How do I reformat entire computer?

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  1. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,515
    Windows 10 Pro
       #21

    Looks like possibly a bad USB flash drive - or a flash drive that was previously formatted as GPT by a utility such as Rufus.
      My Computer

  2. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,745
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #22

    NavyLCDR said:
    Looks like possibly a bad USB flash drive - or a flash drive that was previously formatted as GPT by a utility such as Rufus.
    That last possibility is the more likely one, last year I tested and confirmed that the Media Creation Tool fails with error code 0x80004005 - 0xA001A if the USB you ask it to use has a gpt partition.
      My Computers

  3. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,048
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #23

    How to Fix Media Creation Tool Error Code 0x80004005 0xa001a?
    - so you can try fix 4 - Format it as Fat32.
      My Computers

  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 18,745
    10 Home x64 (20H2) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #24

    dalchina said:
    ... so you can try fix 4 - Format it as Fat32.
    Doesn't work if the usb has a gpt partition table, you have to convert it back to mbr first. I tested that too...

    Bree said:
    After failure, the USB is left 'unalocated'. You can create a new simple volume using Disk Management to make it accessible again but, critically, its is STILL using a gpt partition layout. Only DISKPART or a tool like MiniTool Partition Wizard can make it MBR again.
    USB flash drive --assign drive letter back to dynamic from static Solved - Page 3 - Windows 10 Forums
      My Computers


  5. Posts : 304
    Windows 10 home Version 10.0.19041 Build 19041
    Thread Starter
       #25

    It seems that the farther I go down the road the more trouble I get into. I now can't boot the notebook computer at all. See the error message in the image.

    I can boot (but not into Windows) from a Macrium image. It asks where I want to restore the image, but my NB computer isn't listed. The only option appears to be the external HDD where the image is located, and it shows it as C:\ drive. I'm hesitant to allow that operation because the Macrium warning says that all information on the disk will be overwritten.

    So I go back to trying to work from a USB stick and start with the post above
    Looks like possibly a bad USB flash drive - or a flash drive that was previously formatted as GPT by a utility such as Rufus.
    and see that this thread cites some reservations with that approach.

    Bree's post suggestions and a cut/pasted information from Minitool manual below.

    From USB flash drive --assign drive letter back to dynamic from static Solved - Page 3 - Windows 10 Forums

    After failure, the USB is left 'unalocated'. You can create a new simple volume using Disk Management to make it accessible again but, critically, its is STILL using a gpt partition layout. Only DISKPART or a tool like MiniTool Partition Wizard can make it MBR again.


    From MTPW manual:

    Note 1: MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition does not support the management of volume and dynamic disks. It only supports basic disks of MBR style and GPT style.
    Note 2: MiniTool Partition Wizard does support removable disks well like USB or external disks.

    Software that I have includes:
    • Minitool Protection Wizard Free
    • Macrium Free
    • Acronis 12
    • Windows Repair Disk (but it doesn't appear to be able to boot my troubled computer)


    How do I reformat entire computer?-dsc_3350.jpg
      My Computers

  6. NavyLCDR's Avatar
    Posts : 15,515
    Windows 10 Pro
       #26

    Seems to me like you need to get on a computer that is running Windows normally, without any issues, and create a new Windows 10 USB flash drive:
    Download Windows 10

    Boot the troubled computer with the flash drive created from the Media Creation Tool which is the program you get when you click on the "Download tool now" button on the webpage above.
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 304
    Windows 10 home Version 10.0.19041 Build 19041
    Thread Starter
       #27

    Yes, I have several computers. I'll create the Windows 10 installation stick and set it aside to use either now or when I can finally wipe my notebook computer clean. In my innocence, or naivete, I thought that I would easily be able to Simply wipe my notebook computer clean and install Windows using a downloadable executable as you suggest.
      My Computers

  8. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 10,550
    Win10 Pro Versions 2004 and 2009/20H2, Win10 Pro IP_Dev, Win10 Home 1909
       #28

    lbeck said:
    In my innocence, or naivete, I thought that I would easily be able to Simply wipe my notebook computer clean and install Windows using a downloadable executable as you suggest.
    I do find it relatively easy but not using Windows. I download the Free GPARTED .iso file, create the bootable CD [it runs a limited version of Linux], boot to it and wipe all partitions to set the drive back to its as-shipped condition [from the factory]. Then I install Windows from the bootable media, either USB Thumb drive or a DVD+R or DVD-R disc.

    I've not had any issue with the MCT, it automatically reformats any USB Thumb drive as FAT32 which wipes any data off but has the usual limit of 32GB.

    When installing Windows on a clean drive I just let it do its thing, create partitions as it needs.
      My Computers

  9. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,048
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #29

    In my innocence, or naivete, I thought that I would easily be able to Simply wipe my notebook computer clean and install Windows using a downloadable executable
    Formatting the drive is an option presented as a normal part of the clean install procedure - post #2.

    To do a clean install of Windows you need an appropriate bootable Windows installation medium.
      My Computers


  10. Posts : 304
    Windows 10 home Version 10.0.19041 Build 19041
    Thread Starter
       #30

    Update:

    • I probably should have taken better notes on what I've already tried
    • I created the USB flash drive as directed in #26. That did indeed install W10
    • I now am at the same point that I described in my post #6, with my drives still being dynamic rather than basic and the following exceptions from my post #6 (not sure)

    - Now all of my data is on the C:\ drive rather than the various folders like "My Documents
    - I apparently need to reinstall my display driver. The display is wonkey (circles are ovals) and I can’t seem to adjust using the settings menu.
    - Other partitions that came installed with my HP notebook like System, Tools, and Recovery now have different drive settings

    So I’ve come almost full circle except with a few steps backwards. I’ll try more carefully to follow Post #2 and #7 as suggested. Possibly I missed as step with those earlier. I’ll also check with my other software to see if there is a simpler way to revert my computer back to the way it was out of the box.
      My Computers


 
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