How To Format a Computer Using a Windows XP disc

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 the hard drive in your computer. Sometimes you need to format your computer to ultra clean your computer. It makes it faster, new looking and gets rid of errors and viruses.
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.
However before you do format a computer you should backup your data. Some things to backup include: photos, my documents, favourites folder, emails, all contacts, passwords and more….Go and check out my backup list.
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…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 alos 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.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 formatting Windows Xp.

How to Format a computer using a Windows XP disc

  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.
  6. A blue screen will appear and you are on your way..
format Winodws XP
  1. Press Enter to setup Windows XP now. See screenshot above.
  2. 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. (screenshot 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 data anyway.
Format Windows XP cd
  1. 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. Press L to confirm. More details on deleting partitions.
  2. 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.
  3. Press Enter to confirm size.
  4. 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.
  5. If there are no partitions it will create one for you.
  6. 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.
  7. From now on you just Follow the prompts and let it go..
  8. 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.
  9. Make sure you have your serial number ready to enter in. This can be found on your coa certificate which is a sticker usually put on the side of your computer.
  10. 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. 
  • Follow the instructions carefully. Once you have done this a few times, you will see how easy it is.
  • The only way to learn is to try it yourself.
  • 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. You can get all the information from this site, however it can be very confusing for most people, including me!!!


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