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Can't you just reformat the hard drive any more?

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August 20, 2009 3:17:56 AM

Used to be you could easily reinstall Windows or format a hard drive. I'm having system issues on two computers, and I just want to reformat and reinstall XP on the desktop. I get the error that the version I have on disc is older than the installed system, so I can't move forward with the install process. Okay, so I'd like to just reformat the drive and reinstall XP. Is there an easy way to do it? I've looked at the slipstreaming methods and I don't know if I'm up to that task, my skills are becoming vintage. Could I just pull the drive out, install it as a slave in another computer and reformat that way? Any other ideas? Very frustrated in wasting an evening that I had hoped to just reformat/reinstall and accomplished not a thing. I don't believe that I can even do a repair install due to the error. I uninstalled SP3, but that had no effect on the error message. Thanks for any help.

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August 20, 2009 3:50:32 AM

Why don't you just insert the disc, format the drive, then install XP? No repair, recover, or whatsoever.
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a b G Storage
August 20, 2009 9:51:57 AM

Just stick in the XP disk, and you should be able to format and reinstall after booting off the disk. It's pretty easy, honestly...
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August 20, 2009 1:12:27 PM

That's what I was hoping to do, but when I stick in xp, I start the process of installing Windows but get the error message 'the version you are attempting to install is older than the current version installed' and I can't proceed any further. I uninstalled SP3 in order to dial it back, but I still get the same message - hence my frustration. I own two copies of XP and can't use either one!! I think the easiest thing might be to take out the drive and install it as a slave elsewhere and just simply format it...not sure if this would even work. Any way around this or a better solution?
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August 20, 2009 1:40:21 PM

Quote:
Could I just pull the drive out, install it as a slave in another computer and reformat that way? Any other ideas?


Yes you can do that, or.

Whatever the HDD brand, go to their website and download a diagnostic utility to wipe the HDD of data, once the HDD is successfully wiped of data, the XP installation will see it correctly.

You can do that without pulling the HDD in question, and IMO is the best route as all previous data is completely erased.

Zero Fill, Drive Wipe, Drive Erase, Low Level Format, are some of the various disk utility names for clearing the HDD of all its data including old boot records.
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a b G Storage
August 20, 2009 5:18:16 PM

That's odd - I haven't installed XP in a while, but I know Vista doesn't care about version. It will install quite happily over an existing copy, even if the install disk is an older version.
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a c 342 G Storage
August 20, 2009 8:53:52 PM

There may be another route to force this that you can do with a Windows Install disk. BUT this depends on the Partition structure. What I propose is that, at the very beginning of the Windows Install process, there should be a screen right after you specify what disk to install on. It will warn you that the disk has data in Partitions on the disk and ask if you want to proceed to DESTROY all that? Now, IF you know there is only the one Partition on this disk and you really don't want anything on it, you can have Windows Delete all exiting Partitions on the disk and start from scratch. Then it can establish a new Primary Partition, Format that, and do the Install for you.

Like I said, this only can work if there is NOTHING you want on the disk, anywhere. You really cannot Delete a Primary Partition while leaving other Extended Partitions on the disk.

You also should be aware of disk size tricks. First, check your two different XP Install disks. If either of them includes SP1 or higher, you can use it and forget the rest that follows here. IF you are trying to install Windows XP in its original version (that is, without any of the Service Packs included in the Install Disk) or any earlier version of Windows, it will NOT be able to make any Partition over 128 GB. So if you are doing it this way on a larger disk, you will end up with Windows installed on a 128 GB Partition (you can choose to make this smaller, even) and the rest of the space will be Unallocated. After updating to a current version of the OS you will be able to use that Unallocated Space to create another partition to use as another separate drive, but you will not be able to add this space to your boot C: drive without resorting to third-part software. HOWEVER, as long as you have XP with any Service Pack installed on your Windows Install Disk, or a more recent version of Windows, this is NOT an issue at all, so forget this paragraph!.
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a c 415 G Storage
August 20, 2009 11:33:46 PM

ysoytnly said:
when I stick in xp, I start the process of installing Windows but get the error message 'the version you are attempting to install is older than the current version installed' and I can't proceed any further.
It sounds to me like you are inserting the CD while the old system is up and running. Shut down the old system, insert the CD, and boot from it. You should have the choice to overwrite the old OS.
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August 21, 2009 1:57:02 AM

Thank you all...I changed the boot order in the BIOS and it's working...I've lost hair over this simple problem. I really appreciate the help. Once this is done, I'm going to do the same thing to an old laptop that's hosed - thanks so much!!
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