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wiping hard drive??????

Discussion in 'Computer Components' started by blahblah, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. blahblah

    blahblah
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    I'm not that clever with P.C's and I seem to have built up loads of rubbish over the last couple of years. I was reading somewhere that its a good idea occassionally to wipe the hard drive and start again. Is this a good idea and if so, how do i do it? I don't really have anything stored on the pc that i need to save apart from my favourites and email addresses which I can copy. Any ideas?????
     
  2. KraGorn

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    "Wiping the disk" usually means re-installing Windows from the original CD, reformatting C: at the start of the process.

    As the phrase implies, the entire contents of C: are deleted, gone for good .. but not any other disks or partitions .. and a new, fresh copy of Windows is installed.

    You then have to (a) patch it with all the plethora of patches and updates since it was released, (b) reconfigure your monitor, sound cards etc. where Windows defaults are not what you had before and (c) re-install all the software you have.

    Without a second disk or another partition on the same disk you can't do this .. ie. if you only have a C: hard disk you can't reinstall without losing EVERYTHING that you havn't copied to CD/DVD/floppy/network.

    Can provide a lot more details, not sure how much you want to know. :)
     
  3. blahblah

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    Would like to know more if you dont mind bearing in mind if you get really technical, i.e partitions etc, most of it will go straight over my head. I dont mind completely wiping the hard drive. I dont have another i can copy to but i think starting from fresh may be a good idea. It will probably teach me a few things as well while i'm reinstalling stuff.
     
  4. KraGorn

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    Okay, I'm assuming you know nothing .. so don't think I'm talking down to you :).

    A disk in its' raw form is useless to Windows and most other operating systems, the space on it needs organising. This is done by creating one or more PARTITIONS, the most simple case being the whole disk becomes just one partition, these are what get assigned DRIVE LETTERS .. a misnomer really, they should be PARTITION LETTERS, but that's PCs for you. :D

    Thus if you have one disk with one partition you have a drive C: and that's it, if you had two partitions you'd have C: and D:. If you had two disk drives each with one partition you'd also have C: and D: but this time each would be on a different disk .. this goes on and on, for example if the first disk has two partitions and the second disk 3 partitions, C: and E:: would be on drive 1 and D:, F: and G: would be on disk 2 .. I know it's confusing, the way letters are assigned is straightforward, just not completely obvious.

    BTW, CD and DVD drives also get assigned drive letters, so you need to check what sort of device any particular letter is assigned to, Explorer shows different icons for different devices.

    So, first thing to do in your case is to figure out how many disks and partitions you have. In Explorer you can see the partitions when you first open My Computer .. which operating system have you got BTW, details change a bit from one flavour of Windows to another.

    If you only have C: then without buying more software and some messing about you'll not have the luxury of saving files unless you have a CD/DVD writer. If you have more than just C: .. excluding the drive letter which any CD or DVD drive will have .. then you have options.

    You also need to understand how for example your internet connection is configured .. who's your ISP, do they have a decent tech. support as you may need it when you come to re-install and configure your internet link.

    Hope this initial diatribe helps you to begin to see the wood for the trees, let me know what your system looks like in terms of disks and Windows and we'll see what options you may have. :)
     
  5. blahblah

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    I have a C drive and a Q drive (forgot about that ) that my lad put in for copying music off the net. I run windows 98 and my isp is aol. Dont know if you need anything else. Please dont consider you are talking down to me, plain english for a thickie is what i need!
     
  6. KraGorn

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    A Q: drive, wonder what that is?

    Have you ever installed Windows before? Do you have the installation CD? Never used AOL myself by they're supposedly easy to get running, you'd need to know things like our login name, contact phone numbers, or if you've got ADSL then how to configure that.

    You need to make a list of everything you do on the PC, what programs you run, etc. so that you know what you need to re-install. With only a single partition .. unless this Q: drive is also some sort of disk, your description of its' use doesn't immediately tell me what sort of device it is .. you won't have the luxury of backing up very much, floppy disks seem to be the only option unless you have a CD/DVD burner.
     
  7. blahblah

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    I have the start up discs that came with the system. The original d drive is not connected anymore as we fitted a cd rewriter in and the cable now goes to that. My lad say's its called the Q drive because thats what the cable is. Does that make any sense to you. If it does then i'm impressed .If it don't, i'm not surprised!!!!
     
  8. KraGorn

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    "It's called the Q drive because that's what the cable is"

    :confused:

    Nope, means nothing to me. :)

    Anyhow, you have a CD writer so you can backup stuff to a CD which is good .. things like old e-mails etc because everything on C: will go.

    Now, you have to be very sure you want to do this, once you start you'll have to complete it or you'll not have a PC.

    Assuming you have a full Windows 98 CD you should be able to boot from it. It'll ask you if you want to install, you should be able to follow the prompts and do as it says.

    In particular you need to select the option to format the disk and start again .. it's many years since I installed 98 so I can't remember the exact steps but I think they were pretty self-evident.

    Basically Windows will ask you which bits you want to install, whether you have a network, it'll look for your printer if you have one, it knows about some soundcards but if yours is more recent then you'll need the CD the came with that to install drivers from. Same could go for the printer if that's relatively new.

    Unless you are sure you know where all your CDs are then don't do it, especially if you don't know someone who can help you out if it goes pear-shaped. By and large Windows is easy to install, Microsoft are pretty good at writing installers, but you'll be surprised how much information it needs from you to set it up in the same state it is now.

    Since you're not forced to re-install due to a major failure .. something many Windows users face :( .. then you can make a plan as to what you need to save, what information you need to have recorded .. e-mail account info, your favourites saved to CD etc. .. your AOL settings (if any). Only when you're sure you've noted everything can you safely make backups of things you know you'll need again.

    Once that's done insert the CD, hit the RESET button ... and pray to your God. :D
     
  9. blahblah

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    Thanks KraGorn, you've been a star. Will take on board everything you've suggested and copy whatever info i may need. Will (hopefully) let you know how i get on. Probably do it sunday ish. bye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, by the way. How do I wipe it??????/
     
  10. KraGorn

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    IIRC Win98 sometimes allows you to format the disk during installation, other times a boot floppy lets you do the same thing.

    If all else fails, do this while Win98 is still on your system:

    1) Open a DOS box

    2) format/s a:

    This will create you a diskette that will boot DOS.

    3) copy c:\windows\command\format.com a:\

    This copies the FORMAT command to the diskette .. if you get a message saying it can't find FORMAT.COM use Start | Search to locate it.

    You can now shutdown Windows and reboot with the diskette, once you get to the command prompt simply enter:

    format C:

    and your Windows system is history.

    Some versions of the Win98 CD will always format the hard disk, these were intended to prevent users upgrading from an older version .. there's no way of knowing which you've got until you boot it.

    Good luck .. and don't be hasty, to paraphrase and old saying ... "delete in haste, repent at leisure". :D
     
  11. gab2001uk

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    I have a modified Win98SE Boot disk with both FDisc and Format on it. It autoboots and gives choice of Install Win98, Start DOS with CDROM support, and DOS without CDROM. Should have all you need: http://www.gab2001uk.com/utilities/win98bootdisk.zip

    I would take a look at HyperOS http://www.hyperos2002.com/ while you are at it. I use it on all my PCs. Best part about it is you run WinXX/2K/XP from any partition above C:, and make a backup of the clean install on another partition. When you want to re-install Windows it takes approx 5 mins to wipe the partition and install the backup, all within Windows running on another partition. Excellent for trial software/hardware testing.
     
  12. KraGorn

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    That sounds like the sort of thing blahblah could do with, I know of one or two but, with all due respect to blahblah, I think he'd be more than a little confused with those .. yours sounds somewhat more user friendly.

    HyperOS sounds good, the advertising turned me off it to be honest, it was to say the least a little misleading in that it implied that somehow it was a convenient as the multi-user option of XP without the inherent limitations .. IMHO having to re-boot isn't quite the same as user-switch.
     
  13. eviljohn2

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    I did exactly what you're attempting to do a few weeks ago with excellent results (although I'm reasonably good at this sort of thing).

    The best way to go about a complete reinstall is:

    >Restart in MS-DOS mode, and type

    "format c:" (without the quotes)

    this formats the C: drive.

    >Turn machine off once this is completed.

    >Restart machine with Windows 98 CD in drive.

    >Follow on-screen instructions.

    >Install remainder of software.

    Windows is fairly helpful in asking for which discs etc.


    The biggest problem you may encounter will be if the Windows 98 installer doesn't autostart. This is easily solved by entering the BIOS (on initial startup you'll be told "Press (Del or F1 or something) to enter setup".
    >Press Del or F1 or whatever's relevant to your machine.
    >Explore BIOS (don't change anything!) until you find an option to change where the machine boots from. This usually cycles through options like:
    *Floppy Drive
    *Local disk
    *Network
    *CD-ROM

    obviously you want it to boot from CD-ROM so set it to that. Once you've installed Windows you'll need to reset this but although the screens look scary it's actually very simple (even simpler if you've got the motherboard manual).

    Most importantly, you'll have more difficulty getting advice from the forum with your computer in an interim state so make sure you're confident!
     
  14. blahblah

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    Thanks guys. I'll make sure i've copied all the advice before I go ahead.Hopefully over the next couple of days I'll give it a go. Watch this space!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     

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