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[Guide] For Formatting your hard drive


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[Guide] For Formatting your hard drive
Published by Dark Star
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Format and Reinstall Windows NT(NT, 2000, XP, and server)

People get angry when their computer gets full of viruses, or gets to be as slow as a snail. One of the most efficient ways to clean up your computer and get rid of viruses, clutter and other things you may not need. You must be warned this is a fairly dangerous process and may cause your computer to not work the same as it did before, but most of the time it will work better than before. One item you must be warned about is that this process guides you on installing the Windows NT series which includes Windows NT4(for the most part, Windows 2000, Windows XP(Home and Pro, and Windows Server. Installing Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows ME, will slightly vary the first portion of this guide. DO NOT continue with the process without reading the essay completely through first, otherwise there is a potential that you may have to start over because you’re not being prepared for a certain step.

The easiest way to prepare for this procedure is to make sure you have all your important documents and data saved. You must then back up your important data either on a blank CD with a CD burner, on a floppy disk, or upload it to an internet web server which can be obtained freely from or You may not want to use the web servers if you have a lot of data to back up or a slow internet connection. Floppy disks are also very small and do not hold much data, therefore a CD will be the best choice to back up your data and files. If you do not have a CD burner, then your next best bet would be a web server if you have over 4 or 5 megabytes of data to back up. If it isn’t more than that, you may be better off to use a floppy disk. Secondary hard drives are also very useful when needing back up space for your data. After you’ve backed up your files, check to make sure you have them all backed up, then double check your files to make sure you have them all backed up and check again, or you will not be happy when the process is over because your files will be gone!
After your data is backed up, you must make sure you have all the CD-ROMS, floppy disks and software that came with your computer, most importantly your system restoration or system resource CD-ROM and your Windows Operating System CD-ROM .If you do not have these discs you should not continue or your computer will go into an unusable state and you will have to wait until you can buy a new operating system from stores like Circuit City or Best Buy. Hardware driver CDs are also needed when the setup process is completed. They will install your expansion cards like your sound card or modem. Most of these are also packed on your System Restoration CD.

When you have those CDs and disks, put your System restoration CD in your top CD-ROM drive. Click on the Start button, point and click on Shut Down. Select Restart in the shut down menu. When your computer restarts, watch the screen for instructions that say to push a certain keystroke or button to access SETUP or BIOS most common are as follows:

Dell Computer Corp. Delete key
Gateway Computer Corp. F1 key
Compaq or HP Computer Corp. F10 key

When you have found your BIOS or SETUP key, press it repeatedly until you have accessed the BIOS menu. Then use the left and right arrow keys on your keyboard to access the boot section in the BIOS main menu. Then use your down arrow until you have highlighted 1st Boot Device press enter and use your arrow keys to highlight ATAPI CDROM. If your computer does not come up with a menu, use the plus and minus keys (+, -) on the keyboard until ATAPI CDROM is in the first device space on your screen. Press F10 (or other key to save changes and Exit). Your computer will now restart.
Your computer will find a boot record on the CD and prompt a message “Press any key to boot from CD…..” You will have 5 seconds to hit any key. After you press a key your computer will bring up a blue screen (aka Text Mode Installation) and at the bottom will be a grey bar with messages for what setup is currently doing. If you are going to be installing any SCSI or RAID drivers watch the screen to tell you to press F6 to install them. If you’re not going to install them just let setup go on. Currently your computer is loading basic device drivers mainly for storage purposes and then it will load the Partitioning and Hard disk management section of the setup. This part should take about 5 minutes so if you need a drink of water or a quick bathroom break now is the time to do so.

When that part is finished setup will give you some quick information on what to do now. If you want to install or upgrade your current Operating System press Enter. To repair your current OS press R and if you want to quit the installation press F3 twice. Next setup will show you the End User Lisence Agreement and you must press F8 to continue. Setup is now searching for other versions of an OS on your hard drive, then it will bring up the partitioning program which allows you to setup your hard disk and use it as a drive. What you do is select your hard drive by using arrow keys and the enter key. Enter how big of a partition you want to make and press enter, select the partition you want to install the Operating System to and press enter, press F to format the drive and select your file system for the drive. Windows will now format your drive and copy basic files to your drive. Please be patient as this can take a while. Allow your computer to restart.

Setup will now enter the GUI mode of the installation. After a few minutes go through the information process, click next. Enter your name and organization. Click next. Enter your Serial number, if you are installing a server or a Professional edition of windows enter your administrator password. Click next Select your time zone and set the time and language on the next screen. Click next. Now if you wait a few moments a screen will pop up asking you to setup your network, if you are not on a network click next until the window goes away. If you are on a network ask your system administrator whether you are on a workgroup or a domain, and enter the specific information, click next. After this setup will continue for anywhere up to another hour and on down to 15 or 20 minutes. After your computer restarts you are ready to install programs and restore your files from your backup.

Once your computer has booted into windows, you will notice that your computer desktop may not look anything like it did the last time you were in windows. THIS IS COMPLETELY NORMAL! What you have just done is erase your entire hard drive and install a fresh version of your Windows Operating System so that it removed most if not all viruses from your computer, it removed all spyware, and along with that it removed all your files and software, which is the reason you backed up all your data before we began the process.
Now you must locate your backed up files. If you put them on a floppy disk, put the floppy disk in the floppy drive and go into the My Computer program which is on the desktop. Double click the 3 1/2 floppy A: drive, press CTRL+A to select all the files, then press CTRL+C to copy the files to the memory. Then go back to the desktop and open the My Documents folder and press CTRL+V to copy the files from your floppy disk to the computer's hard drive, continue this process until all your floppy disks are copied. If you used CD ROMS to back up your data, do the exact same process except instead of accessing the floppy drive you will have to access your CD-ROM drive (usually the D drive). If you used a web server, then you will need to get your access back to the internet like the first time you turned your computer on. I can not tell you how to do this because all connections are different. You will have to call your internet service provider for assistance. Once you get online you must access your web server and download all your files to your computer.
After all your files are copied your computer should be basically back to how it was before except for the software that you have installed. If you need extended support call your computer manufacturer to help you.
If your computer does not seem to be working properly, you may have to ask a neighbor who is an advanced computer user, or a friend for help, or get online assistance. There are many tutorials online that guide users through this process. All are very similar but some may have different ways of performing this task.

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