Clean Install of Windows XP

Dear Computer Lady,

I have been trying to reformat my old computer..but every time I try..I get a message that the process cannot proceed that the information on the Windows XP cd is less than what I have installed since the Win cd is 2002 w/ SP1 and I have SP 3 installed…the note has a grayed out continued button???? Any suggestions? I have tried and really cannot afford to get a computer tech to do it…and am pretty good at this stuff..but am at a loss here.

Thanks, Cheryl


Dear Cheryl,

It sounds like you are upgrading or installing Windows over your existing installation, which is why you are getting this error message.

What you need to do, is get rid of the partition that has your old installation of Windows, and format a new partition. That is the only way to create a truly clean install of Windows XP.

This erases your hard drive, so MAKE SURE you have all your files backed up to an external drive of some sort, then disconnect that external drive from your computer.

During your installation of Windows, when you get to the screen that shows the existing partitions on your computer, simply use the up and down arrow to highlight each partition, then follow the directions on the screen to delete that partition, usually, you press the letter D, followed by several more steps just to make sure that is what you want to do.

Once you have deleted all the partitions, you should be left with one unpartitioned space. Highlight that space, and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard to start installing Windows.

The Windows setup program will automatically create a partition and format it for you.

If you need more help getting Windows XP installed, try getting help from the PCBUILD list at Once you join the PCBUILD list there, you can ask questions and their experts will be happy to help you with your installation. You can also look through the list archives and see if anyone else has had the same problem as you.


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