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Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,723
Likes: 1
Scott35 Online Happy OP
Broom Pusher and
Hello all,

I am looking for a good Disk Formatting Utility (Uninstaller), to re-format my Wife's Drive on Her new Dell Machine.

Reason: Vista is way too annoying, and I want to completely remove the Vista O.S., then install XP.

Not sure if these Utilities are like they were back in the days (1990's to early 2000's), so if anyone has suggestions, please let me know.

Do not want to use Vista's FORMAT routine (DOS Command), as this will result in the drive retaining Vista via the Format.

I want to make the drive like I just bought it - totally Boot Track and O.S. free - just high level Formatted
(if you installed the drive, hooked everything up, made sure BIOS knows what it is, then let the machine go past POST, you see the message brought up at Interrupt 80: "Non-System Disk - Reboot").

Again, any suggested Uninstall Utilities that are stable + reliable would be greatly appreciated.
Price is not very critical - I am willing to spend upto $80.00 if the Utility is what I need.

Thanks in advance!!!



*** Now, For My Tirade!!! ***


I don't know where Microsoft was going with Vista, only that someone was smoking a LOT of Crack!!! mad

Besides the normal irritating issues of endless warnings that
"Virii MAY Exist - Vista does not trust you enough to play on your own PC, Bring in the Micro biological Police!!!",
there are several real serious, productivity loss Application issues.

Several very stable, important, and most of all - EXPENSIVE Applications which worked excellent on XP (Home + Pro) - even with Win 98, will either;
* Not be allowed to install (Install Routine not accepted by Vista because of signature),
* If installed, Applications will not execute - no matter how much tweaking is done!

Microsoft does not offer anything regarding these issues - only to update to a Vista Certified version.
No vendors have patches for these issues, only offer to sell the most current version, with Vista Compatibility.

Another issue which drove me nuts was setting up a Network Printer (connected to a Print Server, not connected to another PC).

Known working Server / Printer (worked on all OS from W98 through XP).

Can set it up and print a test page (after going through a lot more work than really is necessary!!!).
After closing the Printers Window from Control Panel, the Printer becomes "Offline" - and cannot be reset to "Online" , no matter what you try!!!
Only deleting the Printer, rebooting, then reinstalling the printer will get another test page to print.
Closing the Printers Window, once again sets that printer to "Offline" - unable to make "Online".

No print from an application (spools and held in Print Manager - for ever!), and if the Printers Window is reopened, printing a test page does nothing (with or without the Print Queue empty!).

Way too frustrating!!!

My Wife and I bought the new Machine from Dell - which at the time of purchase, did not offer the Machine with XP as the Operating System.

We figured there would be some issues, as Vista is a new OS, and is most likely the first release (end-user bug finding test version!) - but we never expected this much trouble!

So, until we format the drive and install XP, she is using her old Celeron-Based Machine to work on important stuff, and the new PC with Vista is only used to play Pogo games and Solitaire!!! (oh, E-mail too!)

< 9990 TIRADE MODE = 1 >
< 10000 = A$ >
< A$ = EXIT RAGE MODE "YES" = 1, "NO" = 0 >
< IF 10000 = 1, THEN TIRADE MODE = 0, ELSE GOTO 10 >

Well, thanks for reading my Tirade! I feel better now!


Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 947
twh Offline
Can't help with the disk formatting problem, but enjoyed the tirade. I dropped MS after 2000. I think it's just a virus that forces you to buy other software to keep your computer running.

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
there is a (previously) undocumented option in the plain old fdisk program that comes on the venerable old windowns 95/98 bootdisk. fdisk /mbr should wipe out the master boot record on your hard drive and leave future winOS installers clueless as to the previous existence of any older OS'es you had on the disk.

From the MS website:

The MS-DOS Fdisk utility usually updates the master boot record (MBR) only if no master boot record exists. Repartitioning with Fdisk does not rewrite this information.

Fdisk has an undocumented parameter called /mbr that causes it to write the master boot record to the hard disk without altering the partition table information.

Warning Writing the master boot record to the hard disk in this manner can make certain hard disks partitioned with SpeedStor unusable. It can also cause problems for some dual-boot programs and disks with more than four partitions."

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 276
If you google win98 bootdisk there are a hundred sites where you can download one for free and copy it to a floppy. I saw a 3 pack of sandisk usb drives for sale at costco for $40 so I bought them and converted one to boot linux. That's an OS with some great formatting tools, if you want to get technical and possibly into unfamilar territory. But it gives you a ton of options and formats to deal with as compared to the 2-3 that MS support. In the realm of the more familiar, and fdisk /mbr plus a normal reformat or repartition as the situation demands should be enough to get you to the point where windows sees no previous OS. Best part: it's free with existing tools smile Just have to sit though that long slow bootup via floppy

linux user since '98...

Last edited by trollog; 05/24/08 01:19 PM.
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 404
If you're reinstalling from the XP CD, just boot from it. When it asks you what partition to install, delete the Vista partition, then have it make a new NTFS partition and install. Make sure you do a full format, not "Quick Format".

If you absolutely must use third-party software, I recommend BootIt NG:

It allows you to make a bootable floppy or CD, from which you can do all kinds of partition work.

Last edited by noderaser; 05/25/08 06:57 PM.
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 7,520
That's what I'd do too. Just start up in DOS from an older 95/98 boot disk then run FORMAT to start afresh. Use FDISK first if you want to re-organize partitions, of course.

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,948
Likes: 34
W/98 can only make FAT partitions. It would certainly give you a clean start tho when XP came along and repartitioned the drive NTFS.

Greg Fretwell
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 81
One thing you could try is look at the hard drive and get its name, go to the manufacturers website and see if they have an intial formating tool for you hard drive and just bring it back to factory settings. I have done this countless times on Maxel and seagate drives and I would suspect other manufacturers have similar software.

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