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2.4 Hard Drives


    • Access to FDISK.
    • Can be run under DOS Windows/95/98/ME.
    • Can be run as a Boot Floppy.


    •Most functions in FDISK are catastrophic. Make sure to backup your data first.

    •There are two types of Partitions.
    1. Primary.
    2. Extended.

    Primary Partition.
    1. Is a boot partition where the Operating System will reside or can also be used for user data.
    2. Each Primary Partition is given a unique Drive Letter assignment. (C:)

    Extended Partition.
    1. Each Extended Partition can have one or more Logical Drive(s) within the Extended Partition.
    2. Each Logical Drive is is given a unique Drive Letter assignment. (D:)

    • Hard Drive number.
    1. Windows classifies Hard Drives as Disk Drive 1 through Disk drive n.

    •IDE Drives are scanned in the following order and given a number of 1 through n.
    1. Primary Master.
    2. Primary Slave.
    3. Secondary Master.
    4. Secondary Slave.
    5. Tertiary Master.
    6. Tertiary Slave.
    7. Quantanary Master.
    8. Quantanary Slave.

    • SCSI Drives are scanned from SCSI ID 0 through 16 and given a number of 1 through nn.

    • After entering the FDISK command, you will get a prompt, asking if you want large disk support.
    1. If you reply Y (YES), then you will setup FAT32 partitions.
    2. If you reply N (NO), then you will setup FAT (FAT16) partitions, that have a maximum of 2g.
    3. If you did not receive this prompt then your fdisk command may be from Windows 95 (950A) and you should obtain a newer copy.

Answer these questions

    • Is this going to be a fresh install on a new Hard Drive.
    1. Goto -> Create a Primary Partition for a Operating System.

    • Are you adding a new Hard Drive to an existing installation.
    1. Goto -> Create a Primary Partition for a second Hard Drive
    2. Goto -> Create an Extended Partition

    • I need to rewrite the Master Boot Record.
    1. Goto -> Rewrite the Master Boot Record.

    • I need to delete everything on the Hard Drive and start over.
    1. Goto -> Deleting Partitions.

    • I need to delete a Logical Drive.
    1. Goto -> Deleting a Logical Drive.

    • I need to delete an Extended Partition.
    1. Goto -> Deleting Extended Partitions.

    • I need to delete a Primary Partition.
    1. Goto -> Deleting a Primary Partition.

Using FDISK to create a Primary Partition

1. Go to an MS-DOS prompt or use a Boot Floppy.
2. Enter -> fdisk
3. Answer the question for large disk support (Y=FAT32 N=FAT)
4. If option 5 exist then you have more than 1 drive attached to your system.
• You need to determine, which drive you are going to partition.
• Enter option 5 and look at your options. It will show you the Drive number and the drive letter associated with it.
• Enter the drive number you wish to select.
• Just a note if you have a Primary Master and a Primary Slave, then the Primary Master will be Drive 1 and the Primary Slave will be Drive 2.
5. Enter Option 4 to "Display Partition Information" to confirm the drive your working with and that there are currently no partitions. If you already have a Primary Master, then you will need to delete it first. (Make sure you save your data first with a proper backup.)
6. Enter option 1 to "Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive".
7. Enter option 1 to "Create Primary DOS Partition".
8. you will be asked to "Enter Partition size in MBytes or percent of disk space

    At this point the drive is ready to be formatted.
    If you set this drive up as an additional drive to your existing OS, then you can boot into that OS and begin using the drive.
    If this will become a Windows boot disk, you can now start your Windows installation.

Document Revision 1.
This is a evolving document, subject to change.

by vkr See Profile edited by dbmaven See Profile
last modified: 2003-09-05 10:47:21

You first need to decide what operating system you intend to load after formatting the hard drive. It is best and easiest to use a boot disk for that Operating System, such as MS Dos6.2 or Windows95b or Windows98SE. You will need the proper Windows95/98 boot disk in order to load the these operating systems on the computer, else it will reject loading due to the wrong Operating System on the computer.

Insert your boot disk in the floppy drive and start the computer. Once the system has completed booting and an A: prompt appears we are ready to start.

Type: format C: /s [press Enter]

This statement tells the system to format your "C" drive and when it is finished to copy the system files to the drive, (the /s switch for 'System'). You can format a different drive this way by using a different drive letter.

Format should display: WARNING, ALL DATA ON
Proceed with Format (Y/N)? Type [Y] [Press ENTER]

Your screen should display the size of your drive and a countdown in percentage of formatting completed. Depending on your computer's speed and the size of the drive it can take from a few minutes to over 15minutes.

When it reaches 100% complete, you will see a new message:

This indicates that the files required to boot your computer from the hard drive have been copied from the floppy to the hard drive. The computer can now boot from the hard drive without a boot disk in the floppy drive.

You will see one last message:
Volume label (11 characters, ENTER for none)?
Type anything you like or leave it blank - [Press ENTER]

You can now begin to load your Operating System.

Special Note:
You may receive the error message:
"insufficient memory to load system files"

This is caused by the lack of a memory manager loaded at boot and your PC can only access the first 1mg of ram memory. There are two possible solutions:

1) Omit the /s switch when formatting. This is done by typing this:
FORMAT C: [press enter]

Then when the format is complete, manually add the system files to your hard drive by using this command:
SYS C: [press enter]

2) You will need to load a memory manager in order to overcome this issue. Not knowing what operating system boot disk you are using is an issue here. However, Windows98 boot disks load a memory manager, so let us assume it is either Windows95 or earlier.

You need to add the file HIMEM.SYS to your boot disk and then modify your Config.sys file on the boot disk.

Download Himem Here

and add this line in the Config.sys, (make this the first line):


Now, reboot your computer with the boot disk and it should work fine.

You will find that the boot disks we offer for download are all configured with a Memory manager and contain the file: HIMEM.SYS

Reference another excellent source of information.

by Cariad See Profile edited by dbmaven See Profile
last modified: 2003-09-05 10:47:33

Adding New Disk

From MS press Windows 2000 Server book

"To add a new disk, install or attach the new physical disk (or disks) and then click Rescan Disks on the Action menu of the Disk Management snap-in. You must use Rescan Disk every time that you remove or add disc to a computer.

When you install a new disk in a computer running Windows 2000, they are added as basic storage."

Right-click on 'My Computer'.. Choose 'Manage'
Click on 'Disk Management'
Click 'Action' then 'Rescan all disks'
(credit to RickNY for steps)

by fire100_old See Profile edited by dbmaven See Profile
last modified: 2003-09-05 10:48:03

From the MS Press Windows 2000 Server book.

"The process of removing a disk from one computer and installing it into another computer is different from simply adding a new disk. After you remove the disk from the original computer and install it into the new computer, use Disk Management to add the disk. To do this, right-click the added disc and then click Import Foreign Disk."

by fire100_old See Profile edited by dbmaven See Profile
last modified: 2003-09-05 10:48:15

Maxtor has a very good Knowledge base. It can be found here:

by Cho Baka See Profile edited by dbmaven See Profile
last modified: 2004-09-06 12:01:39