Windows XP Home - Can't get to DOS prompt

  Charlie Babbage 14:51 10 Nov 2006

Any ideas on this problem would be much appreciated.

A friend has Windows XP Home. I suspect that the hard drive is seriously virused and needs a clean reinstall. Win XP loads. When you click on the 'Start' button, the usual Start Menu items appear but you can't get any further e.g., All Programs and Control Panel show up but clicking on them does not display their contents.

I want to get to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt so that I can use DOS to reformat using C:format. Is there any way I can do this?

If not, is the only other solution to remove the hard drive, attach it to another computer as a slave and reformat it from there? Is there a web site which you can recommend for this process. Even if I can get the HD attached as a slave, I'm not sure how to do the next step of reformatting it!

Thanks in advance

  rodriguez 15:00 10 Nov 2006

You can't reformat the HDD within Windows - not even by using the DOS prompt. The DOS prompt in Windows is actually a DOS emulator and you cannot format the HDD with it because it's in use (Windows is loaded up from it). To reformat from DOS, you need to start the computer with a bootdisk (click here) and go into the DOS prompt from there. From there, type in FDISK to run the Fixed Disk utility. Delete all partitons and make a new primary one. Restart the computer with your bootdisk then type in FORMAT C: and this will wipe the drive. Boot the computer with the Windows XP CD and install a clean copy. Done!

  rodriguez 15:03 10 Nov 2006

PS click here for the best disk to use. Insert a blank floppy, run the program, press OK and it'll write the disk.

  daxian 15:28 10 Nov 2006

if you have the windows home cd just boot from that, choose the delete partition option then create a new partition, format and install all in one operation.Dave.

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