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Hi,

My home desktop computer is a fairly old 2001 CPU and the system is running really slow, so slow that even basic internet surfing isn't possible.

I am trying to do a fresh format on my hard drive which has 4 partitions. The OS is ofcourse on the C:/ drive. My CD-ROM drive does not work, hence even having a WIN XP bootable CD is not of much use.

I created an image of the WIN XP CD-ROM on a seagate Free Agent 500 GB hard drive. But my deskop does not recognise. How can I get the CPU to boot from the Free Agent and carry out a fresh installation?:4-dontkno
 

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You should really get a CD-ROM drive. They're like 30 bucks or less these days (nothing fancy - just CD-ROM or DVD-ROM - no need for CD-R/W or DVD+/-R/W).

Remember to back up all your important files (bookmarks, e-mails, images, documents, videos, etc.) if you plan to format.

Anyway if you really want to do it without a CD, here's what you can try. This method requires your first partition be in FAT32 (you can convert it to NTFS when you install XP though). I won't work on drives over 128GB (that's the absolute limit for Windows 98).
You'll need a Windows 98 floppy disk at the very least, with the basic files to boot, and the deltree (part of Windows 98) command on it.
Remember, this will only work if your C: drive is FAT32. Don't even try it if C: is in NTFS.
First copy all the contents of the Windows XP CD from the image (extract them first if necessary) to a folder on your C: drive. Maybe into a folder named XP.
Next boot into the Windows 98 floppy. Go to the C: drive by typing
C:
then type
smartdrv
to speed things up.
then delete all the folders and files by typing
deltree *.*
It will ask you to confirm each. Say yes to everything EXCEPT the XP folder.
Then go to the XP installation folder by typing
cd xp
then
cd i386
You should see the prompt saying C:\XP\I386> if everything is successful at this stage
then type
WINNT
then setup will proceed as expected.
 

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I just spotted some errors in my post. You have to type smartdrv before you go to C: because smartdrv.exe would be on the floppy (duh me!). And you'd have to run deltree from A: as well (double duh!) Anyhow, the order of the commands would be like this after booting from the Windows 98 floppy:
smartdrv
C:
A:deltree *.*
(to which you say yes to everything, except the folder with the XP installation files in it)
CD XP
CD I386
WINNT
 
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