Reformatted my hard drive and xp won't load

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 sssmurphy -
Hi All, Thanks for the help. I am giving my laptop to my son and wanted to remove all information prior to the transfer. I reformatted the hard drive using the XP restore disk. The computer had more than one partition and I only reformatted the C drive. Since then I have been unable to install Windows XP onto the computer. I contacted Dell support and they told me it was a bad hard drive but I have successfully loaded Noppix. When I try to install XP the computer ask me to hit any key to continue then goes to a black scree with flashing cursor. I am unable to move from that screen or type with the cursor. I have run the system diagnostics and all systems test OK. I am at this time on another computer, downloading a huge file from Windows that is supposed to let me create a PE disk. I was told that possibly I deleted some files necessary for installing windows and that the PE disk will reinstall those files. In case that doesn't work are there any other ideas out there?

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Windows can't read linux formatted 'drives'. A physical drive can be split into a number of partitions (which Windows then calls drives, even tho they are all on the same physical drive). So to solve this i would use a linux distro (version of linux) as a boot cd and then use the linux partition editor to delete the linux partitions. This would leave the drive empty and Windows can usually just about manage to cope with that.

To get a linux boot cd i would try this ...
Perhaps try downloading Ubuntu (any other distro would do too) from
http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download
then make a cd of it by double-clicking on the iso file, this guide might help
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BurningIsoHowto
i tend to find the cheapest "write once" cds that you can only get in blocks of 10 or more are better for this than more expensive cds and dvds tend to be really rubbish for this. Anyway once you have the cd then boot up from it to the menu with "Try Ubuntu without changes to this machine", if you don't get that menu then this guide might help
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/BootFromCD
Choosing the "Try Ubuntu ... " option should get you to a working desktop which we call a "LiveCd session", if it works ;) Most versions of linux have this feature although they don't all have such a fancy menu. Ubuntu's LiveCd has firefox on the top taskbar and should have worked out your internet connection so having got a LiveCd session working you should be able to surf around. In ubuntu go up to the top taskbar and click on

System - Administration - Partition Editor

That should show a nice graphic of how your drive is setup. You might ned to right click and do "umount" or " "SwapOff" before you can delete the partition. Once all the partitions are deleted your Windows should be able to see the hard-drive.
Thank You!!!! That did the trick!