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Is there a way to bypass windows entirely and go straight to a dos prompt on the winxp machine?
So I can format the drive?
Another option is to boot into Safe Mode with Command Prompt. Then you could make use of these command line [microsoft.com] codes.
A third option would be to look for an old DOS boot floppy from a previous version and try that out. There are several sites on the net that have preconfigured boot floppy setups that you could download and try out.