I have a Dell Compaq laptop, running XP... and I want to reformat it, but the screen is completely busted. I have it running through a monitor, but it doesn't display on the monitor until after it boots up, therefore I cannot format it... how do I fix this?
You can try this instruction too.
1 - Setup your BIOS. There is really only one way to format a hard drive, and it's through some kind of bootable device. If it isn't the Windows CD, it can be a floppy drive or another CD. When the computer starts up, it will tell you to hit a key to enter the BIOS; you must quickly hit whichever key is indicated. Once you are in the BIOS, search through the menus until you get to an option that reads something like "Boot Device Order." Select "Floppy" or "CD-ROM," "Removable Device" or something similar, depending on what kind of bootable device you will use. Exit and save your changes.
2 - Make a bootable disk. You need to download the files from somewhere to make your bootable device. Bootdisk.com has a good selection of files (see Resources); some are free and some are not. For a floppy, you usually merely need to insert a floppy disk in the drive and then run the utility that you downloaded; this will make a bootable floppy. For a CD you must have CD-burning software. You will need to run the software to copy the files you have downloaded and select "Make This CD Bootable." In making the bootable device, make sure one of the utilities you download has a format tool (you will have to read though the documentation).
3 - Restart your computer. Start the computer with the BIOS correctly set and the bootable disk in place. The computer will run from the boot disk or boot CD. If you are using standard DOS on your boot disk, you will just need to type "format C:" ("C" refers to your hard drive). If you are using another program, you will need to use its commands.