reformatting XP laptop without disc drive

  tim.h 21:09 23 Aug 2010

My daughter's tired laptop has almost ground to a halt. I hope a reformatting will revive it. However she never had any XP discs and the dvd drive is no longer functioning. Can a reformat be accomplished from this situation?

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 21:33 23 Aug 2010

You could us an external DVD drive but you will need a XP CD (use the number on the laptop) and all the drivers.

However there are a number of things you could do to speed it up:

1. Software

a) Clear out all temporary files and folders -- use Crap Cleaner click here

b) Scan for malware spyware and viruses --Free Anti Spyware :-
Superantispyware click here
Malware removal tool click here

Free Antivirus software
MicroSoft Security Essentials click here
Avast4 click here
AVG antivirus click here

c) Clean the registry -- Use the tool in Crap Cleaner its very safe and also allows you to back up the registry first.

d) Pagefile (Virtual Memory) -- Right click MY Computer - select properties - Advanced tab - Performance -
advanced tab - Virtual memory click change, you can put the page file on a different drive (if you have one), click
custom size and set Initial size to one and a half times the amount of memory you have fitted i.e. 512MB memory
= set to 768MB, set maximum to double your memory amount i.e. 512MB memory = 1024MB click ok.
If your hard drive is full and there is not enough room for the pagefile this can slow down, freeze or even cause the
PC to crash (restart).

e) Cut down on the programs that load at start up -- Start - Run type msconfig - start up tab- untick everything
except for firewall, antivirus and antispyware

and the services that run in the background. click here

2. Hardware

a) Hard drives /

i) IDE Channels:
Check the transfer rate, you need to have the transfer mode set to DMA not PIO.
Right click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager - Expand (click the + ) IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers right click Primary Channel - Advanced Settings Tab -
If transfer Mode is PIO then follow the instructions at click here to change.

ii) Check for errors and defrag your hard drives -- My Computer - select drive - properties - tool tab - Error checking / Defragmentation.

ii) If you are using Windows XP or Vista, it's a good idea to convert your system drive to the NTFS file system if you have not already. In addition to providing numerous security and data recovery improvements over FAT32 (the file system of choice for Windows 9x/ME and XP Home) it can also speed up your system slightly.

In fact, the only real reason for sticking with the FAT32 file system for any of your data is if you have more than one operating system on your PC and the other OS's can only see FAT32 partitions (as would be the case with Windows 98, for example, which is incapable of reading NTFS data).

To convert your drives to NTFS:
Right click on 'my computer' and select 'manage'
From the computer management window, expand storage and select 'disk management.'
Using the 'file system' column of the upper pane of this window, you can easily check what file system each of your logical drives is using. Make a note of this information.
Now open a command prompt window by going to 'start\run' and typing 'cmd'
To convert a disk to NTFS, type 'convert (drive letter): /fs:ntfs'
So for example, if you were going to convert your C: drive, you would type 'Convert c: /fs:ntfs' at the prompt.

b) Drivers
Obtain the newest drivers for your hardware
This may seem a bit obvious, but keeping your system's drivers up to date can give both your performance and stability a boost. Video card manufacturers release updates especially often, and these can often give "significant boosts" to gaming performance as video card in question is "optimized."

Don't neglect the other components of your system either. Your motherboard manufacturer may have released newer versions of its Input/output drivers for your board, and sound cards and other peripherals can also benefit from newer software.

c) Memory
Add more physical memory, this of course means opening the "box" and fitting a memory module, make sure you buy one that is suitable for your PC. Crucial .com click here will guide you through the process of slecting the correct memory. click here for a guide to fitting memory.

  Strawballs 22:35 23 Aug 2010

If she has never had a disc it could be that the factory restore is on secret partion on hard drive, what make and model is it?

  mgmcc 07:10 24 Aug 2010

Some installations of XP include the i386 folder, which contains the files for installing XP. If you have this folder, running WINNT32.EXE from within Windows should start a clean install of XP.

  lotvic 09:34 24 Aug 2010

You would be better to create and burn your own XP installation CD from the i386 folder
how to click here

and make sure you have the product key from the laptop sticker as it will be different to the one on the harddrive (that will be the manufacturers pre-activated volume key)

  lotvic 09:40 24 Aug 2010

edit: burn to DVD as it won't fit on a CD

  johndrew 09:46 24 Aug 2010

You may also find it helpful to go to `C:\WINDOWS\system32' and make a copy of the activation file 'wpa.dbl'.

If you keep this on an external HDD, when you have reinstalled XP you can insert it back into its original position and it should negate going to MS to reactivate.

  robin_x 10:31 24 Aug 2010

I just resurrected a 12 yr old XP laptop in last few days. It may have originally been 95 then 98 then 98SE. Lost in the mists of time.

But Fruitbat's d) was the most important.

Set the Virtual Memory.

And Firefox is a bit slow. Opera works better.

Can't run antivirus (any of the normal free ones)

But this old laptop only has 128MB RAM. I broke my new laptop screen, so that is waiting to be fixed.

  TimC 15:26 24 Aug 2010

I recently installed XP from a USB stick - followed the instructions at click here

Only issue I experienced was having to get a smaller (2GB) stick as mine were either too large (wouldn't work) or too small (not big enough for the image). You'll need a XP cd or image to create the new installation image on the stick, and most likely a different PC to the one you're working on.

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