Learning how to format windows xp used to be a task that was reserved for professional IT guys only. Even though I know how to format a computer, it took me a few goes to be comfortable with the process.
However now days most computer users will try to repair their computer themselves and even go to the extent of learning how to format windows xp and then doing it themselves. There is nothing wrong with this, as this is how I started out 25 years ago (maybe more now). If I did not take the risk and learn how to format windows xp, I would not be where I am today. (If you have Windows vista or Windows seven see Formatting a hard drive.)
The word Format can mean quite a few things in the world of computers. You could format text in a word document, have a different file format, or in this case, format a computer hard drive. Sometimes you need to format a windows computer to ultra clean your computer. It makes it faster, new looking and gets rid of errors and viruses. To learn more please see why you should format your computer and what does it mean?
Windows XP disc is bootable and really does everything for you. (Well nearly) This means that when you insert a Windows XP disc into your computer, it should start automatically. Learning how to format windows xp does not take long.
Stop! Backup before you learn how to format windows xp!
Before you do learn how to format windows xp and start this process you should backup your files and data. Some things to backup include: photos, my documents, favorites folder, emails, all contacts, passwords and more….
Go and check out my backup list. There is absolutely no excuse for not backing up your data and files now days. You can buy a [easyazon-link asin=”B00834SJS0″ locale=”us”]2 TB External Hard Drive[/easyazon-link] to save your files on for well under $150. If you have around $80 to spend then check out this [easyazon-link asin=”B00834SJSK” locale=”us”]500 GB External Hard Drive[/easyazon-link]. There are also other backup storage options available, including online backup.
How to Format a Windows XP Computer – Find the system disc
Next is to make sure you have a system disk that came with your computer for display drivers, LAN drivers, USB, audio etc. If you do not have this there is a program called Driver Robot which find your drivers for you after you have formatted windows…It is a lifesaver. Its a must have program and saves you a load of work. Even after it is has found your drivers it will also keep them up to date later on.
If you do not want to spend money you will have to find your computers drivers on the internet and download them manually. Here is where to find drivers. Drivers are one of the most important tiny bits of software that will make your computer run like its meant to.
Ok, enough lecturing, lets move on to how to format windows xp.
Warning: Formatting a hard drive will wipe everything off your computer. When you format Windows XP all of your files will be gone and it will be like a new computer. All your e-mail contacts, all your saved webpages, all your documents that you may, will be gone! if this is your first time to format a computer I suggest you get a friend that has done this before to help you. This is not rocket science, but pressing the wrong button can turn into a disaster. I do not mean to scare you off, but when you format a computer, it must be done right.
If you have tried all options, including trying to repair Windows with the operating system disc, then we can proceed to formatting the computer.
How to Format Windows XP Using a Windows XP Disc
Okay guys let’s learn how to format windows xp. But calm down and take your time. To learn how to format a computer is a matter of being patient! This is the best advice I can give you.
1. First you must put your Windows XP CD in the drive.
2. Then restart your computer.
3. When it says press any key to boot from cd, Press any key on the keyboard. I use the space bar, easy to get to. (If you can do this Go to step 6)
4. If it doesn’t ask you to press any key to boot from cd then restart your computer again.
5. Go into the BIOS settings of your PC, usually by pressing the F1, F2, F10, or maybe the delete key. If you are not sure watch the screen at startup and it will say “To enter setup press…….”. You have to be quick and press it. If you miss it restart again. Once you are in the bios you have to change the boot options. You have to make your cd rom the first boot option. Save and exit. If you do not understand how to get into your BIOS please see how to get into your BIOS and change settings.
6. When the CD starts up A blue screen will appear and you are on your way..
7. Press Enter to setup Windows XP now. See screen shot above. Do not rush through this process as pressing the wrong key here can take you down the wrong road. You should take your time when its your first time learning how to format a computer using windows xp.
8. If there is a copy of Windows XP on your computer and you wish to overwrite it you will have to press the escape button when prompted. (screen shot below) Do not install Windows XP in another directory unless you know what you are doing. Just overwrite the previous version as you should have backed up your files anyway. In this example I am showing you how to format a computer that has already had Windows installed on it.
9. You should now make the partition that had windows on it blue and press D to delete the partition. It will ask if you are sure.
10. Press L to confirm. More details on deleting partitions.
11. Then Press C to create another partition and Windows will estimate a size for you. If you wanted to partition your hard drive into two equal parts you would have to do some math’s and then type the appropriate number in. Otherwise just going with what Windows puts there will be the minimum partition size. If you make a mistake when estimating the size of a partition you can simply go back now and delete the partition and start again. Do not move forward if you have made a mistake.
12. Press Enter to confirm size.
13. Then it will ask you which partition you want to install Windows on. The default is C: drive. Select this by making it blue and press enter. If there are no partitions it will create one for you.
14. Then it will ask you to format quick, normal, in fat32 or NTFS. Fat32 suits older computers so I choose a quick format with NTFS. Quick or Slow is fine. If you had errors it is better to use a slow format which can also be known as a low level format. When you format a computer please note that a low level format can take a long time, depending on what size hard drive you have.
15. From now on you just Follow the prompts and let it go..the process of formatting your computer is on its way. Some setup files will be taken from the Windows CD onto your computer to complete this process.
16. The computer will restart and it will try to boot from cd again…Do not press anything on the keyboard.. Just let it go through the stages of setup. You only press the ANY KEY at the start to get it to boot to the Windows XP cd.
17. Make sure you have your serial number ready to enter in. This can be found on your coa sticker which is a sticker usually put on the side of your computer.
18. Do not remove the Windows XP CD until the computer has started up with a new desktop and icons.
Now the next process begins.. Installing your device drivers for your computer. See What are Device Drivers and why do I need them for my computer?
BIOS How to get there and change settings
Notes on how to format windows xp
- Follow the instructions carefully to learn how to format a computer. Once you have done this a few times, you will see how easy it is. the problem is that many people think it is easy and that it is OK to make mistakes when formatting a computer. It is not Ok to make a mistake when you format Windows Xp. This is a critical time and errors can cause a disaster.
- Learning how to format a computer using Windows Xp will also help you when formatting a hard drive with Windows Vista and Windows Seven. To format a computer is pretty much the same process, it is just some set out with a different design.
- The only way to learn how to format windows xp is to try it yourself but take your time. Do not format a new computer if it is under guarantee as you will void your warranty.
- Be very careful not to make mistakes as restarting this process over and over can corrupt your computer. If you do make a mistake, try pressing the escape button as it can sometimes take you back to the previous screen.
- If you cannot proceed through the format process, maybe you did not delete the old partition?
- If there is more than one partition on your hard drive you can just format the one that has the previous version of Windows on it. That way the data on the other partition will be safe.
- After errors and viruses have been found on your computer, you should format a computer on on low level format , and not a quick format.
- You can also go to the Microsoft website for more information on how to format windows xp. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/313348 You can get all the information from this site, however it can be very confusing for most people, including me!!!
I hope this tutorial helps you learn how to format windows xp. Please take your time as learning how to format a computer looks like an easy task but mistakes can happen.