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View Full Version : Why can't I do a clean install of windows XP on a hard disk that already has XP on it


I_Know_Nothing
04-10-2007, 07:40 AM
I want to do clean install of Windows XP Pro but I'm running into some trouble because I already have it on my C drive. There's nothing wrong with it, I just have so much crap on my computer, probably including spyware, that I want to just start over. I saved everything I need and I am trying to do a format and reinstall.

When I get to the screen that tells me to choose which partition to install XP on, I know I need to delete all the partitions(I only have one anyway) to do a correct clean reinstall. But when I choose to delete the one partition it tells me it can't do it because it has setup files on it that it needs to use. I think this has to do with the fact that I'm doing a clean install on a drive that already has XP on it, as opposed to doing a clean install on a drive with a previous version.

I've read through my Widows XP book and I don't think it covers my situation. I tried just to format my C drive with XP running but that obviously didn't work. I want to start over just like I installed XP on an empty hard drive. How do I do this?

Fear Itself
04-10-2007, 08:37 AM
What are you installing the fresh copy of XP from? Is it a factory-supplied 'system recovery disk'? Or is it a copy of XP you purchased?

I_Know_Nothing
04-10-2007, 09:00 AM
What are you installing the fresh copy of XP from? Is it a factory-supplied 'system recovery disk'? Or is it a copy of XP you purchased?

I purchased it through UT Southwestern(education discount). It's the same disk I used to install XP when I first put it on my computer.

Uncommon Sense
04-10-2007, 09:02 AM
You could probably download a utility that will wipe your drive clean. You may have to burn it to a disk or CD and make sure you're booting from that drive instead of the HD.

If you have a factory copy of XP there should be an option to do a clean install. Are you booting from the CD or the HD?, I think that's the key here.

You need to be booting from the drive that has the utility that you want to use on it. Or at least direct the software to begin so that when the computer re-starts it boots from the drive containing the software. That is, If you're already booted in XP and you want to do a clean install you'd pop in the XP disk, select re-install (or whatever option gets you to that point) and follow the onscreen instructions, which will eventually lead to a re-start and a boot from disk application that will finish the re-install.
Usually, just placing the XP disk in the CD drive and then manually re-starting will get you a prompt asking if you'd like to boot from the CD and then you'll get to the re-install portion of the setup. There are several ways to skin this cat.

Fear Itself
04-10-2007, 10:19 AM
But when I choose to delete the one partition it tells me it can't do it because it has setup files on it that it needs to use. This is the part that is puzzling. How many partitions do you have? What are their sizes? Which one contains the previous Windows installation?

I have installed XP from the OS CD on machines with previous installations scores of times, and never had a problem deleting the old partitions, creating a new one, then formatting it.

I_Know_Nothing
04-10-2007, 10:30 AM
That last post hit the nail on the head.

I realized that when I first reinstalled windows, I was running XP and put the XP CD in my DVD drive. When setup auto restarted my computer I was not 'hit[ing] and key to boot from CD" so I guess I was installing windows from my hard drive instead of the CD.

I just started over, booted from the CD from the beginning, and was able to delete the partition and start a clean install.

Thanks everyone.

I_Know_Nothing
04-10-2007, 10:40 AM
This is the part that is puzzling. How many partitions do you have? What are their sizes? Which one contains the previous Windows installation?

I have installed XP from the OS CD on machines with previous installations scores of times, and never had a problem deleting the old partitions, creating a new one, then formatting it.

The two other times I installed Windows I always just booted from the Widows CD from the very beginning. I don't know what inspired me to put the CD in the DVD drive while Windows was running and go from there. I guess when you do that, the setup files are loaded onto the hard drive(mine is just one large partition). I couldn't delete the partition because when I did, the setup files I just loaded on it will be gone. That's my ameature guess anyway, but that's where my confusion came from. Armchair computer tech mistake I guess. Anyway, thanks again.

Fear Itself
04-10-2007, 11:13 AM
The two other times I installed Windows I always just booted from the Widows CD from the very beginning. I don't know what inspired me to put the CD in the DVD drive while Windows was running and go from there. I guess when you do that, the setup files are loaded onto the hard drive(mine is just one large partition). I couldn't delete the partition because when I did, the setup files I just loaded on it will be gone. That's my ameature guess anyway, but that's where my confusion came from. Armchair computer tech mistake I guess. Anyway, thanks again.I think you are right. Good catch, Uncommon Sense!

Duckster
04-10-2007, 11:14 AM
If you really want to do a clean install, go get delpart (http://www.google.com/search?q=delpart) , a MS tool that came with Windows NT 3.51. It will delete any partition for any O/S.

I just upgraded a Win2000 machine to Win XP Pro and used delpart.exe to kill all the partitions and perform a totally clean install.

Uncommon Sense
04-10-2007, 12:01 PM
If you really want to do a clean install, go get delpart (http://www.google.com/search?q=delpart) , a MS tool that came with Windows NT 3.51. It will delete any partition for any O/S.

I just upgraded a Win2000 machine to Win XP Pro and used delpart.exe to kill all the partitions and perform a totally clean install.
Ah, that's the utility that I've used in the past. I've got it on a floppy at home. I need to burn it to a disk now that I no longer have a PC at home with a floppy drive. ;)

asterion
04-10-2007, 02:23 PM
If you really want to do a clean install, go get delpart (http://www.google.com/search?q=delpart) , a MS tool that came with Windows NT 3.51. It will delete any partition for any O/S.

I just upgraded a Win2000 machine to Win XP Pro and used delpart.exe to kill all the partitions and perform a totally clean install.Delpart is okay, but I still prefer to run FDisk when I'm just dealing with Windows. Either one will work for the OP. And since XP CDs are bootable, just make sure that you set the BIOS to boot from CD as the first priority and then you should be able to format (I don't remember if you can partition, which is one of the reasons I just run FDisk first) inside the installer.