Due to the hike in the prices of all hardware stuff, you wouldn't want to go for a new hard disk when the headlined problem (above) occurs in your PC running on Windows XP. This problem nagged me when suddenly I had a system crash and the only option was formatting my C drive and performing a clean install. I was going through the normal process of drive formatting when suddenly exactly before the formatting part, the screen just got hung on this weird message - "Searching for previous versions of Microsoft Windows" and it hung and it hung and it hung..........
If you ever face this problem, then get this advice in advance that restarting the computer and re-doing the process won't help you neither inserting another of your not-so-genuine CD will be of much help. Don't waste your time.....Google and you will find threads in some geeky forums which will pretty much discourage you; to the point that you will start wondering how you can retrieve the treasured files and say goodbye to your hard disk and to the wad in your wallet.
Most of the Googling will point towards the fact that you had welcomed a worm or installed and uninstalled programs so much that your hard disk has gone beyond repair. They will tell you about how hard and how tiresome and how expensive it is to recover the data from your damaged disk and more, you need to install a new one; then you begin to worry about the money.
Then comes GParted to your rescue!! Yippee!! And it's free!! You can download the software from the site.
Buy a (or more) blank CD/s, depends on the way electricity supply flows in your country. In Nepal you need more CDs as the electricity supply here is super-erratic! Burn the ISO file to the CD so that your computer can boot from the CD. If you are not sure how to make a bootable CD then you need to try with some CDs at first. ImgBurn would be the best software for burning; I used it.
Insert the CD. Remember I am not a geek and don't have much experience with these procedures but I just got quite relieved when I got back my OS without paying a single rupee, so I'm writing this DIY trying to give hope for the miserable people..........As to the re-writable CD, I got it from a friend and luckily it got accurately burned in the first try.
After the insertion of the CD, you might need to cross your fingers as they say that if the User's interface doesn't pop up in your screen then your hard disk is a goner. But if the screen flickers with the GParted on it then you just need to keep on hitting the Enter Key and setting the Keyboard Layout to English. Then you will be greeted with the home screen of GParted where you should browse around for a while and click here and there. And lo! Suddenly a window pops up which is something like what you see when you click the My Computer in Windows XP! The only difference is instead of Local Disc (C:) or Local Disc (D:), the drives have numbers behind them - like .../sda1 and ..../sda2.
I'd memorized the capacity of my C drive so I instantly recognized that the sda1 was my C drive because the memory amount matched. So I guess, sda1 should always be the C drive. I clicked here and there, in and around sda1 and got some options like the ones we get when we right click in Windows. I must have right clicked sda1!
Finally the format button! And once clicked............it was done! So quick and so simple!
Take out the GParted CD once the formatting to NTFS is completed. Insert your pirated XP CD and cross your fingers again!
No need to cross your fingers! Unless you had hurled your CPU in a blind fit of rage!
You will see that your life isn't going to get hung with the "Searching for previous versions of Microsoft Windows!"