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Tips for reformatting a hard drive

By JOHN TORRO

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 30, 2000


Q: How do I reformat the hard drive on my no-name PC? I have the Windows 98 CD and startup disk, as well as all drivers that are needed except for the CD-ROM.

Q: I need to reformat my hard drive because I have lost too many programs and deleted the wrong stuff for too long. What is the best way to do it? I upgraded from Windows 95 to Windows 98 and the problems started from there.

A: The first thing you need to make sure of is that you have a Windows 95/98 startup disk (it's a floppy) that when booted to will let you access the CD-ROM drive. Windows 98 automatically puts generic CD-ROM drivers on the startup disk created through Control Panel, Add/Remove Program, Create Startup Disk. Windows 95 users can add these drivers to a startup disk (you'll need the special Real Mode driver diskettes that came with your CD-ROM). However, even a Windows 98 startup disk will work for a system that has, or will be loaded with, Windows 95. This is the much easier option and the one I recommend. If you don't have Windows 98, find someone who does and have a startup disk created for you.

Before formatting your hard drive, make sure you have all the information you will need. This includes any special device drivers that may not be supplied by the Windows install (this may include modem or network adapters and any other peripheral that is connected to your system). Also make a note of any TCP/IP information you may need to re-enter in order to connect to your Internet service provider (Control Panel, Network, Properties, then check the TCP/IP protocol settings). Also make sure you have your Windows software license number that came with the original media; you'll need this during Windows setup.

Finally, reboot with the startup disk. Again, make sure you can "see" your CD-ROM drive. Put the Windows CD in and try navigating to it: enter D: (or in Windows 98, E:) and press enter. Next do a directory list, enter DIR and press enter. You should see a list of files and directories. Now you can be confident that at least you'll be able to reload Windows. Go back to the A: drive (enter A: and press enter). From there enter: FORMAT C: and press enter. You'll be asked to confirm this and warned that you'll be erasing the existing data. Answer Yes. Once the format is complete, switch back to the CD-ROM drive (D: or E:) and from there you should be able to type: SETUP and press enter to initiate the Windows installation.

Adding sound events

Q. How do you add events to the Sounds Properties? I can see where the labels (for the Sound Properties screen) and the links to the sound (.wav) files are located in the Registry. How do I enter what triggers the event, and how do you tie it to the labels and links?

A. You can add sounds only to Windows events or events in applications that are "exposed" for this functionality. What you see in the Sounds area of the Control Panel is a listing of exposed events for Windows and applications that have registered events for sound. Adding new events for Windows or programs is not possible for the end user.

Clearing your history

Q. My URL menu is full of unwanted Web sites. How can I delete the contents of the window or single entries?

A. From the Internet Explorer menu bar click Tools, Internet Options. On the General tab click the Clear History button.

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