Well, you can do it with another pc. Just hook it up as a slave then format it from there.
I haven't done this and no reason that I will but try this. Click start then go to "My Computer" and open it. Right click on the "Local Disk" and then scroll down to "Format..." then finally hit start and see if it works.
In my guess it should since the OS is already been loaded so it does not need to access it from the local drive and then when hit restart then that hd should be clean and then the os is gone.
Like I said I have never done it and have no reason to.
i dont think that partation magic will allow you to partition the hdd that it is installed on, specially since he doesnt want any boot disks
slave it is the easest..though, just use the XP disk and format it...i dont see what the problem is, its not as though its really gonna matter is it?
Since XP is tied to its host file system, you can't - plain and simple. You can however, create 2 partitions on your HD (one big, one very small - a few hundred MBs), install a 'recovery' system on it, and use a multiboot manager on your master boot record.
What I do: I create a 'main' (or 2 big) partition, and another primary partition in the last 2 Gb of the disk. I install the bare system on the first partition, then configure, update it; then I install a small Linux system on the second one (it can be text-based, or as a loopback device - check Damn Small Linux) and use Partimage to create an image of the big partition with the basic system installed on it.
When reformatting is required, I boot the Linux system and restore the original image: it does a format and reinstall in less than 5 minutes without any need for a CD or floppy.
Just be careful about one thing: when running WinXP's (or 2003 or Vista) install program, it wipes out the drive's Master Boot Record (thus removing any and all multiboot softwares). So you'd be well advised to install WinXP first (keeping some room for the other partitions), then your Linux small system of choice later. As a matter of fact, create a partition with a size of 8 Gb to 30 Gb for the Windows system, format it (much faster than a complete patition on a 250 Gb drive) and install-boot-update. Under Windows, you can then create the remaining partitions (1 extended for data, another primary that you won't format just yet).
Partimage isn't provided with Damn Small Linux, but it can be downloaded separately as a statically linked binary (ie. it can run by itself) and used on any Linux distribution. DSL can be kept as a read-only 50 MB boot image on the partition, and an auto-restore script created to wipe out and restore the original Windows system in a single command or click. Partimage does a complete image of any file system detected (including FAT, FAT32 and NTFS). Restoring the image doesn't touch the boot record.
Windows 2000 doesn't wipe out the MBR on install. I like Win2000.
it's not, it causes the platter and arm to move alot more, and constently rewriting sectors can never be a good thing. they say that a fragmented hdd will be more likely to fail because the platter arm has to keep moving to get the data, its really the same concept.
I know a guy who when he was building a PC, wasnt very smart, he had to format his hard drive because he kept on using the same version of a pirated WinXP disk that had a virus...for some reason he didnt know why it had a virus on it...anyway he also did about 6 formats in one day on the same one...4comprehensive and 2 quick...now, if that doesnt shorten its life...
Formatting the hd does not shorten it's lifespan because it is basically doing what it does in normal operation.
when formatting the platter arm doesnt move as much as if it were in regular use because it is writing the sectors consecutavely. Unlike regular use where the sectors are usually in many different places on the platter. About the constantly rewriting sectors thing, by your logic, you are shortening the life of your drive every time you defragment, move files, install/reinstall/uninstall something, browse the internet, listen to music, ect.
Also, constantly spinning up and spinning down can shorten the life of a drive because the motor becomes worn out.
I think that is correct but if its not, speak up and inform me.
What do you think your HD is doing when your pci is running normally? just sitting there? There's ALL SORTS of writes to the HD going on ALL THE TIME, like stuff being swapped in/out between memory and the pagefile etc. even when you're not doing anything on the PC. Just leave your PC on, don't touch it and watch the HD LED blink.
well you guys are prob. right, but I still cannot believe that it is healthy for a Hdd to be formatted constantly, but I have to say that maybe it wont shorten the hdd's life, but i dont like the idea of fully (comprehensive, not quick i mean) formatting it any more then nesesary
Reformatting a HDD all the time doesn't help it - whatever mechanical piece in motion is being worn down. However, formatting (especially using 32-bit disk access, like Win2k/XP use on install) due to the arm's movement being very slow, has less impact than a defragmentation. Moreover, a complete format requires the space between clusters to be written - once done, they're not touched during nomal use. What this operation does is wear on the heads themselves a bit - but frankly, that's negligible.
I would just hook it up as a slave and format it, or you could drop it in a caddy. Or you could download Windows XP Pre license from Windows then use that to format then its formatted lol but that will involve making a boot cd
Constant formating may decreases the life of your HDD.
I have to agree with Wusy here. A workmate of mine, one that I class as a MS XP guru, long-formats and re-images his HDs about once a month. He claims about a 10% overall system speed increase due to the lack of disk thrashing, and also claims an increased drive life due to this regular maintenance.
Facts? He's never had to use a warranty on any of his drives. Even some of the old deathstars, he's still got running.
I also have to agree with some of the other repliers, a complete (or long) format will use the drive mechanisms far less than in actual usage, as the heads start out at cylindar 0 and then track by track do sequential read / writes until all is 'erased'. As some may have noticed, this takes a long time....