Format Windows XP

how to format and install windows xpThis explains step-by-step how to format hard drive partition using the Windows XP installation CD.

Before you continue, make sure you have backup of all documents you may need that are saved in C:, My Documents folder or your desktop.

Tip: Click the images to enlarge.

  • Step 1- Installation CD Insert your Windows XP installation disc into your CD or DVD drive.
  • Step 2 – Restart your computer and start Windows setup using Microsoft Windows bootable XP disk
  • Restart your computer. As you computer boots, a screen with message “Press any key to boot from CD..” will show up counting from 9 to 0, here you need to press any key to start the setup. Note: If your computer doesn’t display the “Press any key to boot from CD..” message (by default it should), check your motherboard manual for info where to enable the “Boot from CD” setting, after you enable “Boot from CD” option from your BIOS, the message will show.
  • Step 3 – System Loading

    After you enter the setup, the CD will load up a blue screen and will start loading operating system files (this make take few minutes). When it finishes, it will list a few options, “Press ENTER to set up Windows XP now” is the one we need. Click it.

  • Step 4 – Accept Windows usage agreement

    Second screen is “The windows usage agreement”. It should be displayed now, showing that you need to press F8 to accept the agreement. Press F8 to accept. How to format a computer

  • Step 5 – Setup start

    If an existing Windows XP installation is detected by the system, you are prompted to repair it. We will bypass this step

  • Step 6 – Delete old partition and format

    At this point you need to select the partition where you prefer to install Windows Xp. This is where you will delete your partition and format drive C. The box in the lower half of the screen shows all your drives and the partitions that currently exist on your hard disk. Use the Up and Down Arrow keys to highlight/select your “C:” partition and press the “D” key (pic 6.1). On the next screen press the ‘L’ key (pic 6.2) to confirm that you want to delete partition “C:”, and finalize the deleting of the partition. (if you have only “Unpartitioned space” and you have no C: or D: partitions, skip this step) How to format a computer

  • Step 7 – Create installation partition

    Now you should be back on the screen prompted to choose where to install Windows. The box on the lower half of the screen should no longer show a partition, instead of “C:” you should see “Unpartitioned space xxxxxMB”. Select/highlight this with the arrow keys and press the “C” key to create a partition on the drive (this is where you will install windows). Now setup tells you the minimum and maximum sizes the partition can use and lets you pick the size. The default size is the maximum available, leave the default value and press Enter.

  • Step 8 – Format the computer (the hard disk)

    This screen lets you choose the file system you prefer the drive to be formatted with. Choose NTFS “Quick” (recommended because NTFS is faster and more secure). Use the arrow keys to select and hit Enter. How to format a computer

  • Step 9 – Start Windows XP Setup Setup will start to and will auto-format the “C:” partition, and start with Windows XP installation. From here you are all set and the installation of Windows will proceed. This will take a while. The computer will reboot several times, and will continue with installation. Don’t remove the Windows XP setup CD, and don’t press a key when prompted (we already did that).

45 thoughts on “Format Windows XP”

  1. This is the best XP installation tutorial I’ve seen. Beats the hell out of anything M$FT has done.

  2. yes i might be learn with your tutorial, but i wonder how to execute on how to located the BIOS i think, where it could boot for cd/dvd. can u show me also the turorial about that? will i thank you for your computer formating tutorial…

  3. The fastest way to locate the Boot from CD option, is to go into and search for – your motherboard model and add bios boot from cd
    Or you can try to press F2 (sometimes F8) at the second boot load screen – right after the computer stars and finished showing computer hardware details ( cpu, ram etc)

  4. This is very useful instruction for me to format my computer attached with video so i am very thankful for this process.

  5. i format my pc with windows xp original but i insert local windows xp cd and my license key is window xp can be come original or not ? i can doing like this or not?

  6. This is very useful instruction for me to format my computer attached with video so I am very thankful for this process.

    I hope you will give us new techniwues also.

  7. Thanks for the laptop(samsung) cannot boot from the cd when the cd is inserted it gives message “insert cd to the drive”

  8. Im there “Setup is formatting… 93%”
    And it crushed. I have already tried different XP CD-s, but nothing helped. All the time same thing, it goes to 93% and then it will crush.. or idk what its doing. What should i do? PC is just laying and waiting for the bitter end!

    Sorry for my faulty English!

  9. Most probably your hard disk has bad sectors. If you have other PC/some friend perhaps. Do a google search for repair bad sectors on hard drive.

    Note: The process is very long, can take up to 24hours

  10. i format my computer with windows XP ….until page setup windows the keyboard cannot detected…please help solve this problem

  11. i already done all step that u gave.. when i already insert the disc and restart it, ‘press any key to boot from cd’ doesnt appeared..i already put cd rom as my first boot devices.. when i try it again, it just appear checking all bios info

  12. Possible solutions:
    1. Recheck to make sure that your CD/DVD Device is First boot device (maybe you have 2 drives – switch cd to the another drive)
    2. Your CD is damaged, try with another CD

  13. if i was to reformat my computer with the disc using your instructions will i lose my photos and files that i already have

  14. I see that you posted how to format computer but you didn’t said what people should do before getting to computer format . If they have any problem like blue screen because of a power failure they need to enter the console and do chkdsk c: ( or the letter you have windows installed). Ans also if they have a virus or something and can’t remove it they should backup their data ( i suggest a software like Dmailer BackUp Software ) and after that go the the format process

  15. @Johnny This is tutorial for reinstalling windows xp, not for repairing PC. Thank you for the suggestion.

  16. thanks………….
    but i want to know is there anything we need to do after installin xp????

  17. THank you, thank you, thank you. A straight-forward website with REAL step by step instructions for non-techie people. Much appreciated!!!

  18. i’m following the steps but it keeps getting stuck at Step 9. i tried once using the NTFS Quick and it stuck at 20% for hours. next time it stuck at 0%. have you seen this before? help!

  19. Hi, I have 6 partitions on my Hard Drive(C,D,E,F,G & H), and windows XP installed in C Drive. I have 12GB of total space in my C Drive. I want to reinstall windows XP with Service pack 3. Along with reinstalling windows XP I also want to increase the Space of my C Drive. So I want to format only C & D drives.
    As per above Tutorial step 6 & 7, I want to delete both C & D drives and from Unpartitioned spaced I want to reallocate space for C drive as 20 GB (before it was 12GB) and remaining unpartitioned space for D drive and other Drives E,F,G&H remained untouched and follow the remaining installation as per steps 8, 9..
    1) Is this type of re-installation is correct?
    2) will this type of installation delete any data from other partitions(E,F,G,&H), as iam deleting D also along with C?
    3) As im deleting both C & D but not E,F,G,&H will this type of installation show any error? Or any Formatting Error? or Loss of data other than C & D drives? (C is primary partition & D,E,F,G,&H are extended partitions)

    Please need your suggestions.

  20. Hello Vt.
    You can delete C & D drives and recreate partitions, other drives won’t be affected (E,F,G,&H) and you won’t loose the data stored there.
    1. Yes, it’s correct.
    2. No other partitions will be deleted. If you merge C & D drives (deleted the partitions and recreate one C partition), E will become D, F will become E and so on, but data wont be lost.
    3. You should not get any errors, as you are only merging partitions. C will be set to primary partition again automatically by Windows XP setup.

  21. @cyb3rs…Thanks a lot for your reply…

    (With reference the same topic above)

    In the 6 Drives (C, D, E, F, G & H) while installing I want to delete only C & D drives. C drive is 12 Gb and D drive is 40GB. I will get the unpartitioned space of 52 GB. In that 52GB I want to repartition C drive with 20GB and D drive with remaining 32GB (but Im not completely removing D drive fully) But other drives E, F, G & H will remain unchanged.

    1) In this case after Deleting both C Drive(12GB) & D drive(40GB), will I get the unpartitioned space of 52 GB? (As C is the Primary Drive & D is part of extended partitions)

    2) After deleting C(12GB) & D(40GB) drives. Is it possible to recreate C & D drives with 20GB & 32GB. with effecting other Drives(E,F,G,H)

    3) After deleting Both C & D drives, will the E, F, G & H Drives will convert to C, D, E & F respectively Or E, F, G & H remains as it is?

    4) Instead of Deleting C & D drives, Is it better to delete C & H Drives. ( as I want to allocate some additional space to C drive from any other Drive so which option is better Deleting, C & D drives or C & H drives and Also want to recreate both the drives)

    Thanks in advance

  22. Is it good to use Partition magic software to resize the space of C & D drives.

    Is using Partition magic software to repartition Drives is same as using Windows XP setup & install.

  23. Vt

    Go with deleting C & D drives and recreating them. You will have the option to customize the partition size at “Step 7 – Create installation partition”. Insert 20GB for C and redo the step for unpartitioned space and create drive D. I also suggest you to use C & D partitions and not C & H. All other drives will remain as they are since you will again have C & D.

  24. Partition magic will do the same thing, but since you format your PC, make it clean install. Use partition magic if you can’t back up your data from C & D before the format (not enough space or for some other reason)

  25. Thank you so much! I am a 51 year old woman who is a bit “technologically challenged” and my children are amazed that I just reformatted my own computer. I couldn’t have done it without you. Your directions were clear and concise. I appreciate the help!

  26. THank you, thank you, thank you. A straight-forward website with REAL step by step instructions for non-techie people. Much appreciated!!!

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