cant reformat corrupted laptop HDD

By maggielou43 ·
RE-installed windows XP on my laptop using a new HDD. formatted the new HDD with no partitions. Very old XP installation disc but installation went ok, but due to the age of the disc I had lots of issues to deal with. One issue was the Disk letters. The HDD was showing a drive letter E:) instead of of C)
plus there was a removeable drive on screen with the Drive letter C:) This drive is actually non exsistent and I think it appeared because the old pc mobo had a CD only, while the laptop mobo has a DVD-RW. (correct letter ) on this) Anyway basically the OS worked fine and gave me a good learning process with lots of issues to resolve. Finally I went into the registry to correct the disk letters. Changed the primary drive from E to C. Checked the procedure several time after each step then exited. Whoops, forgot to change the non exsistent removeable drive letter from C:) to F. Result even when I try to reinstall windows, it boots up fine, loads the files and then tries to install them on the "removeable disc drive E)" It does not crash, it goes through the memory building process and then the screen comes up with a dark blue background with a lighter blue panel on top and the windowsXP logo. No access to start or cmd or anything else. Solution is to reformat the drive but I cant do this without a windows OS. Is there a utility that I could use to format the drive during boot before windows kicks in. Could I change anything in the bios that would help, I got into cmd once via the recovery page on the bios but did not know enough cmd language to be effective. Its obviously not even possible to use another laptop because as soon as the HDD goes into operation the same thing will happen. I am currently using my desktop pc. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. thank you.

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sorry error on original submission. Should read.

by maggielou43 In reply to cant reformat corrupted l ...

This paragraph should read as follows:

Result even when I try to reinstall windows, it boots up fine, loads the files and then tries to install them on the "removeable disc drive C:) It does not crash, it goes through the memory building process etc.

Sorry my post would have been even more confusing with this error. Just thought !!!. The OS is choosing to install on the (non existence)) removeable drive C:) instead of the correct HDD also C:) Is there any way I can use the BIOS to force windows to use the correct drive. Just bought this HDD and really dont want to have to throw it away. Thanks for time

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What you did wrong is to allow the installation to continue

by OH Smeg Moderator In reply to cant reformat corrupted l ...

After the Format. That makes the Formatted Drive anything but the C Drive and Generally speaking Windows doesn't react well to not being on the C Drive.

When you restart the machine again with the XP installation Disc in the Optical Drive press Any Key when prompted to restart the Install and reinstall XP which this time will be on the C Drive. If you have messed things up so badly that this doesn't work you'll need to wipe the HDD start the install again and after the Format is finished restart the install.


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some thoughts

by Neon Zeon In reply to cant reformat corrupted l ...

I certainly under stand wanting to breath new life into an older viable laptop, ( recently put windows 7 on an IBM R51 Thinkpad). Assunimg yo have only one HHD and one DVD/CD and that bthey are recognized properly in the BIOS I'm at a loss to know why you have the drive letter assifgnment issues. Check in BIOS to confirm status, obvious any discrepancy there will lead to other issues cropping up in the install. If there is one HHD with a single partition, and one DVD Windows should correctly identify and assign drive letter in a normal manner, typically HHD = C, DVD = D, with Windows installed to C. If I had a machine with this list of issues I'd start over, I wouldn't want a PC to begin a new life with that manyu fixes and registry edits that soon. As to the age of the media. Any other install disk of the appropriate OS is OK to use, as long as you have the correct Windows key, (ie the one that came with and was used in the original install). If you have another copy from another PC or can borrow one, use it. I've done this many times. I have even used newer install disks which have one or more of the service packs included, even using my own slipstreamed disks so as to avoid having to add them later. Go through install with other media (less headaches ), and then use the correct Windows key when appropriate. Good Luck.

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Installing Windows XP

by pcrx_greg In reply to cant reformat corrupted l ...

The secret to installing Windows XP on the correct drive, is to make sure that you delete all the partitions on the hard drive at the beginning and then repartition and format the drive before installing Windows. If you Partition the hard drive at the beginning it should automatically assign C: as the drive letter for the hard drive. If it does not, you are stuck with whatever drive letter that it assigns to the drive. It will read the install drive as that drive letter and it is VERY difficult to change the drive letter because it is saved in the registry in thousands of entries.

Good Luck

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Do you have a card reader?

by gechurch In reply to cant reformat corrupted l ...

The formatting part is easy. Boot from your Windows disc again. At the point where you get asked where to install Windows you can press a key (L from memory) to format the drive.

Windows ending up as something other than C is a bigger concern. I've only ever seen this when a card reader was plugged in to the machine. (I've installed XP certainly over 100 times and I've never seen a CD drive or extra partitions cause Windows to be installed on a drive other than C:). This is a real pain in the butt. It looks fine and will tell you the HDD is drive C: until you do the first boot after installation and find it has assigned the card reader slots C:, etc and your new Windows installation is on H: or something stupid. You are right to reformat in this situation. Windows is happy enough running from something other than C:, but a lot of third party apps have the drive letter hard-coded. I spent ages trying to change the letter back to C: when I first ran into this problem. I'd go further than pcrx_greg and say it's not just difficult to change - it's impossible.

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