Can't format Windows partition

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by Mac & Beanz, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Mac & Beanz macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009
    '09 iMac, 10.5.7, Windows XP Professional SP2, full install (not an upgrade)

    I go through the Boot Camp process:
    • Partitioning @ 50GB
    • Install Windows Disk
    • Start Installation
    • Installation starts
    • ... and when i get to "selecting the correct partition for Windows XP," I highlight “C: Partition3 <BOOTCAMP> [FAT32]”- Note that this is the only option available - (per Boot Camp Installation and Setup Guide; page 9) and press Enter; it automatically goes to the installation process, skipping the step where I Select an NTFS or FAT format (page 10 of the Guide) - FYI: I know I would select NTFS to partition the drive due to the size being >32GB - I just don't get the chance :-(
    Unfortunately this does not allow Windows XP to reformat the drive (per page 10 of the Boot Camp Installation and Setup Guide). This is an important step, according to the guide ("Even though Boot Camp pre-formats the Windows partition, this partition can't be used to boot the computer. You must reformat the new Windows partition using the Windows installer").

    When it skips the reformat step - you get stuck in a loop. It installs XP in the Windows partition, but upon completion it wants you to 'press any key' to boot from the disk (if you do this you go back to the beginning of the process - repeating the same steps), and if you do not 'press any key' you get a disk error.

    Now; you have to hold in the power button to shut-down (keyboard no longer functions). If you hold the option key while restarting, and choose the Windows partition; you get the same disk error.

    Any advise on how I can get the Windows disk to reformat the partition? I know this is my problem :)

    While Boot Camp may have formated as NTFS - Windows still does not recognize the Boot Camp format.

    Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Mac & Beanz thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009

    ... I got it!

    Some guy named Talez from the macnn forum discovered that the problem is with a file named winnt.sif. Check your Windows XP install disk and see if this file is in the I386 folder. If it is - it will need removed.

    Of course this isn't that straight forward, but this other guy, KRGA, from the same forum has a link to Paul Thurrott's site

    that has EXCELLENT directions. If you already have SP2 - skip his steps 2 & 3 (as they have to do with slipstreaming SP2 to earlier versions of XP). And don't forget to delete the winnt.sif from the I386 folder before you proceed with Step 4.

    In a nutshell
    • you copy your install disk to your hard drive (I used my old PC, hopefully for the last time!)
    • Delete the troublesome file
    • Download the free version of a shareware program named "ISOBuster" to make an image (of the hidden windows file that makes the disk bootable) to (my) C: Drive
    • Burn a bootable CD

    I had to burn two disks as the first one wouldn't boot. Bad disk I assume. I deleted my earlier partition (using Boot Camp Assistant) and started over (50 GB partition) using my newly created disk and everything worked like a champ!

    I'm not totally without computer skills, but they are closer to the bottom of the knowledge chart, so I was a bit worried - but this was really easy. I had no part in arriving at this fix so hopefully, I gave credit where it was due. Conversely, I want no part if anything goes wrong during your trials :)

    Thank You and Good Luck,

    ~ Rick
  3. spaceboots06 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2009
    The Rotten Apple
    I've seen this problem before... now I know how to solve it myself!

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