A Clean Slate

Despite the best efforts of a colleague who went out of his way to help me, it took nearly a week to reformat my troublesome Hewlett Packard Pavilion 701 and reinstall a fresh copy of Windows XP on it. This machine had been on its last legs for months, sputtering along with an installation of XP that had been painfully accreted with innumerable Microsoft patches and who knows what kind of damage inflicted from countless crashes and errant programs.

Windows XP Installation Screen
Above: Your computer will be faster and more reliable. This error message from the Windows XP installer says otherwise.

We had hoped that a reformatted hard drive and a like-new installation of the operating system would have given me a new lease on life, so to speak, but it wasn’t so easily. The first time we attempted the installation, the machine was inundated by the blaster worm almost as soon as it came onto the network, before we even had an opportunity to apply any of the security patches. The resultant mess was enough to scrap the attempt, reformat and install from scratch yet again — this time being sure to leave the Ethernet cable unplugged until we could apply the security patches via CD-R. This was successful, but not without some hiccups, as you can see from the photograph I took of the screen here. At some point, I just have to wonder if it’s really worth it.



  1. Whenever I reinstall a windows machine, I ALWAYS fdisk the harddrive, to make sure that it is completely clean.

    We have also learned from experience here at the office to put certain installers on CDR so that we can install them before getting on the network, especially the all important ZoneAlarm.

    FDISK > InstallXP > Install Norton > Install ZoneAlarm > Get updated.

  2. How do I go about cleaning the disk completely. Please help I have all my CD for XP, Zone and Norton. Thanks

  3. to reformat ur hardrive complety. put a bootdisk in floppy. restart computer. a screen will appear. click boot from floppy. after it is done type fdisk. click delete primary or logical partition (choice # 3) it will say type in colume (usally windows xp) then type “Y” wen it says are you sure. press excape and and click one that says creat primary or logical i “believe choice # 1” then it says use maximum space. type “Y” then it will ask something else just type “Y” and it does this verifyin disk space. two times. then it says u must restart computer for changes to apply. UR HARDDRIVE IS KNOW FIXED NOTHIN ON IT NO VIRUSES OR ANYTHING AND LIKE BRAND NEW put ur xp cd in and it will say format drive click yes. it should be “ntfs” format.. u will notice the change no errors or nothin on the hardrive i do everytime i do my windows.. hope i helped..Phil

  4. If you ever need to format your hard drive the windows xp setup will do it for you when you go to reinstall in on your hard drive. You can choose to do a quick format or to just reformat the hard drive which this will take longer. You will have to use NTFS file system on the hard drive because that is what windows xp operates on.

  5. Guys, thanks for all the Windows tips. I’m sure they’ll come in handy one day, if I ever decide to use a Windows machine again. Also, when monkeys fly out of my butt.

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