The below mentioned guide will help you walk through the procedure and reformat Win XP on your own. This will essentially sideline the need of contacting Microsoft or Dell technical help.
Before you begin, take backup of your important data files, programs etc. If you don’t know where the product key is located, download and run a Win XP product key finder program from a trusted website. Save the downloaded file to an easily accessible location in your computer and run it from there. Once the installation has completed, open and run the file to initiate the procedure. It will hardly take some time to bring up the key. Note down the key on a piece of paper and exit all the windows. Back up all your data if you haven’t done so.
Now click on the Start menu and navigate to My Computer. Double click on the C:\ drive icon and then the Windows folder icon. Locate the folder named ‘i386’ under Windows folder and open it. If you are unable to locate it, click on the Tools tab at the top and then select Folder Options from the drop down menu. Highlight the View tab in the Folder Options window and then click to select Show hidden files and folders under Hidden files and folder heading. Click on the Apply button and then OK to exit the current window.
Double click to open the ‘i386’ folder and then on the file named Winnt32.exe. Follow the instructions and answer all the questions to erase (reformat) your hard drive and start all over again.
Unless specifically prompted or directed, do not touch any program\option or shutdown your computer. This may prove dangerous and create severe problems like system crash. When prompted, type in the product key and proceed. Ensure that you fill in all the information you are being asked for and follow all the instructions carefully.
When done, the computer will restart. Now it should be ready to run a neat and clean Win XP version. This procedure should let you reformat and reinstall Win XP without any disk.
You can alternatively choose to reformat your computer this way. Click on the Start menu and navigate to Control Panel. Locate and double click on the Administrative Tools icon in the Control Panel window. When prompted, hit the Continue button. Click on the Computer Management link and then hit the Continue button.
Click on the Storage icon and expand it by clicking on its plus sign. Click on the Disk Management icon and locate the drive (like C:\) that you want to reformat. Once located, right click on the particular drive and then select Format from the drop down options. Under the Format window, click on the dropdown menu next to File system and select NTFS. Leave other options to default and then hit the OK button.
This will initialize the formatting procedure. Follow all the instructions and wait until it finishes. Don’t shut down system when reformatting is under process. Reinstall Windows and other applications when the drive has been reformatted