How to format a PC, excluding certain folders?

I have a friend that wants to format his computer, since it is kaput. He, nor I, know how to do it but. His CD drive is not being read, so he can’t backup any files he wants to keep, so is it possible to format the computer, but don’t get rid of a certain folder?
I know he needs a floppy drive (a:/), which he has, but I don’t know the DOS code to format and such…
Any help would be appreciated

Umm, where to start.

Firstly, if the HDD can’t be booted or accessed, I personally always try it as a secondary off a system that works, and backup all needed data in that manner.

Secondly, what O/S are you throwing in, if its lower than 2k then you can use DOS commands, if its 2k/XP/2003 then the format is part of the setup procedure.

Let us know to be best advised how to continue.

You cant format part of it, not after its dead, PartitonMagic can do what you want but only a functional system, not one that is kaput :frowning:

If you are inneed to use Dos I can guide you to DOS 7 which can read large LBA HDD and has long filename support!!!

He is using XP (not sure PRO or HOME), and it is his CD drive that is unreadable, so he can’t burn anything. He can use his HDD still though… He uses it at home, but it needs a format. But he can’t use his CD drive.

And by kaput, I mean full of dead registry keys, spyware, long startup time etc… I know he can do scans, but he’d rather start fresh

So why do you want to format the PC? Lets troubleshoot the CD Drive that isn’t readable.

I would simply take the lazy way out, try that drive on another PC, if it works, time to trouble shoot Windows & BIOS & DMA & other fun stuff, maybe even ASPI.

If it doesn’t work, its trash, time to simply buy a new one.

Have you checked DMA in BIOS and Windows, Can you be more specific how it doesn’t work… no power, wont read cd’s, won’t even pop out tray, makes noise… etc…

System restore -> first restore point ever :wink:
Then download & install adaware + latest defs :wink:
Then>online virus scanner

Tada :wink:
Good as new :wink:

Apart from that shrugs
It’s been about 12 years since I last lived without multiple partitions on every HD, just for this eventuality.

Answer to first question:
It is not possible to format a hard disk and leave bits of it alone.

Alternative Options:

  1. Remove the HD, put it in another compy and copy everything you want to keep. Replace in old compy, format drive, re-install everything, then take out HD, put in other compy and copy everything back.

  2. Crush everything you want to keep with WinZip/RAR/ACE/tar.bz2/Lump Hammer +5 and zap it across a network connection to another computer for storage.

  3. Spilt the disk into 2+ partitions with Partition Magic, copy everything you want to keep onto 2nd partition (Assuming have enough space), format 1st partiton and re-install Windows.

  4. Copy everything you want to keep onto USB flash drive/Zip disks/8e27 floppy disks/DLT tape/Paper tape, format system, reinstall Windows.

  5. Copy everything you want to keep into a single directory, boot into DOS and delete all other directories and files (ONLY feasible if you are using FAT16/FAT32 for your filesystem. As you have XP, this is very unlikely (XP usually uses NTFS, which is a right bastard for recovery ops))

  6. Buy one of them insane Maxtor 300GB external USB hard disks, copy everything onto that, format and reinstall Windows.

If his CD-ROM drive cannot READ, then hit him over the head and tell him to buy a new one. You NEED a working CD-ROM drive to re-install Windows!! Besides, the Windows installation program should allow you to format the hard disk (I don’t know with XP since I think it’s crap and won’t touch it, but NT4 and 2000 offer format disk options in their installers.) so that’ll kill 2 birds with one stone. And he’ll be able to back the stuff he wants to keep on CD/DVD…

first check to see if the cd drive shows up in safe mode hit the F8 key while booting
then enter safe mode and right click my computer left click properties, select device manager hardware and look to see if it shows in dvd cdrom drives. If it does then you either need to download a driver from the manufacturer, you have a virus or the ide cable or controller is shot. Things to try are running norton antivirus…if the machine comes up clean then shut down power off and try a known good ide/scsi cable depending on the drive type. If it’s not the cable try checking the bios to make sure the ide/scsi controllers are all active, terminated properly and enabled (check the jumper settings on the drive)

the no cost, lesson learned option if none of the above work…actually format the drive and loose everything. sometimes that’s a hard lesson, but needs to be learned, better prepared for the next…um…eventuality…:slight_smile:

Ok, well people have posted some good idea’s here… but I still don’t know how to format.

if the drive is fat32, a 98se or later boot floppy, run fdisk, remove the existing partition, create a new one reboot from floppy. (bootable cd can replace the floppy if your get the cd working first) Format new partion, start over…some 3rd party programs like maxblaster from seagate and others simplify this process.

if ntfs, and xp boots, You can try this: Click on Start, then Run, then type diskmgmt.msc

diskmanagment will allow you to format this drive/partition. Again, 3rd party may be out there to make this easier for you.

Either way, regardless of your recovery / or loss it all approach, I would if fat32 start not just with a clean format, but a clean partition. Don’t know if this is neccessary with ntfs, don’t know enough about it. After this part though, reinstall windows, and the process of restoring or reinstalling apps…

Hope this helps…:slight_smile:

if the box is an OEM brand, hp pavillian…gateway…dell…system max…whatever…it probably came with a restore disc…that would be in most painless way if it restores to same os…but kinda a wussy approach…:slight_smile:

And it’ll end up with the same problem again later;)

hence my post…loose it all and learn…LOL, no offence, but we all got to go there once…:slight_smile:

The easy way is always the hardest :wink:

Just tossing out options…know what I’d do…but I have a spare can to toss the drive in too…:slight_smile:

I’m not aware of an abililty to partially format. If XP has he recovery console enabled. Has he the set of 6 bootable floppies? If not XP is it 98 ? If so has he a bootable floppy? its seldom that you can’t recover SOMETHING. Does it appear to be a software prob (ie Windows) or is there something pointing to hard drive probs. If hardware, does he have a copy of Spinrite? What is the boot partition formatted as FAT 32 or NTFS ???

Can you advise: OS version. EXACTLY what happens when he tries to boot - error messages everything. How many drives? Approx size of apparently rooted partition, how much spare space on other drives. Does the thing boot at all??

I need more information.

“System restore -> first restore point ever”

Thats if it actually works, my recommendation, disable system restore and disable it in services, its a waste of space and dont let me tell you its bad just go and read some reports on it

Or you can enable system restore -> Set a restore point -> disable it with MSconfig’s startup services and keep it disabled -> re-enable it if you ever need to restore :slight_smile: