How to Format and Reinstall Windows XP

This tutorial explains in a detail the process on how to format your hard drive and reinstall Windows XP using the Windows XP installation disc.

  1. Insert the Windows XP CD into your computer and restart your computer.
  2. If prompted to start from the CD, press Enter. If you miss the prompt (it only appears for a few seconds), restart your computer to try again.
  3. Windows XP Setup begins. During this portion of setup, your mouse will not work, so you must use the keyboard. On the Welcome to Setup page, press ENTER.On the Windows XP Licensing Agreement page, read the licensing agreement. Press the PAGE DOWN key to scroll to the bottom of the agreement. Then press F8.
  4. This page enables you to select the hard disk drive on which Windows XP will be installed. Once you complete this step, all data on your hard disk drive will be removed and cannot be recovered. It is extremely important that you have a recent backup copy of your files before continuing. When you have a backup copy, press D, and then press L when prompted. This deletes your existing data.
  5. Press ENTER to select Partitioned space, which appears by default.
  6. Press ENTER again to select Format the partition using the NTFS file system, which appears by default.
  7. Windows XP erases your hard disk drive using a process called formatting and then copies the setup files. You can leave your computer and return in 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Windows XP restarts and then continues with the installation process. From this point forward, you can use your mouse. Eventually, the Regional and Language Options page appears. Click Next to accept the default settings. If you are multilingual or prefer a language other than English, you can change language settings after setup is complete.
  9. On the Personalize Your Software page, type your name and your organization name. Some programs use this information to automatically fill in your name when required. Then, click Next.
  10. On the Your Product Key page, type your product key as it appears on your Windows XP CD case. The product key is unique for every Windows XP installation. Then, click Next.
  11. On the Computer Name and Administrator Password page, in the Computer name box, type a name that uniquely identifies your computer in your house, such as FAMILY ROOM or TOMS. You cannot use spaces or punctuation. If you connect your computer to a network, you will use this computer name to find shared files and printers. Type a strong password that you can remember in the Administrator password box, and then retype it in the Confirm password box. Write the password down and store it in a secure place. Click Next
  12. On the Date and Time Settings page, set your computer’s clock. Then, click the Time Zone down arrow, and select your time zone. Click Next
  13. Windows XP will spend about a minute configuring your computer. On the Networking Settings page, click Next
  14. On the Workgroup or Computer Domain page, click Next

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