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Formatting Hard drive

Posted on 1997-09-11
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I have read the answer to this question by gregritz however it was not detailed enough for me.
I want to reformat my hard disk and reinstall windows. I have a Pentium 100 with 32 MB RAM and W95 and a 1.28G Quantum Fireball. I have very little experience with DOS so please be precise and I will give a bonus of 100 points. ( I have already made an emergency startup disc).
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Question by:jghentley
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maudib031397 earned 200 total points
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hello jghentley,

First you need to make sure that you have a bootable system disk.
That means a 3.5 in. floppy that contains command.com, (io.sys),
(msdos.sys), and (drivespace.bin). If you insert a blank floppy and go to "My Computer", right click on the a: drive and choose
"format". Then choose full format and copy system files from that
dialogue box; you will then have that disk. Command.com is the only file that is not hidden.

Next you must copy some files from C:\Windows\Command directory.
While still in "My Computer" doubleclick C: drive. Then click the Windows directory and then Command directory. Here you will find edit.com, format.com, fdisk.exe, mscdex.exe, and scandisk.exe. Copy these to the a: drive.

Now go to the root of c:. This is where the Windows dir. resides along with Mouse dir. and My Documents dir. (directory).

Now copy autoexec.bat and config.sys to the a: drive.

Now click the "start button" then choose "programs" and then "MSDOS Prompt". You should then get a dos window with the prompt
at c:\windows. Now type cd.. to get to the root of c:.

Type a: <enter> to get to the floppy; once there, type [edit autoexec.bat] <enter>.

look for the call for mscdex.exe in the text. Then change the call from c:\windows\command\mscdex etc...etc... to a:\mscdex etc...etc... (keep the etc... as they are memory addresses).

once you have changed the call to the a: drive and removed the windows,command pointers you can type alt+f then x and choose yes to save.

Now the config.sys.  First just type [type config.sys] <enter>.
this will show you the config.sys. You need to find the line that
pertains to your cd-rom. It will say something like
Device=c:\MTMCDAI.SYS /D:MTMIDE01 or it could be something like
nec_ide.sys or taitap.sys. Also, it will probably reside in a directory and that will be in that line as well. (this shows where to get the file that it points to) You need to go to that directory and copy the *.sys file to a: drive that is specified in the config.sys.

With that done, at the a: drive prompt type "edit config.sys".
Now change the pointer from the c: drive to the a: drive and remove any directory designations as the file sits on the root of a: drive for these purposes.

Now the acid test, with the floppy inserted just reboot the pc, and go into setup using the delete key or cntrl+alt+esc or whatever pc you bought has the instructions to go to setup at boot. Now look carefully in this window and choose the advanced setup page. There you will find the boot sequence option. If it says c: then a: you will need to change it to a: then c: or choose floppy boot enabled depending on the cmos setup that you have.

That done go ahead and save and quit and let it boot on the floppy. If it boots and "sees" the cd-rom you are almost there,
If it doesn't see the cd then you have a typo or directory structure error in the autoexec.bat or config.sys on the floppy.

With a good boot you can then type fdisk <enter>.

in fdisk you will need to display partition information to be sure that you have only one partition on the master drive.

in that case you can hit escape and then choose to delete the primary partition. then hit escape again and then choose to create partition and choose primary partition. Easiest to use the entire drive for one partition. and let it be made active.

Leave the floppy in and reboot. once at the a: type format c: /s.
The /s switch causes the system files to be transferred and the c: drive becomes bootable.

Now type "copy a:\*.* c: and copy everything but the command.com to the c: drive.

Now type c: and you are on the root of c: again. Now type "edit autoexec.bat" and change the a: to c: for mscdex and do the same for config.sys, change the a: to c: for the cd driver.
With that done you can remove the 3.5 floppy and reboot the machine.

If it doesn't work then check for typos and such.

If it does work you can then put your win95 cd in and run setup.

It is all preferences from here on in so you are set.

Questions?
paul





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