Posted on 1998-09-03
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I tried to reformat my computer because my computer is so messed up... but my attempts are failures.  One of the major problem is that I can't even get the CD-Rom working in real mode even though I install the CD-Rom driver.

any suggestions?  can you provide a step-by-step guide on how to reformat a computer?  
Question by:AH64_Apache
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Accepted Solution

tgrey earned 100 total points
ID: 1124384
2. Create a boot disk.  You can issue the following command from a command prompt:
This will format the floppy and make the disk bootable (System).
3. Put FDISK.EXE, FORMAT.COM, MSCDEX.EXE and your CD-ROM driver file (????????.SYS) on the floppy.
4. Create basic AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files on the floppy.  The CONFIG.SYS should include DEVICE= for your CD-ROM driver, which will take the format DEVICE=MYCD.SYS /D:MSCD0001.  AUTOEXEC.BAT should include MSCDEX /D:MSCD0001. I strongly recommend leaving the drive and path info off the commands, since the files will all be in the root of the A: drive.  This will simplify things later.
5. BOOT FROM THE FLOPPY AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING WORKS! After doing the above, booting from the floppy should take you to a command prompt, and the CD-ROM drive should have a drive letter. If you CD-ROM drive was working before, this should be no problem. MSCDEX will report the assigned drive letter if it was successful.  It is also a good idea at this stage to put a data CD in the drive and make sure you can access it, just in case.
6. When you are sure you are ready to erase your hard drive, you can re-partition it if necessary.  If you have been having odd problems, scrambled files, etc., I would recommend this step. THIS WILL ERASE ALL DATA ON YOUR DRIVE!!! To re-partition the drive, run FDISK from the floppy.  You will first need to delete the existing partition, the create a new partition.  If you have multiple drives, make sure you are using the correct drive.  If you have a drive larger than the supported partition max, or due to preference, you may have had multiple partitions set up. If this is the case, you will need to delete logical drives and extended partitions before you delete the primary partition.
7. When you have completed the re-partition (if applicable), re-boot your computer WITH THE FLOPPY.
8. Format the hard drive, and make it bootable.  Use FORMAT C: /S to accomplish this.
9. Copy AUTOEXEC.BAT, CONFIG.SYS, MSCDEX.EXE, and your CD-ROM driver to the root of the hard drive, for now.
10. Re-boot, and you should be working, with the CD-ROM available just as it was when you booted from the floppy.

If you still have questions, let me know.

Author Comment

ID: 1124385
I am stuck...

can you explain more about step 4 please since I am not a computer genius?  

thanks!  :-)

Expert Comment

ID: 1124386
I usually start out with the autoexec.bat and config.sys files that are in the root directory on the hard drive (c:\), since they will generally have the appropriate lines which load the CD-ROM drivers.  So, you can copy these files to the floppy, then edit them.  Or you can create the files from scratch.  Either way, open up a text editor (Notepad in Windows works fine).  The only line you need in the file which you should save as CONFIG.SYS on the floppy is as follows:
DEVICE=drivername.SYS /D:MSCD0001
Replace "drivername" above with the specific name of your CD-ROM driver file, which again will presumably be referenced in the original config.sys file on the hard drive.  Everything else should be typed as I have indicated.  The /D parameter provides a name for MSCDEX.  So, following similar steps as above, create or edit the AUTOEXEC.BAT file on the floppy with Notepad, again with only one line as follows:
This will simply run MSCDEX with the parameter which names your CD-ROM driver loaded in config.sys with the same parameter.

Note that I have not referenced the files as A:\MSCDEX.EXE or C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE.  This is because the files will be located in the root directory of the floppy, and so the path isn't needed.  Also, it simplifies things when we format the hard drive, as we can simply copy everything from the floppy to the hard drive, and boot with the same results.

Note that some CD-ROM drives require other parameters.  If the above appears to work (a drive letter is assigned), but you can't actually read from the drive, then a parameter may be required.  Let me know and I can point you in that direction.

Of course, if you have the installation disk that came with the CD-ROM drive, you may not have to do any of the above.  Simply follow the other steps to get to the point where your hard drive will boot itself to a command prompt, then run the setup program from the floppy that came with your CD-ROM drive (likely INSTALL.EXE).

I hope that has helped to clarify the situation, but if you still need more information in a particular area, just let me know and I'll provide more details.

Tim Grey


Author Comment

ID: 1124387
I used Notepad to open config.sys and autoexec.bat and it reads:


rem ---------------------- MTM ATAPI CD-ROM ----------------------
rem ---------------------- MTM ATAPI CD-ROM ----------------------
device=C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\display.sys con=(ega,,1)


rem ---------------------- MTM ATAPI CD-ROM ----------------------
rem ---------------------- MTM ATAPI CD-ROM ----------------------
rem - By Windows 95 Network - C:\WINDOWS\net initialize
rem - By Windows 95 Network - C:\WINDOWS\msdlc.exe
rem - By Windows 95 Network - C:\WINDOWS\net start
rem - by Windows 95 MSDLC - net start

SET BLASTER=A240 I5 D3 H7 P300 E640 T6
rem ---------------------- MTM ATAPI CD-ROM ----------------------
rem - By Windows Setup - C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MTMIDE01 /M:10
rem ---------------------- MTM ATAPI CD-ROM ----------------------
mode con codepage prepare=((850) C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ega.cpi)
mode con codepage select=850

How would you change the lines?  Is there any other lines that have to be edited?  

and sorry I haven't update for a long time because of my camping trip on the weekend... :-)

Expert Comment

ID: 1124388
OK... The only line you will need in your CONFIG.SYS file when you reformat is as follows:
Note that I have removed the path info since the device driver will be in the root directory on the floppy and the reformated hard drive if you follow my directions.  Don't forget to copy the MTMCDAI.SYS file to the floppy, as per my prior instructions.

The only line in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file will then be:
Again, the path information is removed, and be sure to copy MSCDEX.EXE to the floppy.

With the above explained CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files, along with MTMCDAI.SYS and MSCDEX.EXE, when you boot from the floppy you should have access to the CD-ROM drive.  After you partition (if necessary) and reformat the hard drive, just copy those four files to the hard drive, boot, and you should be all set.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


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