FDISK for hard drive Partitioning
Fdisk can be used for creating and managing partitions.
However it is important to note that if you delete any
partitions with FDISK then all the data in that partition
will be permanently destroyed.
Note:- on older systems (mostly 486 and early pentium)
be careful about repartitioning the hard disk using
Fdisk. If the drive size is larger than 540Mb then some
systems required drive translation utility between the
hard disk drive and the BIOS. This was typically used
on systems in which the BIOS does not support large
drives. If the drive has been partitioned using one
of these utilities, then it is important to use that
program to repartition the drive otherwise you will
be limited to 540Mb (as opposed to the full drive size).
If you want to partition a hard disk into
one drive, you must first use Fdisk to delete all logical
drives and existing partitions.Then you will need to
create a new primary partition and make it active. You
can also partition a hard drive so that it has more
than one logical drive.
Fdisk is an MS-DOS based application that can be run
from MS-DOS command line or from within WIndows 98 (provided
you are partitioning an additional hard drive rather
than your primary C drive). The partitions that Fdisk
creates are MS-DOS partitions. The Startup Disk that
windows 98 creates from the add remove programs option
in the control panel, contains a copy of Fdisk, which
you can use if a hard disk becomes corrupt or unreadable.
> To start Fdisk
1. If you are starting Fdisk from a
Startup Disk, put the disk in drive A: (Floppy) and
press CTRL+ALT+DEL to restart the computer. At the command
prompt on the A: Drive, type fdisk and hit <Enter>
2. If you have a hard disk smaller than
512Mb, the Fdisk Options screen appears.
You can choose to do the following:
Create a partition or logical drive
Set the active partition
Delete a partition or logical drive
Display partition information
If the computer has two or more hard disks, Fdisk displays
a fifth option named Change Current Fixed DIsk Drive,
with which you can switch to another disk drive.
If you have a hard disk larger than 512MB, the following
computer has a disk larger than 512MB. This version
of Windows includes improved support for large disks,
resulting in more efficient use of disk space on
large drives, and allowing disks over 2GB to be
formatted as a single drive.
IMPORTANT: If you enable large disk support and
create any new drives on this disk, you will not
be able to access the new drive(s) using other operating
systems, including some versions of Windows 95 and
Windows NT , as well as earlier versions of Windows
and MS-DOS . In addition, disk utilities that were
not designed explicity for the FAT32 file system
will not be able to work with this disk. If you
need to access this disk with other operating systems
or older disk utilities, do not enable large drive
Do you wish to enable large disk support...........?
If you enable large disk support, any drives created
will be FAT32. As such, you will not be able to access
the newly created drive if booting from a boot disk
created by Windows NT3.5, Windows NT4, Windows 95A,
or MS-DOS (6.xx and earlier). Other versions of Windows
from Windows 95B (OSR2) along with Windows 98,ME,2000,and
XP all support FAT32.
If you answer "Y" you will be using a 32-bit
Answering "N" means you will
be using a 16-bit FAT. Fdisk will only allow up to 2GB
for a partition even if the disk is larger.
Each Fdisk screen displays a Current
Fixed Disk Drive line, followed by a number. If the
computer has only one hard disk drive, this number is
always 1. If the computer has more than one hard drive,
the number shows the disk Fdisk is currently working
on. The first hard drive on the computer is 1, the second
is 2, and so on. The current Fixed Disk Drive line refers
only to physical disk drives and not "logical drives".
Note:- If you installed a disk
compression program then, Fdisk displays the uncompressed,
not the compressed, size of the drives.
> To configure a hard disk using Fdisk
1. Delete existing partitions.
2. Create a new primary MS-DOS Partition.
3. For a multiple partitioned create
Note:- If you use Fdisk to repartition a hard
disk, all the files on the original partitions will
be lost permanently. Please ensure tha all the data
files on your hard drive are safely backed up before
1. Deleting Partitions and Logical Drives
You can use Fdisk
to delete partitions before creating a new primary partition.
You must delete partitions in the follwing order:
A. Any non MS-DOS partition
B. Any logical drives
in the extended MS-DOS partition
C. Any extended MS-DOS
D. The existing primary
> To delete a partition or logical drive
In the Fdisk Options
screen, press 3, and then ENTER. The Delete DOS Partition
or Logical DOS Drive screen appears.
Press the number for the kind of partition you want
to delete, and then press ENTER.
Follow the directions on the screen, and repeat the
steps for deleting any additional logical drives or
If Fdisk cannot delete
a non MS-DOS partition, then you will need to delete
the non MS-DOS partition by using the software used
to create it.
2. Creating a Primary
On a new disk, or after you have deleted all other partitions,
you can create a new primary MS-DOS partition.
> To create a primary MS-DOS Partition
In the Fdisk Options
screen, press 1, and then press ENTER. The Create DOS
partition or Logical DOS Drive screen appears.
Press 1, and then press ENTER. The create Primary DOS
Partition Screen appears.
If you want the partition to be the maximum size then
simply press ENTER.
If you you do not want the partition to be the maximum
size, press N, and then press ENTER. Another Create
Primary DOS Partition screen appears.
To specify the partition size you want just follow the
instructions on-screen, and then press enter.
You get two ways to specify the partition size. You
either specify as a percentage of disk space (eg 50%)
or a s size in megabytes of disk space. If you decide
to specify a percentage of disk space then remember
to include a percent sign (%) after the number ( typing
"50" rather than "50%" will give
you a 50Mb drive which is generally speaking not a lot
If you created the
primary partition using the entire hard drive, then
you can now exit Fdisk, and reboot the computer to floppy
disk. (your hard dirve will not contain any operating
system (indeed it hasn't even been formatted) so it
3. Creating other Partitions
If you chose not to use the entire drive for the primary
partition, you can now create an extended DOS partition(unless
you want to use the existing disk space for another
operating system such as linux).
To create this partition, select Option 1 from the main
Fdisk options screen, then choose to create an extended
DOS partition. This will typically be set up for the
remaining disk space on the drive. FDISK will prompt
you to created logical drives after the Extended DOS
partition is created. You have the same options to specify
the partition size you want as a percentage or number
of megabytes of disk space. Logical drive sizes are
also done the same way.
Finally, if you created a primary and an Extended partition
then you will need to set an active partition if you
want to install an operating system on this drive. If
you don't set an active partition on the drive then
the operating system won't boot.. From the main Fdisk
options menu, select option 2, and then select the Primary
partition to set it active.
Formatting a Hard Drive
If Windows 98 is already
installed on your hard disk and you need to reformat
a hard disk (not the drive with windows on it) then
In the Windows explorer
you can simply right click the drive icon for that disk
and then click Format.
IF windows is not installed or if you
want to To Format the drive that currently has windows
on then you can use a windows 98 Startup Disk.
First ensure the Startup Disk is in drive A and switch
on the computer to boot to it. At the command prompt,
type the following:-
format drive: (where drive is the letter
of the drive you want to format.)
If you are formatting drive C: then you can copy system
files to the hard disk by typing the following at the
format c: /s
When the warning message appears, proceed with formatting
by pressing Y, then press ENTER.
When formatting is complete, type a
volume label (which is a name for your drive - if you
want one), and then press ENTER.
If the drive has already been formatted
and you haven't repartitioned with FDISK then you can
use a quick format using the /q switch
eg: format c: /q
This is much quicker since rather than
formatting the whole drive it simply formats the file
allocation table which then makes the operating system
treat the rest of the drive as if it were empty. For
the average user there are only 2 notable differences
between a quick and full format. Firstly a quick format
is much quicker, and secondly a Full format though much
longer may detect any Bad Sectors on a drive.