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Unable to Format

Last response: in Windows XP
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July 27, 2002 6:04:19 AM

Hello All. I recently put together a basic system and attempted to load Windows XP Home version. It loaded the setup program, and it started formatting my drive and got to 100%, but at the end it said it was unable to complete the formatting, and cancelled the setup program. I figured there was something wrong with the HDD so I swapped for a new one (different brand and size), installed it, and received the same error. So I tried using a different copy of XP to install, and once again got the error message.

In the past when I have installed XP I have merely slipped the XP CD in and it did everything else (I didn't have to partition or format). So why the craziness now?

I appreciate any and all help, as I'm about to give up.

- Trevor

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July 27, 2002 3:45:19 PM

sometimes crazy stuff happens. I'd just make myself a <A HREF="http://www.bootdisk.com" target="_new"><font color=red>98 boot diskette</font color=red></A> and fdisk/format a FAT32 partition with that. Then run winnt.exe in the i386 directory. Hopefully that will allow you to get around the problem.

<i>It's always the one thing you never suspected.</i>
July 27, 2002 5:55:15 PM

The win98 startup disk is probably the way to go, providing you know how to use fdisk. You will probably have to delete the non dos ntfs partition as it sounds that XP has gone as far to create one at least. I do find it surprising actually that XP couldn't do the job as it has very good disk partitioning abilities. I would think about going to your motherboards manufacturer’s web site and download the latest bios update first as your current bios may not support the size of your harddisk you're trying to install. This would throw XP's setup out from setting it up properly.
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July 27, 2002 6:17:50 PM

I used the win98 startup disk, but fdisk didn't find any primary partition, though it did show me 10GB of partitioned space. It didn't, however, allow me to delete this space, and when I Tried creating a primary partition it only made another 10GB (even though my total hard drive size is 80GB).

So I downloaded some partition program on another computer (can't remember what it's called at the moment) and used it to make a new fat32 partition, and then installed winXP and it worked. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure exactly what I did, but things seem to be installing properly now. If I end up getting into windows with only a 10GB hard drive, however, I may have to look for that BIOS update.

Thanks for your assistance.
July 28, 2002 10:35:53 AM

It sounds that you probably need to update your bios as it seems to not understand harddisks over 10gig this is a common problem with older motherboards which were manufactured before these extra large harddisk existed.

Many socket7 boards bioses for instance could not see over 8gig and even with the latest bios installed they where often limited to 32gig at best. The third party disk partitioning programs (like the one you got) can compensate for the biose’s short-comings and work well for an OS like win98. But windows XP is a different kettle of fish as it links itself very intimately with your motherboards bios and hardware (the reason why its so much more stable than the win9x family).

This could cause trouble as it may try to treat your harddisk "as the bios sees it" rather than the partitioning program you have used, causing corruption of data and system instability etc. This is one of the reasons why you should always update your motherboard's bios to the latest available if intending to install winXP but be careful as it is a risky business!
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