How do I remove the partition walls without reinstalling XP or having to format my hard drive again?


Recently, I upgraded from ME to Windows XP Home. Under ME, my 80 Gb Western Digital Hard Drive had three equal partitions. When installing XP, it gave me a choice to choose only one of the partitions. I tried to Fdisk and re-formatting to remove the partitions. I was successful as I checked selection no. 4 in Fdisk and I had only one active partition. However, upon install, XP kept recognizing the partitions and made me choose which partition to install to. I was forced to choose and my 80 Gb harddrive was reduced to 31 Gb.

How do I remove the partition walls without reinstalling XP or having to format my hard drive again. If that will even work


This question was answered on October 27, 2004. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

Two Questions:

1.Do you want to use the entire hard drive for Windows XP?

2.Did you format your hard drive after you deleted the partitions and before installing Windows XP?

If the answer to Questions #1 is yes and the answer to question #2 is no The you have reformat your hard drive so that Windows XP will recognized it as just one By doing this you will be deleting everything on your hard drive so please back all you important data.

Do the following and then reinstall Windows XP.

3.At the A command prompt, type fdisk, and then press [Enter] If the hard disk is larger than 512MB, Fdisk asks whether to enable Large Disk Support:

oIf you want to install other operating systems on this computer, you need to know whether they can read FAT32 If they cannot, choose No Operating systems such as Windows NT(R) 4.0 or the original Windows 95, for example, cannot read FAT32, but Windows 98 and 2000 can

oIf you don't plan to install operating systems other than Windows Me or Windows 2000, you will probably want to use Large Disk Support It allows you to create partitions larger than 2GB (which is the limit for FAT16) and provides greater file storage efficiency

4.When you are prompted about enabling Large Disk Support, type Y or N, and then press [Enter] The Fdisk main menu appears

5.At the command prompt, type 3 to delete the existing partitions and follow the on screen instructions If what you want is to just set a primary partition do the following At the command prompt, type 1 to create a Primary partition You are then asked whether you want to use the maximum space (the entire drive):

a.If you choose Yes, this uses up to 2GB for a FAT16 partition or the entire drive for a FAT32 partition

b.If you choose No, you can specify how large you want the partition to be

If you want to use only part of the drive as the Primary partition, you can return to this menu later to choose Option 2 to create the Extended partition When you choose Option 2, you are prompted whether to use the remainder of the drive; then follow the prompts through the process of creating logical drives in that partition Continue with this process until all the space is used up on the hard disk

6.Optionally, to make the Primary partition "Active", select Option 2 from the Fdisk main menu Follow the instructions

The Active partition is the partition that the computer boots from You need to set the Active partition if you created both Primary and Extended partitions If you created only a Primary partition, it will automatically be set to Active

7.When all this is finished, press the [ESC] key to exit Fdisk When you are prompted to start your computer, leave the bootdisk disk in the A drive and restart your computer by using the power switch or by pressing [Ctrl] [Alt] [Del]


After partitioning the hard drive (if necessary) we want to format the hard drive:

To format drive C, at the A prompt type the following:

Format c:

and then press [Enter] You will be warned that all data will be lost Select Yes to continue with the format

For each logical drive you created (such as D and E), at the A prompt type the following:

Format drive: (where drive is the appropriate drive letter)

Make sure you are formatting only the new drives you created, not other drives on other hard disks in your computer.

Once formatting is complete, you can begin setup To do so, switch the command prompt to the CD-ROM drive (typically E:, since the Windows boot floppy creates a RAM drive as D:), type setup (and press [Enter]) If you have specific installation requirements, you may want to run setup with one or more command line switches

Good Luck!

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Posted by julie of Katharine Gibbs School - New York on October 27, 2004