I have a Dell machine with Windows XP, no floppy.
I want to format my system and reinstall Windows XP, but the CD I have won't let me install from Windows because it says the version of windows installed is later than the version on CD.
Anyway, I want to boot to DOS and install from DOS, but how can I do that? I don't have a floppy drive to boot to dos.
does it go through the copying of files to your hard drive and get to the part where it asks you if you want to install it, if it does then you should be able to delete the partition from there that windows is on, once done it then asks you if you want to put a partition on the empty space then when thats done it lets you format it and it installs windows on it for you.
I don't know about the CD-ROM support, but I do have a Windows 98SE boot diskette, and I have a .txt file on Microsoft's instructions for how to boot from DOS on the diskette to the Windows XP CD in the CD drive. I have used this with my desktop computer, which I bought with Windows 98SE and now has Windows XP Home upgrade. These days a USB external floppy drive is not expensive. I think it's worth having.
To clean out my previous version of Windows XP (after that got too messed up) I could not simply format c: from the diskette's DOS. I had to fdisk it away and create a new primary DOS partition and format that. Partition Magic could simplify things. I disagree about making your main Windows partition FAT32. I found Windows XP works better with NTFS. However, if you are interested in adding linux, this could be a good time to add a small FAT32 Windows extended partition and to add an Ext3 linux extended partition. The small FAT32 partition is useful for writing files from linux to Windows. Linux can read NTFS partitions, but it cannot write to them. If you have a linux formatted partition waiting, it can simplify adding linux. Linux distros will usually by default want to install to the existing linux partition. Without that, you could probably still repartition to create the linux partition during installation, but if you are not alert it could overwrite Windows by default if there is no preexisting linux formatted partition.