All I want to do is start over again.
November 16, 2012 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Stupid computer-help question: Why is it so hard to reinstall Windows Vista 32 on a Dell Latitude D630?

I have a five-year-old Dell Latitude D630 Laptop. I have the original Windows Vista 32 reinstallation disk. I want to delete everything on the computer and reinstall Windows so it's nice and clean and I can use it as a work laptop. Every time I get to the screen about selecting a partition, it tells me there's not enough space.

I have 5.41 GB free of 72.4 GB on C: and 1.4 GB free of 1.99 on D:. How can I make it just delete everything and start over? Do I really need to go through my add / remove program list and uninstall everything extra??

This is frustrating -- I've been doing this all morning and I need it done so I can work!! Thanks.
posted by mibo to Technology (6 answers total)
Open up "My Computer" right click on "Local Disk" or whatever your C: drive is called (assuming you've got just the one main harddrive), and then click "Format". Once you're done formatting the drive, it'll be entirely empty, and your computer won't start up into Windows again unless you've got a boot disc in the drive. Just put in the Vista disc and start up the machine, and it should have you just starting a clean install from there.

Hmmm I just realized I was doing this from an XP machine... so it might be slightly different on Vista, but the general idea is that formatting will delete everything (documents, pictures, programs, EVERYTHING, so make backups to another hard-drive or disk if there's anything you want to keep) and then you do a clean install from there.
posted by Grither at 7:04 AM on November 16, 2012

There isn't an option to format and install from the install disk? I don't think you can format from within the OS, you need to do it from an external source, like an install disk.

Also, are you sure you have a reinstall disc and not a recovery disk? A recovery disk may be trying to install the OS in a new partition while not hurting your existing files, and you don't have space for that.
posted by COD at 7:08 AM on November 16, 2012

You need to go to the advanced drive options during setup and just do a quick format of the primary partition.

I've never heard of any reason for formatting your boot partition in Windows; I don't believe that will even work.
posted by zephyr_words at 7:13 AM on November 16, 2012

1. I can't format my C: while running Windows from my C:.

2. All I could do was click "install / run" from the disk drive under "Computer." It will not initiate during reboot.

3. I don't have an advanced drive option during set up.

Now My Computer isn't even showing the disk! And it's in the drive!
posted by mibo at 7:42 AM on November 16, 2012

You hit F12 during POST (while the DELL logo is on the screen) and in the upper left corner it will say something like "Preparing list of boot devices...". The timing is a little tricky, just keep hitting it until you see something like that. Then choose your CD/DVD device to boot from it.

Then it might say "press any key to boot from CD". Do that.

THEN you follow the prompts and do what xephyr_woods says when you get to the area where you want to install Windows. In the advanced options area, you might see a small partition at the beginning of the drive marked "Dell" without a drive letter attached. Don't delete that one. But delete the other one(s). Then you will have "unpartitioned space" on which you can tell Windows to install itself.

Please note: doing this reinstall will erase everything on the computer. It will be pretty much exactly as it was when it came out of the box. Any documents and programs that you installed will be gone.
posted by gjc at 7:55 AM on November 16, 2012

You won't get "Advanced drive options" unless you are booting from the install disk.
On a d630 you need to hit the F12 button while the Dell logo is pops up. You may need to tap it a few times to make sure it takes. You'll be presented with a list of boot options - you'll want to choose the CD/DVD drive. Keep watching, though, it will ask you to hit a key in order to boot from CD.
posted by charred husk at 7:56 AM on November 16, 2012

« Older Why are condoms suddenly causing me problems?   |   Ideas for a quality birthday gift. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.