Articles – How to FDISK

Partitioning your Computer using FDISK

FDISK and FORMAT is 2 basic commands you will have to know in order to partition your HDD and formatting (erasing it completely while creating the file system) it.

I have seen people becoming mixed up with the steps in FDISK so here?s a simple HOW-TO on FIDKS.

All Data will be lost!

Remember, all data on your HDD will be lost if you FDISK your HDD or delete the Primary DOS Partition, Extended DOS Partition, the Logical DOS Drive(s) or all of them. As always, we are not responsible for any data lost or corruption etc.

Creating a startup diskette

You will need to have a start up diskette first of all, create it by going to the Control Panel.

Double Click on Add/Remove Programs

Choose the Startup Disk tab and click on Create Disk.

Windows will then prepare the startup disk and prompt you to insert a diskette into your PC?s drive A. Then click OK to continue. The computer will then write to the diskette. An indication will be displayed on the progress, when it is done, click ok to exit the Startup Disk tab, close the Control Panel windows, leave your diskette in the diskette drive and restart your computer.

Creating Startup Diskette Links

Win 98
How to Create a Windows 98 Startup Disk from MS-DOS
How to Create a Windows 98 Startup Disk in Windows

Win 2000
How to Create Setup Boot Disks for Windows 2000
How to Use a Windows Boot Disk to Prevent Boot Failure in Windows 2000

Win XP
Download Win XP Setup Boot Disks Here
How to Use System Files to Create a Boot Disk to Guard Against Being Unable to Start Windows XP

Note: If you have Norton Antivirus, it may prompt you that there is a diskette in your drive when you choose to restart you computer and to remove it before restarting. In that case, remove the diskette, restart the PC and when the PC has successfully shut down and going into restart, insert the diskette into your PC again.

After restarting your PC, you may find that your PC does not start up using the diskette, it could be that your PC is not set to boot from diskette. You will have to consult your motherboard manual, then enter your systems BIOS to enable that. Just enable it to boot A: then C: or A: then CDROM then C: if the previous setting is not available.

When you are presented with the following screen, choose to ?Start PC without CD ROM support? since we will not be using the CD ROM at all.

Screenshot coming soon…

Type in fdisk

Answer Y to the next screen, to enable support of larger hard disk.

The following is the main FDISK Options menu.

The following example treats it as if you have a brand new 40 Gb hard disk drive (HDD). New HDD are not formatted by default (but nowadays, it come formatted?). We will create a partitions on this single HDD, meaning after everything, we will have a C:\ and a D:\ with each having 50% (20Gb) of the HDD capacity.

After you have come to the Main Menu, Enter choice 1. You will see the following:

Enter Choice 1 again to Create Primary DOS Partition.

You will then be prompt if you would like to use all the space that is available to be the Primary DOS partition. The primary DOS partition is simply the C Drive later (C:\).

Now, we will create an Extended DOS Partition that will ?house? the Logical DOS Drive, this will be your D:\. Don?t worry about all those DOS Partition talk. Simply, you will create the Primary DOS Partition, again, I?ll repeat, this will be the C:\. Our example will further create a D:\, also known as the Logical DOS Drive. Logical DOS Drive must be created on Extended DOS Partition so that is why, we will have to create the Extended DOS Partition first before the Logical DOS Drive.

What if I need more partitions?

So what if we need 3 or 4 or 5 partitions on a single HDD? Mostly when you need so many partitions, you are going to install a few Operating Systems (OS), maybe 2 partition for Linux (Mandrake and Redhat), 1 for Windows XP, and 1 last one for Windows 98.

Installing each OS on it?s own partition is a very good idea and will enable you to multiboot later. Explaining on the installation and configuration of the individual OS is beyond the scope of this HOW-TO.

Ok, we?ll create 4 partitions then, just for this HOW-TO. Firstly, you will have to plan how big each partitions gonna be. So 40 Gb and you?re going to install 4 OS or just going to give each partition to each of your family members, for example, one for the OS, one for your younger brother, one that mum and dad will share and one for yourself.

The sizes of the partition we are going to create will be:
1. Primary DOS Partition (This will be C:\ and the OS and all software will be installed on this partition.).? 5Gb
2. Extended DOS Partition (This will hose the following Logical DOS Drives) ? 35Gb
3. Logical DOS Drives 1 (This will be for your brother) ? 5Gb
4. Logical DOS Drives 2 (This is for mum and dad) ? 10Gb
5. Logical DOS Drives 3 (This will be of course for you!) ? 20Gb

The initial steps are the same, Restart your computer into DOS mode, Start FDISK in DOS

Yes to enable Large disk support?

1 to create a DOS Partition or Logical DOS Drive

1 (again) to Create Primary DOS Partition.

What if I have an existing HDD that needs to be FDISK?

Maybe you have decided that you will need an extra partition after you have used your PC so some time and wants that partition to be filled with just all those MP3s you have downloaded. So?

Simple, you do everything BACKWARDS!

Meaning, you will

1. Delete the All Logical DOS Drive
2. Delete the Extended DOS partition
3. Delete the Primary DOS partition.
4. Restart your PC with the startup diskette again

Note you will see some messages saying the PC cannot detect the Primary HDD after restarting and even if you use a boot up diskette to boot up your PC. Don?t worry, this is normal, you will need to run FDISK again and recreate from the start A primary DOS Partition, then a extended DOS Partition and lastly any Logical DOS Drive(s).

– Contributed by etegration
09 July 2002


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