format c drive with dos error

April 2, 2005 at 11:00:27
Specs: windows xp pro, 700mhz/256mb

Im trying to format my c: hard drive using DOS. But when I type in the command format c: in the prompt area I get bad command or file name. What is the correct command to type or what is the best way to format my hard drive for a fresh install?

See More: format c drive with dos error

Report •

April 2, 2005 at 11:26:26

You don't need to use DOS, the XP CD does it all

To format from DOS you require a DOS bootable floppy or CD which has the '' command present - if it's not, you get the well known 'bad command or filename' message

Anyone in the XP forum could have told you - it's actually the best place to pose XP questions

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Report •

April 2, 2005 at 12:54:54

I dont have the XP disc.... I was going to go back to 2000 and erase my whole drive. Ive gotten dos up and ready. Ive typed in format c: and it says that it cant do it in dos. I have the copied to the floppy for boot up. What do I do now if it says that?

Report •

April 2, 2005 at 13:52:38

The W2K CD is bootable and has the neccessary tools, the W2K forum would of advised the same:


Report •

Related Solutions

April 2, 2005 at 17:30:02

Good lord - - yes, it's the same thing, although one wonders why you're posting your OS as XP

Using DOS means you have to learn a thing or two - not much, but seemingly beyond some folks. Fortunately you have Windows to walk you through it

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.

Report •

April 3, 2005 at 01:59:59

If you really want to use real dos:-

a) It is firdt worth checking out the dos command FDISK.

This can be used to remove old and/or setup new partions on your hdd.

I always enable LBA and use fat32 rather than ntfs

b) Then the dos command FORMAT is used.

I use:-



for help, either enter

HELP command
command /?

If help info greater than one screen, |MORE provides paging. e.g.


Good luck - Keep us posted.

Report •

April 3, 2005 at 08:33:01


Either FORMAT is on the floppy or it isn't.

There's not much greu area there.

If it is, format c: /s is correct.

If it isn't, it's still the correct symtax, but you'll get the 'bad command or file name'


If at first you don't succeed, you're about average.

Report •

April 3, 2005 at 14:14:50

This is for XP but NT4/W2K3/W2K are similar:;en-us;307848


Report •

April 27, 2005 at 22:34:50

use fat32 bootdisk

1. go DOS
2. insert disk and type A:
3. type format c:

it should work!


Report •

May 4, 2005 at 07:32:18

Oy. The correct command to type is FORMAT C:. However, you must look at your prompt. Are you at an A:\> prompt and getting the BAD COMMAND message? If so, that simply means the FORMAT program is not at the root of the floppy and the computer can't find it. If the program FORMAT was inside a folder called TOOLS on the A drive, you'd need to be at an A:\TOOLS> prompt for FORMAT to be found. So the question is - how do you search for the FORMAT program? To search your floppy, type DIR A:\FORMAT /S. This will search all subfolders on the A drive looking for FORMAT. If your CD-ROM drive is D:, you'd type DIR D:\FORMAT /S to find where FORMAT lives on the CD-ROM. Once found, use the CD command to change to that directory to finally run FORMAT. For example, assume FORMAT is on a CD-ROM in your D drive. At the A:\> prompt, type DIR D:\FORMAT /S. You may see now that FORMAT lives in a folder named WIN98. So, from the A:\> prompt type D: to switch to the CD-ROM drive. Now at the D:\> prompt, type CD WIN98 to switch to the WIN98 folder on the CD (where FORMAT lives). Now at the D:\WIN98> prompt, type FORMAT C:. Easy, right?
Of course, from an A:\> prompt, you could simply type D:\WIN98\FORMAT C: and that would work too.

Report •

Ask Question