The answer may be here, I'm sorry I couldn't find it. I'm trying to replace Vista with XP, but I can't format the harddrive (it's a HP laptop, I'm trying to format using the XP disc, I didn't try to delete the partition because I don't want to lose the HP recovery partition). It won't format, it goes through the motions than says it can't. If you could point me to some help, I would appreciate it!
Good idea not to delete any partitions, you certainly don't want to lose the HP recovery partition. I'm not sure why it wouldn't format using the XP installation process... could you be a bit more specific as to what it says when it cannot format the partition?
You could also use a bootable USB/CD partition editor such as GParted or something like a Ubuntu Live CD to run a partition editor (like GParted) to format the Vista partition. Indeed, be VERY careful you don't delete or format the recovery partition.