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HP Reformat Hard Drive

This is a discussion on HP Reformat Hard Drive within the Motherboards, Bios|UEFI & CPU forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. I have an HP desk computer that I reformat yearly to clean up virus/performance issues. I use the HP recovery


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Old 09-19-2011, 10:07 AM   #1
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I have an HP desk computer that I reformat yearly to clean up virus/performance issues. I use the HP recovery disks that are not a full reformat but end up loading XP OS. This time, after I booted from these recovery disks, I received the dreaded code purple error due to HP's tatoo of hard drive. I then did a full reformat of the hard drive so that now the computer will not even recognize or boot from the recovery disks. Suggestions?
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:04 AM   #2
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I don't know what method you used to reformat the HDD, but you should be able to get the HDD working properly again by using a Linux program to COMPLETELY wipe the HDD, including deleting any partitions on it, then repartitioning it and reformatting it with the NT file system.

The program you need to do this is called GParted (the Gnome PARtition EDitor); GParted will allow you to wipe ALL of the data from that HDD, which is something most disk utilities cannot do. You can download Gparted from here:

GParted -- About

Screenshots:

GParted -- Screenshots

Once the download has finished, you can burn GParted to a CD / DVD, or create a bootable USB drive with it. Next, set the system BIOS to boot from the appropriate device, and use GParted to delete all of the data on that drive. Deleting any / all partitions will CLEAN the HDD.

After you've deleted the drive partitions, you can repartition the HDD, which will create a new partition table. Next, format the HDD with the NTFS file system; I suggest you do a COMPLETE format, which will probably take an hour or more, depending on the size of the HDD.

Next, with a new partition table and fresh formatting, you can exit GParted and reboot the system with your XP installation CD and do a fresh install of XP.

I realize that this might SEEM complicated, but if you follow the advice I've provided, you should be able to get your system working again without a hitch.

If you need clarification of anything I've written here, feel free to ask and we'll be glad to help you. Don't rush this; if you hit a snag, re-read this thread and you'll probably be able to figure out what to do next. If not, we're here to help you from start to finish...
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Old 09-19-2011, 11:26 AM   #3
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If you actually wiped the HDD you deleted the partition that is required for the Recovery disc.



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Old 09-20-2011, 10:30 PM   #4
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Thank you for the good information. However you will need to walk me through the process. I have successfully burned GParted to a CD. Now how do I set the system BIOS to boot from the appropriate device? When I turn on the computer, I get the message "Disk Boot Failure, Insert System Disk and Press Enter." I assume the appropriate device will be my CD drive which I believe to be drive "E". I have tried turning on the computer with the newly burned GParted CD in the E drive and without, but I get the same error message either way.

Thanks
Gail

By the way, the computer in question is an HP Media Center PC m7664x.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:09 PM   #5
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Hi daygail, before we go any further with this, I need some specific information from you. Please answer the following questions so we can decide upon the best way to proceed.

1. Do you have a COMPLETE WinXP installation CD, or ONLY the HP Recovery Disks?

2. HOW did you delete the information on the XP HDD? WHAT program or method did you use? PLEASE BE SPECIFIC in your reply.

3. What program did you use to create the GParted CD? Did you burn it as an IMAGE (an ISO file), or did you simply burn it the same way a music or video CD is created?

I fully realize that you want to make progress here, but I'm doing some research to see if we can UNDELETE the full format you performed on the XP HDD. This is a long shot, but if you don't have a COMPLETE XP CD, we might be forced to try to restore the original XP recovery partition from that HDD. Undeleting doesn't always work, especially after a thorough format, but without having the XP installation files on SOME type of media, we're going to be caught between a rock and a hard place with few or no options.

I'm going to continue my research and I'll check for your reply tomorrow (Wed Sept 21); in the meantime, please answer the questions I've asked and we'll try to brainstorm a workable solution. If you already have a complete XP CD to install from, let me know and we'll work from there.

Thanks; let's shoot for the best possible outcome on this.
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Old 09-21-2011, 06:23 AM   #6
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I have an UPGRADE for Windows 7, XP, and Vista. The full XP is on the HP recovery disks. When I purchased the HP, I begged for the full XP Microsoft disks since I paid for them and I foresaw such a problem, but the salesman refused stating this is the way HP did it by allowing us to make our own recovery disks. (Thank you HP!) I do have a full Windows Me but it is for Dell computers or at least states that on the CD.

I first used the HP recovery disks to reformat the hard drive, which as we know is not a total reformat. Once I received the purple code error message, I went on a tech support forum to ask for advice. Based on feedback received, and I don't remember exactly, but was told during the boot process on the hard drive itself (not from the HP recovery disks) to do a reformat and I believe I only chose the first partition. This time I could tell the computer was doing a real reformat.

I downloaded the GParted per your instructions below. I tried to copy it to the CD and was asked if I wanted to burn it which I did, but I don't know which program.

I am hoping we can install the XP from the HP recovery disks at some point since the files should still be on there.

Thanks again!
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:05 AM   #7
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Thanks for providing all of that information; let's see where we are now...

Under the current circumstances, I think we should try to find a way to UNDELETE the deleted partition on your HP HDD. You have nothing to lose by doing this; if you're successful, you should be able to restore XP with the HP Recovery CDs. If you're NOT successful, you'll have learned some new skills and you won't be any worse off than you are now.

There ARE ways to do a full install with an upgrade CD, but I don't want to go that far unless absolutely necessary. We'll drive off that bridge when we come to it... if we can't make this work any other way.

I don't know what OS you used to create the GParted CD; can you give me some information about that system (installed OS, brand and model should suffice). If it isn't "store-bought" (meaning it was a custom build, NOT an off-the-shelf model), let me know which motherboard it has, if you have that information handy.

I'm sure you realize I'm asking for this information to cover all the bases BEFORE we get into the voodoo. I've been repairing these things for a LONG time now, and I know how to work around most of the installation roadblocks we're likely to encounter. Some of this information will come in handy, so we might as well find out now where the landmines are, so we can try to avoid some of them, and mitigate the potential damage from the other ones.

You mentioned you think you chose the first partition to delete; odds are excellent that the FIRST partition was the HIDDEN XP partition, the one with the files we need to make the HP Recovery disks function. If we can restore it, those disks should work; we can deal with any Code Purple issues as they arise.

You also mentioned that you have upgrade disks for XP, Vista, and Win7; do you have a preference for installing Vista or Win7 on that HP unit INSTEAD of trying to recover XP? OR, would you prefer to install XP WITHOUT jumping through hoops trying to restore that hidden partition on the XP HDD? If we use that method, you'll never be able to run the HP Recovery option again, because the entire HDD would be wiped clean permanently, including the hidden partition. Some times you CAN put the genie back in the bottle, but sometimes you CAN'T, so I'd like to know what your preferences are BEFORE we begin.

A link to an HP page about your system:

HP Pavilion Media Center TV m7664x Desktop PC - HP Customer Care (United States - English)

Link about "upgrading" that system to Vista:

Upgrading to Windows Vista HP Pavilion Media Center TV m7664x Desktop PC - HP Customer Care (United States - English)

Please be sure to read the section titled, "Known issues after upgrading to Windows Vista" on that second page. I'm NOT a fan of Vista (or Win7, for that matter), so after reading that list of "known issues", you might want to avoid installing Vista on that system. Don't know if Win7 would be better or worse...

Just wondering if that system has a "Windows Vista Capable" sticker on it, or not...

Again, I realize that you probably want to get this over with, but forewarned is forearmed, and I'd rather go into this fight with a better idea of how nasty it might get. Please let me know what you'd prefer to do with this system:

1. Try to restore the original hidden XP partition so you can use XP Media Center Edition again; we don't know if this is even possible.

2. Delete ALL partitions and install XP from your upgrade disc (which means we'll have to chase down some of the drivers, though most of them should be available through HP).

3. Delete ALL partitions and install Vista or Win7 from an upgrade disc, although we don't know (yet) if compatible Vista / Win7 drivers are available for the hardware in that system.

4. Delete ALL partitions and install a nice Linux distro...

OK, this is back in your court now; please let me know what you'd prefer to do, and we'll try to make it happen. If your first preference won't work, we'll move to Plan B, whatever it might be; no matter what else happens, we WILL install an OS on that system.
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Old 09-21-2011, 03:02 PM   #8
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OK, I definitely don't want option 4 and I'm not a big fan of option 1 if we can get away from that. I do not plan on using the HP Recovery option ever again. I just wish to get this computer up and running with little to no expense to get me to next summer. At that point, I will trash this computer and purchase a replacement laptop (NOT HP) as a graduation gift for my son.

So either option 2 or 3 is fine with me although I would like to stay away from Vista. I purchased this computer the week that Vista was released, so HP sent me the upgrade disks for Vista a few weeks later that I never used since I heard many complaints about the Vista OS. Instead I used my Win 7 upgrade disks to upgrade this computer and it has been successfully running Win 7 for the last year or so. The only issue was that I kept getting "low memory" error messages that I kept having to close which was a nuisance, but it did not appear to affect the computer's performance. That is why I thought I would just go ahead and revert to the XP OS if possible. I have the MS upgrade disks for both XP and Win 7, so either is fine with me. I wasn't sure an upgrade disk would work though and that is why I was looking at option 1 and theoretically the full XP OS files on the HP recovery disks. I would like to stay away from these HP recovery disks if possible.

With respect to the GParted CD, I used XP OS on another HP computer, model a1640n which was totally off the shelf.
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Old 09-21-2011, 04:05 PM   #9
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What OS do you want to install?
If you want to install 7 using your upgrade copy: Clean Install Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums



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Old 09-21-2011, 06:35 PM   #10
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Well, it seems to me as if Tyree has come through once again; he provided an excellent link for our enlightenment. There is another link for doing a clean install of Win7 with a RETAIL Upgrade DVD, which you'll find here:

Clean Install with a Upgrade Windows 7 Version - Windows 7 Forums

I doubt you'll need any help following the steps in that tutorial, but if you hit a snag, feel free to post here again and I'm sure we can collectively get you past any obstacle you encounter.

I expect this will go smoothly; please let us know if you need help, or when you've got Win7 installed.

See you in the ether...
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Old 09-22-2011, 06:10 AM   #11
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Not much sense it trying to make it complicated. Simpler is generally better.



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Old 09-22-2011, 05:27 PM   #12
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You seriously didn't think it would be that easy, did you? :)

I am so close (I think) but it will not take my product key and states it is not valid.
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Old 09-22-2011, 07:13 PM   #13
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Call MS. They will help you with that problem and, if necessary, issue you a new number once they have established it is a genuine copy. There should be a toll free number listed.



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Old 09-22-2011, 07:13 PM   #14
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So I skipped or ignored the screen that asks for validation and it looks like Win 7 along with my Office programs (Word, Excel, etc) all successfully installed. However, since I have 30 days to activate, how do I now contact Microsoft to give them this product key and validate?
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Old 09-22-2011, 08:44 PM   #15
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OK, I finally got a hold of MS and he activated for me, so I am finally up and running. Thanks you guys!!! You are the best!!
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