size, font type, color etc], change a file format [saving a file in different extension such as .avi .mkb .txt etc], and in this case, format a storage drive such as HDD, pendrive, or cell phone. Format a storage drive, or in other word, disk formatting,  is the initial part of the process for preparing a hard disk or other storage medium (any drive that has storage) for its first use. The disk formatting includes setting up an empty file system. A disk formatting may set up multiple file systems by formatting partitions for each file system. Disk formatting is also part of a process involving rebuilding an entire disk from scratch.

In many cases, when people want to get rid of very bad viruses or spywares, or other problems that slow down or crash their computer, formatting the computer can usually be the ultimate and probably the best solution if they can’t fix their problem. Formatting a computer can also mean ultra cleaning the computer which wipe out everything and let you install a clean, new and fresh OS into it, and start everything from scratch.

In this entry, we will teach you step-by-step how to format a computer and install Windows XP into it.

How to format a computer using a Windows XP Disc

First Step:
As stated, you’ll need a windows XP disc. To format a drive and install Windows XP, no matter what form your Windows XP is, it must be a physical and genuine Windows XP bootable disc. If you downloaded it from the internet which is probably a disc image (.iso or whatever image format), you’ll have to burn the image to a CD. The key is that you’ll need to boot the CD without booting your hard disk.

Second Step:
Not to mention much about how clean your disk will be after formatting, you should know that everything will be gone after formatting your hard disk. So, we encourage you to do a complete backup for your computer. Copy important documents, photos, videos or whatever files you want to keep. You can save them into your thumb drive, external hard drive or whatever storage hardware that allows you to store your files temporary.

3rd Step:
When you have done all appropriate backup and have your Windows XP bootable disc prepared, you are ready to do this. Now, put the Windows XP disc into your CD-ROM drive, and restart your computer. In this step, you’re going to set your motherboard to boot your CD first instead of your hard disk. To do this, go into the BIOS settings, by pressing delete, f1, f12 or whatever button that the screen shows you at startup, usually with the words “To enter setup press …”. You have to press it quickly, or you can just spam the button immediate after your computer starts. Different BIOS might have different settings and menus. Try to navigate all the menus in the BIOS settings and seek for the phrases boot order, first boot device, second boot device or any phrase that indicates boot sequence or order. When you see it, set CD-ROM drive as your first boot device. Save the settings and restart your computer. When it says press any key to boot from cd, hit enter and it will then boot your CD.

4th Step:
A blue screen will appear and you will have 3 options:

  • To set up Windows XP now, press ENTER.We’ll pick this in this case.
  • To repair a Windows XP installation using Recovery Console, press R. – This is only for people who crash their computers until a stage where the windows cannot even be loaded. This option can help them to recover their computer to an earlier restore point.
  • To quit Setup without installing Windows XP, press F3. – If you change your mind, this option is for you.

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5th Step:
On the Windows XP Licensing Agreement page, press F8 to agree the license and go to the next step.

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6th Step:
Obviously, if you want to format your hard disk and install a fresh copy of Windows XP, press ESC.

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7th Step:
Please take note that this is a very important step. Please read carefully. In this screen, it will show you all the existing partitions you have in your hard disks. You will usually see a few partitioned spaces that you’ve been using previously. Deleting a partition means to completely wipe out everything in the partition. If you’ve decided to completely wipe out everything, you can just delete all the partition by pressing D and then L. As for some power users, they will format only one partition which is usually the partition where its previous system is located. That way the data on the other partition will be safe. After you’ve done deleting all the partitions, you should now see an unpartitioned space. You can create as many partition as you want in the unpartitioned space. To do so, press C, input the size you want for the new partition, and hit enter to confirm. Select the partition where you prefer to install Windows Xp and press Enter. If there is no partition created, it will create one that uses the maximum size of the unpartioned space for you when you hit ENTER directly while selecting the unpartitioned space.

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8th Step:
This page allows you to select a file system for the new partition to be formatted. The best file system is the NTFS file system. We’ll usually pick that.

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9th Step:
Get yourself a cup of coffee and wait for the formatting process to be completed. Windows XP is now erasing your hard disk drive using a process called formatting and will start the installation upon completion of the formatting. You can leave your computer and return in 20 to 30 minutes. The computer will restart several times and will boot from cd again. Do not press anything on the keyboard and just let it go through all the stages of setup until it prompts you something that requires your decision. From now on you just have to follow the prompts, pressing all the “Next” and let the setup goes on. Make sure you have your Windows XP serial number ready when the setup ask for it. This can be found usually from the back cover of your Windows XP CD case or your COA certificate which is a sticker sticked behind on your laptop. Do not remove the Windows XP CD until the computer has done all the installation and started up with a new desktop and some new icons.

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10th Step:
Share this tutorial with your friends! They might need this and happy to know this. You can share this article easily by clicking any of the sharing methods of your choice from the cute floating box on your left. Thank you for reading!

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  • Kenny

    Does this How to format Windows XP mean formatting my computer which has a Windows XP on it? My case is that I am now using windows xp in my old machine and i’m gonna format it because of some problems that cannot be solved no matter what i do.
    Does this how to format windows xp thread guiding us to install Windows XP or other new Windows such as vista? Please guide me i’m totally blank with how to format my machine.

  • http://www.computertipsfree.com/ Alvin Nyau

    Ok Kenny, first of all this “how to format” tutorial is applicable to whatever OS you are using now as long as you have a Windows XP bootable disc. When you boot your CD, it deals with your hard disk but not the OS in it. So no matter what’s inside, it doesn’t matter.Second, I would say yes, you are right that this “tutorial” is talking about installing Windows XP. Of course if you have a Windows XP disc, you are about to install Windows XP! We din’t touch much about the installation process because it is absolutely easy steps which you can definitely handle it yourself with your common senses. However, what we’re trying to guide you in this entry is that how you can format your computer correctly if you have a Windows XP bootable disc.Thank you for stopping by.

  • http://abrablog.com abra

    I already know how to format windows. It was easy. But i know it was hard if you never know anything about that.