I feel STUPID for asking this but....

Posted on 2003-03-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-25
HOW ON EARTH do you simply format a typical newer model Dell computer. I haven't had to format c: in a very long time. Now when I try to boot to command prompt windows doesn't let me format. I can't, for the life of me, get to a "normal" command prompt to excute this command.  When I use the dell OS disk, it just writes over the prexisting OS and keeps all of the BS that was on the computer BEFORE!!! Please help.
Question by:christovas
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Accepted Solution

kenny240179 earned 2000 total points
ID: 8180098
what os are u using.
best thing to do is get ur hands on a win98 se boot disk if you are using win98 to make one of these just go into control panels
then add and remove programs
then boot disk builder
and the click on create
if you use a differnt os its a bit of a pain.
because win nt and win2000 use 4 boot disks and boot u to a command window which again will let u format  c: but will take ages.
so i recommend getting to a machine with a win98 os on it and make urself a boot disk then boot up and simply type format c: for the a: prompt

Expert Comment

ID: 8180361
You need to create a boot disk.  You can do so in Win98/WinME.  Or, you need a blank floppy disc with "command.com", "msdos.sys", and "io.sys" on it.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 8180403
I guarantee this process will get rid of whatever you want to destroy.

Download a boot disk from www.bootdisk.com and boot on it
FDISK /mbr
FDISK and remove the partition(s)
recreate the partition(s)
Reboot on the boot disk

FDISK /mbr rewrites the boot sector of your hard drive.  This is good just in case you may have some boot sector corruption due to virus or some other foe.
Removing the partition(s) is option 3 in FDISK I believe.  this guarantees that you will not have any leftovers from the old installation.
Recreating the partitions is option 1.  You should be able to only create one partition and make sure you chose large disk support when you started FDISK if you have a drive larger than 2G.
FORMAT C: formats the drive as you already know.  There is no need to put /s on it since that will be taken care of by the 98 installation.
You create a CABS directory on your hard drive and put the installation files there for faster and easier installation.  It is also quite easier when you need to add hardware or make config changes.
SETUP starts the Win98 installation.


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Expert Comment

ID: 8180986
Dang slink9, thought I might be on for easy points there, course could just do what everyone else does and duplicate your post ...! Och, well.

LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 8181088
I do the duplication thing myself if given the opportunity.  This is my creation, I will claim this one.  You are welcome to use it if you get in before me and the answer applies, though.  I know CrazyOne has missed out on plenty when I and others have posted his links lists.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 8181460
slink9 is right, I always start with a 98 bootdisk (no matter what OS i'm installing) from bootdisk.com (because i always loose them).

If you aren't installing win98, then the cabs will be in a different directory ([95=win95], [nt, 2000, xp=I386]).

MBR stands for Master Boot Record and can also be taken up by any boot managers that might have been on the machine (like LILO from linux or several other multy boot loaders).

Format.exe isn't on the win98 bootdisk, if you are installing windows from the 98 cd, you can change to the win98 directory on the cd and run format from there.

Expert Comment

ID: 8181712
talk about trying to make easy things sound difficult lads.
no need to delete partitions
no need for fdisk
read the problem
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 8182292
Not absolutely necessary, but a good extra step to make sure EVERYTHING is gone.
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 8183947
Kenny, your solution is not enough. The windows 98SE bootdisk DOES NOT CONTAIN FORMAT.EXE

 Volume in drive A is BOOT98SE
 Volume Serial Number is 18E6-3915

 Directory of A:\

04/23/1999  10:22 PM             1,103 AUTOEXEC.BAT
04/23/1999  10:22 PM               629 CONFIG.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM             1,416 SETRAMD.BAT
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            14,764 README.TXT
04/23/1999  10:22 PM             6,855 FINDRAMD.EXE
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            12,663 RAMDRIVE.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            14,386 ASPI4DOS.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            21,971 BTCDROM.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            29,620 ASPICD.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            30,955 BTDOSM.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            35,330 ASPI2DOS.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            37,564 ASPI8DOS.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            40,792 ASPI8U2.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            64,425 FLASHPT.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            93,242 EXTRACT.EXE
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            63,916 FDISK.EXE
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            68,871 DRVSPACE.BIN
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            93,890 COMMAND.COM
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            33,191 HIMEM.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM            41,302 OAKCDROM.SYS
04/23/1999  10:22 PM           272,206 EBD.CAB
              21 File(s)        979,091 bytes
               0 Dir(s)         250,368 bytes free

He will need a 98 CD or he can copy format.exe to the floppy from a current 98 installation.

No, you don't HAVE to repartition the HD before formatting, but it doesn't hurt.

Here is a page with more detailed instructions:
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 8184017
I got into a BIG argument about FDISKing the computer with another user.  I guess that is one of the leave it on/flip it off type discussions where both options are right.  There are positives and negatives on both sides.

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