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  1. #1
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Formatting Windows 98

    I need to format a 3.5-year-old Win98 machine that is having some problems. It has never been formatted before and I've got the instructions on how to do it, backup, etc. But is there anything else I should do before I take a deep breath and do it? How long does it typically take? The harddrive is 10 GB and about half full, it's a PII 400 Mhz.

    My other question was about USB and other hardware devices. I assume I'm going to have to reinstall all of them eventually, but what about my cordless Logitech mouse? Will it not work after I reinstall and should I plug the old one that came with the computer in temporarily?

    Lastly, is it okay to leave the printer, scanner, burner, etc. plugged in or is it best to unplug them so Windows doesn't prompt to install six different new pieces of hardware on my first restart?

    Any useful device for a first-time formatter is appreciated. I've never had to do this before, but it will be a good experience and since this isn't my main computer, I'm not too worried.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    A format of a harddisk with that size doesn't take that long. I wouldn't expect it too take up more then 15 minutes.
    And yes, those hardware devices need to be reinstalled after the format and the installation of Windows. I assume Windows won't recognise the cordless Logitech mouse right away, since the drivers for it are probably not included in Windows 98. I would recommend to plug in the old mouse, until you have a chance to get the right drivers installed on that machine, before you plug in the cordless Logitech mouse.

    It is quite okay to leave your printer, scanner and burner plugged in. I have never unplugged those when formatting and it went just fine all the time. You are right that Windows will prompt you to install new hardware devices that it found a few times right after the installation. If you don't want it to happen, unplug some or all of them. I always like to get that over with as soon as possible.

    I have one piece of advice. After you format your pc it will probably not recognise your CD-rom anymore. You need to install the drivers for it in DOS. I have a setup-disk my dad once created for you. If I boot the pc, I just have to make sure it is in the floppy drive and the drivers will be installed. I think you are likely to need one of those as well. I will see if I can find it for you, and e-mail you the contents in a zip file. I recommend you create that disk, since I don't know any other way to get the CD-rom up and running. When your CD-rom is working again, you should be fine .

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    back up anything you need first of course... but i reckon that's probably already been done... formatting doesn't take too long but you can go ahead and take a shower or go make yourself a cup of coffee (or 2 cups at that )

    as for USB devices, i'm not sure cos i've never had a USB device before (!! yes it's true)... but it's always handy to keep a PS/2 or serial one closeby just in case...

    and you can leave your devices in... you'd first have to go thru the task of installing windows first and depending on your version of windows, it will probably auto-detect and auto-install the drivers for you... if not, make sure you have your driver disks close at hand... and printers, scanners that are turned off probably won't be detected anyway
    Last edited by redemption; May 11, 2002 at 11:31.

  4. #4
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice, I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything before going through with this later today. I'm going to do the format and then try to get my wireless network to work immediatently and hope it works upon a fresh install.

    One more thing: what kind of things will be included when you format? Will IE, OE, etc. be there? What about Office products? I have a restoration CD from my computer-maker, it'd be best to add all the stuff on that back?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy redemption's Avatar
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    IE and OE will be there (unless you install win95 or win 3.x )... but Microsoft Office won't... it comes in another cd-rom which your vendor *may* have given you (unlikely though)... as for the restoration CD, again i can't help cos i never bought from a vendor who gives restoration CD's (i build my own system )

    and to emphasize a point, make sure you've all your driver disks... and another thing, you may want to copy down your Dial-up adapter settings if any as well as any connection settings which you don't have records of...

  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot anam's Avatar
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    Smile

    Hi Marc,

    It's not a difficult or time-consuming task really, it's the preparation you want to be most careful of. As others have said, be sure any data you want to save is backed up (don't forget your browser bookmarks!)

    Make a startup disk by going to Control Panel --> Add/Remove Programs -->Startup Disk tab. This requires one floppy disk. After formatting you will reboot your system with this floppy disk in the drive. I haven't had a problem accessing the CD-ROM using this disk, and the Windows setup will ask you if you want CD-ROM support. But just in case, go here and read and print these instructions first (note that AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS will already be on the startup disk you made, so don't mind the noting of them there). Usually the whole thing is pretty straightforward, though.

    In addition to backing up your data, take the given advice of backing up settings, such as dialup information, network information and etc. Write down your settings, usernames and passwords, anything you ever set up on your own and want to restore. This would include email, FTP settings (or back up your FTP program's .ini file and restore it), and the like. If you've forgotten a password and can only see the asterisks (****), PM me and I can send you a handy little program I have which you can use to see the password in plain text so you can write it down.

    I would also go to the Control Panel --> System --> Device Manager, and write down your device info from there, including modem, sound cards and video. Just in case you don't have a needed driver, you can use that info to find one online using another computer and can just take it on disk over to the reformatted one. I have never used a manufacturer's "system restore" CD's as I think they load a lot of unnecessary junk on your PC, but you may be able to use them just to extract certain drivers if needed. If you have your MS Office on disk, just use that to reinstall Office.

    Unplugging devices like printers is a personal preference; personally I do so, so I am not bombarded and nagged while trying to set up all my basic Windows stuff. After I'm settled I do them one by one. That's just me.

    Best of luck and let us know how it goes! If you have any difficulties be sure to detail them here; I'm sure you'll find more help.

    All the best,
    Trish

  7. #7
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    First thing you should do is throw your win98 CD away and install a real operating system (win2k). IF you're reinstalling anyways there will never be a better time.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  8. #8
    Making a better wheel silver trophy DR_LaRRY_PEpPeR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by aspen
    First thing you should do is throw your win98 CD away and install a real operating system (win2k).
    yeah baby.
    - Matt ** Ignore old signature for now... **
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  9. #9
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the help, particularly, Trish. I've done most of those things, made a startup disk, burned all the data I need to CD, etc.

    Funny thing, my computer started working yesterday as I was fiddling around - the Internet worked again and all seemed to be well. A networking support guy came to my house to try to get my Linksys network working and we had no success and that same old nagging problem has reoccurred. So it looks like I'm back at step one and will need to reinstall next weekend afterall.

    Oh, and keep in mind that this is not my computer (mine's on 2K), this is my 3.5-year-old family computer and I would get XP on it except that it would be cutting it close with minimum requirements as well as many things like my 8-year-old inkjet HP printer (works like a charm) and scanner aren't compatable with new OSes.

  10. #10
    Posts rarely lloydi's Avatar
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    This is a suggestion for after you've reinstalled:

    * Buy Norton Ghost

    You can ghost your machine - that is take an image of it exactly with all your settings etc - and burn on to CD. If you ever need to reinstall, all you need do is boot up with a floppy startup disk, run Ghost.exe (which is a tiny program that you can also burn on to the CD along with your ghost image), then retrieve your ghost image.

    Believe me, you will NEVER regret buying this software - you can format you drive and within 10/15 minutes have EVERYTHING back with no need to reinstall drivers, no need to keep pressing OK, Cancel buttons and the like!

    Plain sailing ...
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict kevin_tremblay's Avatar
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    I agree with lloydi.. NORTON GHOST. Get an image of your system and in 15-20 minutes you have a fully restored system and you are off and running again.

    Being a Systems admin we use in the office a product called Image cast but GHOST works well for home use and is cheaper.
    Kevin Tremblay-- Sys Admin
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