How do I format a hard drive?

Question

I cannot reformat my hard drive because the disk partitions have been messed up. How do I use fdisk to get them right. I have gone through it, but I don't know what it is talking about so I have not done anything. I had instructions that HP sent me, but they just say, if you want to do this, do this and I don't know what I want to do.

Answer

This question was answered on November 4, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

You mentioned that you cannot format your hard drive, and that the partitions are bad To solve this problem, you have to repartition the hard drive First you are going to have to find a friend who has Windows Me and create a startup disk.

How to create a startup disk;

1)Click insert a blank floppy disk into the floppy disk drive

2)Click Start, point to settings, and click Control Panel

3)Double-click Add/Remove Programs

4)Click the Startup Disk tab, and then click Create Disk Click Ok when prompted.

Partition a hard drive

1 Insert the startup disk in the floppy disk Widows drive; restart your computer, and use one of the following steps In your case Me.

a.When the Microsoft Windows ME startup menu is displayed, Select Start computer without CD-ROM support menu option, and then press ENTER

b.At the command prompt, type fdisk, and then press ENTER.

2 If your hard disk is larger than 512mb, you will receive the following message This will not apply to you as the information provided about your computer shows you only have 64 Mb of ram

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 designated explicitly 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 support.

If you want to use the FAT32 file system, press Y and then press ENTER If you want to use the FAT16 file system, press N, and then press ENTER For additional information about the FAT32 and FAT16 file systems, click the article numbers below to view the articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

118335 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/118335/EN-US/) Maximum Partition Size Using FAT16 File System

154997 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/154997/EN-US/) Description of the FAT32 File System

3 After you press ENTER the following Fidisk Options menu is displayed:

1 Create DOS partition of Logical DOS Drive

2 Set Active partition

3 Delete partition or Logical DOS Drive

4 Display partition information

5 Change current fixed disk drive.

4 Press 1 to select the Create DOS Partition or Logical dos Drive menu option, and then Press ENTER.

5 Skip to step six as step 5 applies to computers with two hard drives.

6 After you press ENTER, you receive the following message: Do you wish to use the maximum available size for primary dos partition?

After you receive this message, use one of the following methods, depending on the file system that you selected

For a FAT32 File System

a If you press Y for the FAT32 file system (in step 2) and you want all of the space on the hard disk to be assigned to drive C, press Y, and then press ENTER.

b Press ESC, and then press ESC to quit the Fdisk tool and return to a command prompt.

c View step 7.

For a FAT16 File System

If you press N for the FAT16 file system (in step 2), you can accept the default 2 GB size for the partition size, or you can customize the size of the partition

To accept the default partition size:

a If you want the first 2 GB on the hard disk to be assigned to drive C, press Y, and then press ENTER.

b Press ESC to return to the Options menu, and then view step d in the following "To customize the partition size" section.

To customize the partition size:

a If you want to customize the size of the partitions (drive letters) on the hard disk, press N, and then press ENTER.

b A dialog box is displayed in which you can type the size that you want for the primary partition in MB or percent of disk space Note that for computers that are running either Windows 98 or Windows Me, Microsoft recommends that you make the primary partition at least 500 MB in size Type the size of the partition that you want to create, and then press ENTER.

c Press ESC to return to the Options menu.

d To assign drive letters to the additional space on the hard disk, press 1, and then press ENTER.

e Press 2 to select the Create Extended DOS Partition menu option, and then press ENTER.

f You receive a dialog box that is displays the maximum space that is available for the extended partition You can adjust the size of the partition or use the default size Note that the default maximum space is recommended, but you can divide the space between multiple drive letters Type the amount of space that you want, press ENTER, and then press ESC.

g The Create Logical DOS Drive(s) in the Extended DOS Partition menu is displayed This is the menu that you can use to assign the remaining hard disk space to the additional drive letters Type the amount of space that you want to assign to the next drive letter in the Enter logical drive size in Mbytes or percent of disk space (%) ox, and then press ENTER.

h A table that lists the drive letter that you created and the amount of space on that drive is displayed If there is free space on the hard disk, it is displayed near the bottom of the table Repeat Steps e-g until you receive the following message: "All available space in the Extended DOS Partition is assigned to local drives."

i After you receive this message, press ESC to return to the Options menu.

j To activate the partition from which you plan to boot (usually drive C), press 2 to select the Set active partition menu option, and then press ENTER.

k When you receive the following message, press 1, and then press ENTER:

Enter the number of the partition you want to make active

l Press ESC, and then press ESC to quit the Fdisk tool and return to a command prompt, and then view the following "How to Format a Hard Disk" section in this article.

How to Format a Hard Disk

After you create the partitions, you must format the partitions:

1.Restart your computer with the Startup disk in the floppy disk drive

NOTE: If you are using a Windows 95 Startup disk, a command prompt is displayed and you can skip to step 2 If you are using a Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, or Windows Me Startup disk, select the Start computer without CD-ROM support menu option when the Windows 98 Startup menu is displayed.

2.When a command prompt is displayed, type format c: /s, and then press ENTER This command transfers the system files and should only be used when you format drive C (or your "active" drive) For all other partitions, type format drive: (where drive is the letter of the partition that you want to format)

NOTE: If you receive a "Bad command" or "Bad file name" error message, you may need to extract the Format.com tool to your boot disk To do this, type the following command at a command prompt, and then press ENTER: extract ebd cab format.com

After the Format.com tool is extracted to your boot disk, type format c: /s t a command prompt to format your active partition, or type format drive: if you want to format a partition that is not your active partition.

3.When you successfully run the Format.com tool, you receive the following message: WARNING, ALL DATA ON NON-REMOVABLE DISK DRIVE C: WILL BE LOST!

Proceed with Format?

4.Press Y, and then press ENTER to format drive C.

5.After the format procedure is finished, you receive the following message:

Volume label (11 characters, ENTER for none)?

NOTE: This is an optional feature that you can use to type a name for the drive You can either type an 11-character name for the drive, or you can leave it blank by pressing ENTER.

For information about how to repartition the extended partition and logical drives, view the "How to Repartition and Format the Extended Partition and Logical Drives of a Hard Disk" section in this article.

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Author

Posted by Kenward of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on November 4, 2005