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I have this exact same question.

My computer is basically a brick at this point. I've done all the backup I need to, but I just want to see if I can get it up and running again.

When I start it up, it tries to boot, bluescreens, runs an attempt to fix itself, fails, and then gives me the option to do a recovery. (In other words, it's not completely dead - just something's gone terribly wrong.)

I've tried restoring from previous save points, but all of them have failed with "unknown error"s.

When I choose to wipe everything and just reinstall Windows, it says that the drive doesn't have enough space. (Which is saddening to me, since I told it it could wipe everything - I feel like it should at least wipe some stuff, or give me the option to tell it that it can wipe some stuff before reinstalling.)

I can access the command prompt through the advanced recovery options, and one of the answers to the question linked above says that I might be able to format the drive. However, after looking up the format command, it seems like I won't be able to format a drive that I'm using. But, I also don't know what this recovery is booted from, or if I can access C: from wherever the recovery is booted from.

I do not have a Windows 10 install disc, and the codes that might allow me to access one have been smudged out on the bottom of my computer, otherwise I would just do an install from disc.

Overall, I essentially have two questions, the first one being the one I will accept the answers to.

  1. Is there any way to get Windows to reinstall if my disk is relatively full (less than 16 GB left)? (In my case, I have less than 1 GB left if I remember correctly.) (This is the question I think will be most helpful to the community. )
  2. What do you think is the best plan of attack in my particular case? (This will definitely be helpful to me, and may help people in similar situations as well.)
  • Is this a laptop? What OS did it come with? – gronostaj Jul 22 '19 at 4:53
  • you could use command prompt to delete files or folders and free up some space...ant how much is your total hard disk space ? – Elmo Jul 22 '19 at 5:24
  • "and the codes that might allow me to access one have been smudged out on the bottom of my computer"- what do you mean by this ? – Elmo Jul 22 '19 at 5:26
  • Yes it's a laptop, it came refurbished with Windows 10 – Pro Q Jul 22 '19 at 17:03
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    @ProQ Yes, windows 10 is free to download and you won't need a key to activate it because your laptop will most likely be activated with a digital licence....so yes install it from a USB. – Elmo Jul 23 '19 at 4:16
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Assuming you don't want to keep anything on this computer, you can free up space by going to the command prompt and deleting the 'Program Files' folder which should free up some space to install.

Type 'rmdir /s /q c:\"program files*" with quotes, press enter and wait for it to finish.

Re-attempt setup and the space issue should now not be a problem.

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  • Even Win XP reqires atleast 1.5 GB of hard disk space
  • Win 98 requires 320 MB of free space !
  • Win 10 32-bit requires a minimum of 16 GB of free space

So the answer to your first question would be Windows 98 !

As for the second part, I suggest using Darik's Boot and Nuke DBAN(Top right corner of the web page), It can be booted from a CD/DVD/USB. But this will Wipe everything from your hard disk so be very sure you have a good backup of your data.

You will also need a windows 10 installation source, you can download windows 10 from here : https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10

You can save it as an ISO file. Then you can either burn the ISO to a DVD or you can use Rufus to make a bootable USB and install Windows 10.

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