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formatting a comp

by canadianjeepgirl / December 15, 2004 6:11 AM PST

can someone plz tell me is there a program somewhere around that explains how to format a computer from start to finish. I have windows 98se and everytime I have a problem I have to get a friend over to do it on his time, when in fact if I knew I wouldnt hve to bother him. Thanks so very much

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here's how...print it out
by TONI H / December 15, 2004 6:44 AM PST
In reply to: formatting a comp

If you have a restore/recovery disk and Master cd from your vendor for your type of computer and if you haven't changed any of the hardware since you bought it new, you should use those disk to do what you want...otherwise, follow the directions below (do the first couple of steps anyhow even if you do have the restore/recovery/Master disk setup).


Save to disk (floppy, zip drive, or cd if you have a cdrw) all files that you want to be able to restore later on. Email messages, address book, data you have personally created, zip downloads so you don't have to hunt for them again, mp3 files you may have downloaded, etc. Go through your C: drive folder by folder in Explorer to make sure you don't forget anything. Any programs you have installation disks don't worry about because you will have to reinstall them again anyhow. Make sure you have the correct info in Dial Up Networking for your ISP icon written down somewhere so you can get back on the net, too. NOTE: If you have a website, make sure you save that as well.

Do you have a bootdisk that gives you access to the cdrom in order to reinstall if your version comes on CD? If not, then follow the directions below (follow them anyhow even if you have floppy disks for your W95 and Office program)

Use the boot disk for the operating system you want to put on the harddrive (if you need one that gives you cdrom support go to or and download one now and make sure you get the right version for the windows that you will be putting on the harddrive and then extract that file to a temporary folder on your harddrive somewhere, read the readme file to know how to create the disk, then put a floppy disk into the drive and follow the instructions from the readme file to get your disk made. If you downloaded the bootdisk and it's an .exe file, you can just click it and it will start to create the bootdisk for you automatically. Also, when you use the bootdisk you downloaded, it will default to being the R: drive for the cdrom, but this is only temporary until you reach the windows desktop.

To check for your version windows, go to Control Panel\System and under your Registered Owner name, you will see some numbers. If the number is 4-00-950 with no letter or the letter "A" after it, you have W95A. If the number is 4-00-950 with a letter "B" or "C" after it, you have version W95B or W95C and will get the W95B bootdisk. If you have Win98 or WinME or Win2K or WinXP, this is an obvious choice for you from the site.

One last piece of advice regarding bootdisks before you format the drive.....go NOW to Add\Remove Programs\Startup Disk and create two more bootdisks (have your windows cd handy because it will ask for it). I've seen bootdisks go bad for no apparent reason when you least expect it, so make sure you have a couple of them handy just in case. Don't try to make a copy of the one you have using the A: drive copy command because the copy won't work at all since there are hidden and system files on it and they don't copy have to make the new bootdisks from the Startup Disk tab. However, this will <B>NOT</B> work with W95 because the StartupDisk tab won't give you cdrom support so you will have to download a bootdisk for it instead.

NOTE: Although you don't need to use FDISK just to FORMAT the drive, I put this information here so that you will have it for your bootdisk for future use ahead of time.

Also, for W98, if you create the bootdisk from within windows, you will need to go here to download the newest version of FDISK.EXE then copy it to the bootdisk, allowing it to overwrite the older version. This way you will have support for larger harddrives.


Why does FDISK not recognize my disk (or RAID array) which is larger than 64GB?

There is a bug in Microsoft's FDISK under Windows 95B, 98 and 98SE that can be corrected by downloading a newer version. See Knowledge Base Article Q263044 for more information.

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Rats. . .
by Coryphaeus / December 15, 2004 6:50 AM PST

While I was looking for your answer, you got here ahead of me. I couldn't find it so I typed the short version. Wink

BTW. Is your site running yet?

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Not yet....
by TONI H / December 15, 2004 7:00 AM PST
In reply to: Rats. . .

I've finished cleaning up all the existing pages and corrected links (and trashed old info that doesn't pertain anymore). Now I'm cleaning up what will be new pages and checking those links before adding the pages to the site.

I've been gathering lots of info about setting it up here and trying to understand the ins and outs of the networking part of it with a router (ran into problems trying to use a router before with Starband and hoping for better results this time).


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A friend. . .
by Coryphaeus / December 15, 2004 7:54 AM PST
In reply to: Not yet....

of mine has Dish Network internet. Networking two PCs, one wired one wireless throught a Linksys router. Works great.

Good luck.

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by stuart100 / December 15, 2004 9:28 PM PST

Hi Toni,

not sure if you can help or suggest a way round this problem I have but during a crash recently, scandisk got stuck when trying to re-boot - it totally froze. When trying to then re-boot in safe mode it also froze putting me in a situation now whereby I'm having to use a boot disk but it's telling me there are no paritions on my drive. The only way around this I can see is doing the FDISK approach and re-partioning it however of course, I didn't get chance to save any of my valuble data before it crashed. Can you suggest any way to re-partition to allow the PC to boot from C: as it used to without wiping all data, or a way to access what currently sits on the c:/ drive so I can then save it and re-partition? or can i get around re-partitioning altogether and somehow get back into windows etc, etc.

(I'm running windows ME currently, or was)

any help/advice you could give would be very much appreciated.

Thanks a lot, Stuart.

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by TONI H / December 15, 2004 10:33 PM PST
In reply to: Help!!

If you are using a bootdisk and can get to the A: prompt, type FDISK /STATUS and press Enter....Report all of the information here so we can get a better idea of what may be going on.

Something else you can do after that is to type

FDISK /MBR and press Enter and hopefully that will fix the boot record.

If you still can't get to the main, normal desktop once you do the MBR approach, see if you can get to safemode at this point (press F8 a couple of times immediately after the first black and white bootscreen appears or use the bootdisk to get to the A: prompt, and you will see at the bottom of the screen, the option to get to safemode)

If you can get to safemode, you can do one of two can try to run scandisk there, or you can go to RUN, type MSCONFIG, and in the Advanced area, take the checkmark out of 'scan on boot' or whatever the actual statement says that's similar to that, and click Apply and OK and it will reboot the computer automatically without scandisk running and locking you up. This is NOT a recommendation by any means, but at least it might be a way for you to get back in order to troubleshoot a little bit....and it can always be undone in safemode if it doesn't work.


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In a nutshell. . .
by Coryphaeus / December 15, 2004 6:48 AM PST
In reply to: formatting a comp

It's easy. I'm assuming you have only one partition and you don't want to change it.

Insert the boot floppy into the A: drive and reboot or just turn the PC on. Select large hard drive support and CD support.

At the A:\ prompt type format c:

After it is formatted type sys c:

At the A:\ prompt type setup

Remember!! Any video, sound, modem, etc. drivers will have to be reinstalled. Download them from your PCs web site like Compaq, Dell, HP, etc. and burn them to a CD if you don't already have them. After 98 is installed, install the drivers.

Good luck,

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'How To' From Microsoft
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / December 15, 2004 9:29 AM PST
In reply to: formatting a comp

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