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Before you install your operating system, you must first create a primary partition on the hard disk (disk 1) on your computer, and then format a file system on that partition. The Fdisk tool is an MS-DOS-based tool that you can use to prepare (partition) a hard disk. You can use the Fdisk tool to create, change, delete, or display current partitions on the hard disk, and then each allocated space on the hard disk (primary partition, extended partition, or logical drive) is assigned a drive letter. Disk 1 may contain one extended partition, and a second hard disk may contain a primary or extended partition. An extended partition may contain one or more logical MS-DOS drives.
After you use the Fdisk tool to partition your hard disk, use the Format tool to format those partitions with a file system. The file system File Allocation Table (FAT) allows the hard disk to accept, store, and retrieve data. Windows 95 OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2), Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Millennium Edition (Me), and Windows 2000 support the FAT16 and FAT32 file systems. When you run the Fdisk tool on a hard disk that is larger than 512 megabytes (MB), you are prompted to choose one of the following file systems:
FAT16: This file system has a maximum of 2 gigabytes (GB) for each allocated space or drive letter. For example, if you use the FAT16 file system and have a 6-GB hard disk, you can have three drive letters (C, D, and E), each with 2 GB of allocated space. For additional information about the FAT16 file system, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft.
FAT32: This file system supports drives that are up to 2 terabytes in size and stores files on smaller sections of the hard disk than the FAT16 file system does. This results in more free space on the hard disk. The FAT32 file system does not support drives that are smaller than 512 MB.
When you run the fdisk and format commands, the Master Boot Record (MBR) and file allocation tables are created. The MBR and file allocation tables store the necessary disk geometry that allows hard disk to accept, store, and retrieve data.
Consider the following questions before you use the Fdisk and Format tools:
Is the hard disk new? If not, view the second question.
Is this hard disk the only hard disk on your computer (master) or is this hard disk a second hard disk (slave)?
Have you prepared the hard disk by following the manufacturer's instructions? It is important to set the jumpers and cabling according to the role of the hard disk (master or slave).
Have you checked your basic input/output system (BIOS) to verify that it supports the hard disk or the second hard disk? If not, check the documentation that came with your motherboard, or contact the manufacturer. Typically, the BIOS has an auto detect hard disk setting that configures the drive, but you should verify this before you continue.
What type of file system do you want to use? You can use either the FAT16 or the FAT32 file systems. If you are not sure which file system that you want to use, view the following:
Does the hard disk already contain data?
Have you backed up all of your important data? If not, back up your data before you proceed. When you run the fdisk command to create, delete, or change a partition, all of the data on that partition is permanently deleted. Note that you can view current partition information without deleting your data.
For additional information about how to install the MSBackup utility.
View the Help file in the MSBackup utility for information about how to use this utility. If you want to use the MSBackup utility with a removable media device. Note that a backup utility is not included with Windows Me.
Does the hard disk have a drive overlay or a disk management program? If your computer uses drive overlay software to enable large hard disk support, do not use the Fdisk tool until you have checked with the software manufacturer.
Do you have the floppy disks or the CD-ROMs that are necessary to reinstall your software? Make sure that you have the software so that you can reinstall your programs.
After you partition and format your drive. If you purchased an upgrade for a program, make sure that you have the full version of the original program. Many upgrades for programs require a compliance check before you can install the upgraded product. If you cannot find the original floppy disks or CD-ROMs, contact the software manufacturer before you proceed.
Do you have updated device backed up on a device other than the drive that you are about to format and partition? If you have installed an updated device driver for your peripheral devices (for example, modems, printers, and so on), make sure that you back up the new driver on a device other than the drive that you are about to format and partition so that you can reinstall it after you install your operating system.
Do you want to combine multiple extended partitions in one extended partition? If so, view the "How to Repartition and Format the Extended Partition and Logical Drives on a Hard Disk" section in this article.
Do you have a Startup disk? Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition, and Windows Me prompt you to create a Startup disk during Setup. If you do not have a Startup disk:
Insert a blank floppy disk in the floppy disk drive (drive A).
Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click Add/Remove Programs.
Click Create Disk on the Startup Disk tab.
After you create the Startup disk, you should test it. To test the Startup disk, insert it in the floppy disk drive, and then restart your computer. If you are using a Windows 98-based computer, the Startup menu is displayed. If you are using a Windows 95-based computer, a command prompt is displayed.
Do you need Real-mode CD-ROM support? Some CD-ROM drives require Real-mode device drivers. If you are planning to use Windows 98 on your computer, the Startup disk contains generic, Real-mode ATAPI CD-ROM and Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) drivers that can enable CD-ROM drives after you boot from the Windows 98 Startup disk. Note that these CD-ROM drivers may not work with all CD-ROM drives; they may work as a replacement if the Real-mode CD-ROM drivers that are included with your CD-ROM drive are not available.
NOTE: If you insert your Windows 98 Startup disk, restart your computer, you may not be able to change to the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive (usually one drive letter ahead of where the drive letter typically resides because there is a random access memory [RAM] drive created by the Startup disk), because these drivers do not work with your CD-ROM drive. View the documentation that is included with your hardware, or contact your hardware manufacturer to obtain the CD-ROM device drivers.
You can also use a third party partition software to resize, move, format, create, delete partitions and much more either under Windows environment or by creating bootable CD. Here EaseUS Partition Master is recommended.