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How do I partition my hard drive using FDisk?

By Tom Cumming

 

This is taken from the Windows ME handbook, the instructions only apply to Windows 95, 98, ME and MS-DOS.


Use Fdisk to partition a hard disk
===================================

When you partition a hard disk, you use the Fdisk utility (short for fixed disk, another term for an internal hard disk) located on the Windows Startup disk you have already made.

To partition the hard disk
==========================

1. Shut down and turn off the computer, and insert the Windows Startup disk in drive A. Then restart the computer.

2. At the Microsoft Windows Startup menu, you can choose to start the computer with or without CD-ROM support. Press the number on your keyboard that corresponds to the choice you want.

After 30 seconds, the Windows Startup disk starts the computer with CD-ROM support, and might display a Help file. You can exit the Help file by pressing ALT+F on your keyboard to open the File menu, and then pressing X.


3. If the hard disk has an operating system on it (and is therefore partitioned), you will need to remove the partition(s). To do this in Felisk, you must provide the volume name of each drive that has one. To gather volume names, at the command prompt, type the following, and then press ENTER:

VOL X:

where x is a drive letter on the hard disk, such as C or D. Be sure to include the colon (:) after the drive letter. Write down the volume name. Repeat this step for each drive you have on the hard disk. It's okay if a drive does not have a volume name. Volume name information is not needed for floppy disk drives or CD?ROM drives.

4. To start Fdisk, type fdisk at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.

5. If you are asked if you want to enable Large Disk Support, press Y or N, depending on which of the two following criteria best describes your needs, and then press ENTER. The main menu of the Fixed Disk Setup Program (Fdisk) appears.

Pressing Y sets up your partitions so that they use the FAT32 (file allocation table) file format. Use this option if you want to have partitions that are larger than 2 GB (gigabytes), or if any additional operating systems you might install support the FAT32 file format, such as Windows 2000, Windows 98, or Windows 95.

Pressing N sets up your partitions so that they use the older, FAT 16 file format. Use this option if you do not want to have partitions that are larger than 2 GB, or if any additional operating systems you might install support only the FAT 16 file format, such as Windows NT 4.0 or earlier, or versions of Windows prior to Windows 95.

6. Cheek if the drive has any existing partitions. To do so, press 4 on your keyboard, and then press ENTER. If no partitions exist, you are ready to set up new ones; go to step 8. If partitions do exist, you must first delete them; go to step 7.

7. You're now ready to delete logical drives and partitions. If you have not done so already, press ESC on your keyboard to close the Display Partition Information screen and return to the Fdisk Options screen. To delete partitions, press 3 at the main Disk screen, and then press ENTER. Follow the instructions on the screen, deleting the logical drives first, then the extended partition, and then the primary partition. After each deletion, you may need to press ESC once or twice to return to the Felisk Options screen.

When you choose a partition or logical drive to delete, Fdisk prompts you to provide the volume name of the drive. If the drive does not have a volume name, leave this field blank.

If you don't like the way you partitioned your hard disk, you can delete logical drives and partitions, and then create new ones to better suit you.

8. To create a new primary partition, at the Fdisk Options screen, press 1 on your keyboard, press ENTER, press 1, and then press ENTER.

When asked if you want to use the maximum space (the entire drive), choose one of the two following options, and then press ENTER:

- Y for Yes. Choose this if you don't want to set up other drives on the hard disk. This uses the entire drive for a FAT32 partition, or up to 2 GB for a FAT 16 partition. After you choose this option and press ENTER, Hisk creates the partition, and instructs you to restart and to press ESC to exit Fdisk. You are finished partitioning and can go on to the next step, "Format the Drives," in the following section.

- N for No. Choose this if you do want to set up other drives on the hard disk. You can specify how large you want the partition to be: either as a percentage of the hard disk's total capacity, or in megabytes. After typing a value, press ENTER. Fdisk displays information about the new primary partition. To return to the Fdisk Options screen, press ESC.

9. To create an extended partition, at the Hisk Options screen, press 1 on your keyboard, press ENTER, press 2, and then press ENTER.

Hisk displays the maximum size that the extended partition can be. We recommend that you use this maximum value, because you can only create one extended partition. Any hard disk space you do not assign to the extended partition cannot be accessed by a hard disk and, consequently, by Windows Me.

10.After you designate the size of the extended partition and press ENTER, Fdisk takes you either to the screen where you create logical drives in the extended partition, or it displays information about the extended and primary partitions. If it displays the partition information, press ESC to get to the screen where you create logical drives. The maximum available space in the extended partition is displayed both as a percentage (100%) and megabytes. Follow the instructions on the screen to divide up the space into one or more logical drives, pressing ENTER after typing a percentage or megabyte quantity. Continue creating logical drives until you have used up all the space in the extended partition. To return to the Hisk Options screen, press ESC.

11.If the hard disk you are creating the partitions on is the only or first hard disk, and you created an extended partition, you need to set the primary partition to Active, indicating that it's the partition that the computer starts up from. To set the primary partition to Active, press 2 on your keyboard, press ENTER, press the number that represents the primary partition, and then press ENTER. To return to the Hisk Options screen, press ESC.

12.After you have created the partitions and logical drives, at the Fdisk Options screen, press ESC. To exit Fdisk and return to the command prompt, press Esc again. When you're at the command prompt, you must turn off your computer for your partition changes to take effect.

13.You are now ready to format the drives you created.

Format the Drives
=================

After the partitions and logical drives are created, you need to format them. The length of time required to complete formatting depends on how large a hard disk is, how many you have, and how many logical drives you created.

To format the drives
====================

1. Insert the Windows Startup disk in drive A, and then start the computer.

2. At the Microsoft Windows Startup menu, you can choose to start the computer with or without CD-ROM support. Press the number on your keyboard that corresponds to the choice you want. After you make a choice, the Windows Startup disk finishes starting the computer.

You have 30 seconds to choose an option. If you don't, the Windows Startup disk starts the computer with CD-ROM support, and might display a Help file. You can exit the Help file by pressing ALT+F on your keyboard to open the File menu, and then pressing X.

3. If the computer has more than one hard disk drive, make sure you are formatting the correct drive. To do so, at the command prompt, type the following:

dir x:

where x is a drive letter on the hard disk, such as C or D. Be sure to include the colon (:) after the drive letter. Then press ENTER.

If the drive is empty and ready to format, the following message should appear:

Invalid media type reading drive C Abort, Retry, Fail?

Press A to abort. If instead of this message, you see a list of files, you are either reading another hard disk or the CD?ROM drive, neither of which you probably intend to reformat, since doing so would destroy that information.

4. Format the drive by typing the following:
format x:

where x is the drive letter of the drive you just confirmed is empty. Press
ENTER, and then confirm you want to proceed by pressing Y for Yes.

5. If you want, give the formatted drive a volume name, and then press ENTER.

6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for any other new drives you created during the partition process.


Copyright © 2001-2006 © Copyright Karl Davis.

No part of this site may be reproduced in any format.All documents author acknowledged are copyright retained by the author.

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