Best way to format drive + install XP?

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by Birdman, Dec 21, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Birdman

    Birdman Registered Member

    Nov 24, 2003
    I'm looking to format my drive and install a fresh copy of XP and I need some advice/help.

    I have a Compaq XP 'Recovery CD' (set of 5) which installs XP (sp1), drivers and a bunch of junk promotion softwares. I prefer NOT to go this route because I don't want to install all the bundle add-ons.

    I also have a separate Windows XP Pro CD....but will this work w/o the drivers though?

    Also what's the best way to format my current drive?
  2. TheKid7

    TheKid7 Registered Member

    Jul 22, 2006
    I have "limited" experience with XP Installs. Here are my comments:

    1. You could Restore using the Compaq Restore CD's and then run PCDecrapifier to get rid of the "crap" software that came with the PC.

    2. Then I would make sure that you properly uninstall any antivirus program that came with the PC (Since this could "possibly" interfere with the installation of Windows XP SP3.).

    After uninstalling Symantec/Norton Products I would run the Norton Removal Tool to make sure that the uninstall is "complete" (You may need to provide your License Key during the Removal Process.):

    After uninstalling McAfee Products I would run the McAfee Consumer Product Removal Tool to make sure that the uninstall is "complete":

    3. Then download and install Windows XP SP3 by either using Windows Update or by downloading SP3 yourself. I usually download the "Network Install" version of SP3 (I know of one person that had multiple failures with an upgrade to SP3 using Windows Update and 100% success on the first try using the Network Install SP3 exe.):

    4. Install all of the critical updates that were later that SP3 and any optional updates that you want to install.

    5. Install any whatever software that you need, including Security software such as Antivirus, AntiSpyware, etc.

    On the Windows XP Pro CD installation there is a fair chance that it will have good enough drivers if your system not very new. Otherwise you may need to download and install the drivers for each piece of hardware such as video drivers, NIC drivers, Sound drivers, etc.

    On formatting your drive, a normal Windows XP CD has this feature as part of the install process. You Partition the hard drive followed by either a Quick Format or a Full Format. I usually choose full format even though this adds significant time to the installation. Computer technicians usually use Quick Format because time is Money. I assume that the Compaq Restore CD will allow you to do this. I have no experience with Compaq Restore CD's. I also partition to at least two partition and keep the Windows OS and program installations on the C:\ partition.

    Another option which is easy for me but may not be for you is to use GParted Linux partitioning and formatting program and run it from the Puppy Linux Live CD. You can partition your drive and format to the ntfs file system. You shouldn't have to go this route since you should be able to perform the partitioning and formatting with Windows XP.

    Here are some screenshots of a Windows XP Installation Process:

    I hope that the above helps.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  3. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

    Dec 23, 2005
    I would totally NOT do what TheKid7 suggests IF you are saavy enough to make your own install cd. No disrespect meant TheKid7. But that is not a clean install. Head over to
    and learn a thing or two and see if you are up to it.

    If your compaq OS is xp pro, and your cd is xp pro, you must have an oem verion of the cd. A retail cd will not accept an oem key. There is nothing to keep you from slipstreaming sp2 or sp3 into your source and making a new disk. Of course the really good stuff comes when you incorporate your drivers into the install. Don't bother with automating your applications though, unless you are into scripting. You might also be interested in RyanVm's Update Packs or BashRat the Sneakys Driver Packs. Not needed, but are amazing tools.

    That link above is a great way to get started. There are many many other resources. Just search on 'xp unattended cd' (or dvd). You will certainly appreciate a fresh clean install over hacking up a compaq install with all the garbage.

    Just my 2cents.

  4. Kerodo

    Kerodo Registered Member

    Oct 5, 2004
    I would use the XP Pro CD. Just download the drivers for your network card before you start and burn that to a CD first, in case you have no internet after you install from the XP CD, then you can install the drivers and from there you can download anything else you need, graphics drivers, audio, etc.

    Just boot from the XP CD, delete any existing partitions, and start fresh from there...

    Of course it goes without saying, backup any data you want or need to save to another HD or CD/DVD before you begin also.
  5. Birdman

    Birdman Registered Member

    Nov 24, 2003
    I went ahead with this route. After I deleted the existing partitions, it formatted the drive and installed XP Pro w/o any issues.

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  6. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

    Dec 29, 2004
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    When you restore your partition from the recovery CD's, you will find on your hard disk a folder named i386.
    I would take your XP Pro installation CD and replace the i386 with the one from the recovery CD. In other words, I would create a regular installation CD from the files on the recovery CD.

    I would also slipstream SP3 into the new installation CD.

    With your new created XP SP3 installation CD you will be able to install the original release with the license and product key of Compaq.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.