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Unable to Re-format Drive C:

By queenstownjim ·
Have re-formatted drives on several occassions. Recently, on two different computers, I have wanted to do a re-install of XP. Got error message saying drive could not be formatted because it was in use by some other application. Had no programs open and disabled all firewalls, virus programs, spyware apps, etc. What's my problem?

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by G... In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

Is C: the drive XP is installed on? Then you'll have to reboot from the XP disc. XP doesn't want to format itself. Only in the install process.

If you plan to reinstall it so just do as for a first install. Put the cd in and restart

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by queenstownjim In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

G
Thanks for your response. Actually, I tried that before I posted. Tried both a repair and a new install. Neither worked.

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by TheChas In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

You cannot format the drive that you are actively using.

Boot from the XP CD, and watch the options closely.

At the screen where you choose which drive to install XP to, you have the option to remove the existing partition.
That is the step where you have the option to get rid of your old XP installation, and format the drive for a clean install.

Just make sure that you have any critical files backed up, and that you have your product key in hand before you format.

Chas

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

If you are booting from the install XP CD it has to work as that is the only thing running at the time. Once you allow XP to start off the HDD it allows files to become active and Will Not allow you to format the drive in question be that a actual drive or a partition.

But with the install CD used to boot from it has to make it possible to reformat a drive even a compressed drive there is just no way around this as it allows you to totally format up the drive/partition that you are planing to install XP onto but you will be told that you are about to delete a drive/partition and you'll loose all your data do you wish to proceed and if you chose no it will not format up that particular drive which is what the install CD sees.

When all else fails you always have the option to boot from a floppy and either use the FDISK utility to remove the drives partition/s or you can run a wiping utility that writes zeros to every sector which I personally find better as the format option only writes to every third sector leaving 2 out of 3 sectors untouched so if you had an infection present requiring the deletion of the drive contents it can return on the new install. This is much more common with the Quick Format option available with the XP installer.

If you have several copies of Windows or any OS for that matter and you try to format the C drive/Partition from within Windows this will not be allowed as there are some files written to that partition/drive that point out where Windows is actually loaded so you can not either change its drive letter or format it.

Col

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by bluenose5709 In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

First thing first is to ensure that you have all your important files backed up on something other than your PC (CD-ROM would be good) then download a copy of Kill Disk from www.killdisk.com put this onto a floppy and then re-boot your PC, the machine will then read form the floppy disk and wipe the C completely. this information is unrecovearable so ensure that you want to wipe it before you use the kill disk.

Once finished (this will take around 5 - 10 seconds) then remove the floppy disk and insert your Windows XP Cd-rom and restart the computer.

The Computer will then start an install process and guide you through the remainder of hte process.

At the end of which you will have a computer with a frswh install of WIn XP and nothing else.

Bev

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by queenstownjim In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

For Chas, Hal 2000 and Bev:

Many thanks for your responses. Hope to be able to work on this by Tues or Wed. Will let you know how it works out.

Jim

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by queenstownjim In reply to Unable to Re-format Drive ...

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