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Need advice on formating hard drive

Posted on 1998-02-26
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
The system I am running was shipped with Windows 95Plus and a lot of apps I didn't need. I have since removed all apps that I don't use and installed NT 4.0 SP3 as a dual boot. I would now like to reformat, install NT only and reinstall all my apps. My goal is to keep my registry and hard drive as clean as possible. Here are the questions I have:

1) a recommendation on a good NT Workstation book for the non-programmer. (there are so many to choose from!)

2) should I use a third party uninstaller software after reformating ? if so which one ?

3) What tricks or tips can someone offer before I move ahead and format my hard drive ?

4) Should I go with FAT or NTFS ?

Thanks
FDB
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Question by:fdbguy
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23 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:wilfrieds
ID: 1790972
1) NT Workstation Book : Look for Que's Special Edition Series.  
2) I take it you want to reformat your entire drive.  That means all of the soft will be gone anyway, so no need to uninstall afterwards.  Best thing to do is when you install NT 4 from the startup floppies, to make it delete all partitions on your hard drive and then reformat : no chance previously installed soft survives that!
3) see 2)
4) NTFS is by far superior to FAT.  The latter is only an option if you want to access the files from DOS too.
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by:bwgerho
ID: 1790973
1. Mathis, Osborne, et. al. "Windows NT Workstation 4.0 UNLEASHED"  SAMS Publishing, 1996
2. Reformatting your hard drive will remove all programs, the registry ... a clean slate.  You do not need to uninstall.
3. Unless file security is a problem, use FAT.  The advantage of NTFS is the ability to lock files and control read and write access to files.  However, I had a situation where Office 95 would not run without errors when run from NTFS while the same code from the same CD would run out of a FAT partition.  Also, if you have trouble, FAT files can be read by DOS.  TIPS -
a. create FAT partitions less than 511 meg to maintain small sector size.  C: - 400 meg, system, D: 400 meg, data E: 400 meg other files
b. I also like a small partition for system stuff - NT, Office programs, and another partition for file storage like word processor files etc.  
c. I segrigate programs - if my wife wants to put the latest game on, I have a separate partition for suspect programs.  I do not like the idea of games on the same partition as my system.
d. create a system leaving blank space on your hard dirve.  This can always be partitioned later (will need to do an extended partition because only 4 partitions per drive) when you see added uses.  If you have blank disk, then it really does not matter if it is partitioned or clean.  
e. Obtain "Diskeeper Lite" as a free download and keep your disk defragmented.  See "Executive Software" web site. www.execsoft.com.
4. FAT unless security is a problem.  If you use NTFS, set a large partition 1 gig or better because the system tables are large.  

Finally, do you need SP3?  I would install NT as it comes on the CD (mine has sp1 on it) an not put any later sp on UNLESS you have a problem that the sp is supposed to cure.  The service packs have brought as many (maybe more) problems as they fix.  For personal use, most sp do not add anything.  
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790974
I do realize I won't have to uninstall, I want to be able to keep the HD and registry clean after I do the format. So I have decideded to use Quaterdecks CleanSweep Deluxe version. I will install that after the format so I may more easily keep my system from getting congested. I will be running primarily Office97, Cadkey97 ,IE4.01 and Outlook Express. My systems has a 6.4Gig Hd but stillnot sure yet on how I need to partion it yet. I don't think any of the software I use needs FAT.

Am I going to have to reconfigure all the hardware settings ?
or will this survive a HD format?

Thanks for the input so far
Fred

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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790975
Adjusted points to 75
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Expert Comment

by:bwgerho
ID: 1790976
Yes, you will have to reconfigure all the hardware settings: a format of the drive wipes EVERYTHING clean.

I do not understand why you need the "Clean Sweep" program.  You and you alone control what is placed in the registry.  If you install only the above applications, then those are the entries in the registry.  You can control a clean system by not installing other programs.  

Another suggestion: after installing what you want, run a "emergency repair disk" and if you later install something that clutters your system, then do a system repair and you will be right back to your clean condition.  I suggest doing the repair out of a DOS prompt using the command  
rdisk.exe /s     The /s writes your user profiles to the disk for later repair.  Finally, during a repair, you will have to tell the system to replace the registry to return to the "clean system".  

I highly highly recommend FAT unless you need the long file names from NTFS or the added file lock capability.  I experienced much trouble with programs (Office 95) simply not compatible with NTFS but working fine on FAT.
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790977
Is there a way I can print out what all my hardware settings are at? Otherwise I'll have to make an awful lot of notes after doing inquiries through control panel.

Fred
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Expert Comment

by:bwgerho
ID: 1790978
What hardware settings do you want to copy?  Most items simply configure when they are setup.  The monitor needs to have colors, and resolution set and RAS needs phone numbers etc for internet access.  You will reload drivers for the printer, network cards, sound card etc.  Often these reloads require selections at the time.  
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790979
I will need to reconfigure the following:
Internal Zip Drive
Yamaha Sound Card
Network Card
Us Robotics 56K modem

I remember seeing somewhere a option to print off all the hardware configuration settings. I can't seem to relocate it.
Does any one know what I am speaking of?

Fred

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Expert Comment

by:johal
ID: 1790980
The best way to document all settings in your installation would be to write down what you r answer to the questions that apear throu the installation on paper. If you have the diskspace on a extra harddisk, try using a "image" program such as Ghost to copy your installation to the extra disk. That image can then be transfered to a CD-rw for a totaly secure backup. If you do any major uppgrades be sure to update your image file.
/Johan   :-)
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Accepted Solution

by:
olas earned 120 total points
ID: 1790981
Hi!
First: Book: I can recommend NT books from New Riders.
"NT Workstation Prof. reference", Ivens, or the corresponding Server book
written by Karanjit. The server book is my favorite since it also has much about
architecture and domains etc. These books are not for programmers and are
easily read by someone who has some pc/win/network skills.

Lets see if I understand the "current" question:
Documenting your hardware settings?
HQTOOL on the CD could help.
NT Diagnostics has an overview over resources/network etc and a print function.

Filesystem: On a workstation not requiring FAT and since You don't want
to run Office 95 - I would suggest NTFS and:
Backups and/or Central domain storage if available
ERD-disk with a "clean" registry on it
Startdisks that are verifyed to work in case you need to repair

Thats it!

Hope this helps!


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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790982
I tried to use the HQTOOL Utility I found a fd144.exe and a makedisk.bat file. I couldn't tell what the fd144.exe file did but the makedisk.bat wrote to the A: drive but I was unable to access the the disk it created. I got this message: "A:\ is not accessible The volume does not contain a recognized file system. Please make sure all required system drivers are loaded and that the volume is corrupt."

The Nt Diagnostics was what I was looking for. Thanks

If I make my primary partion NTFS can I convert it to FAT later without to much trouble ?

Does the Installation process prompt me to format the hard drive or do I have to do that before I begin the Installation?

I think I'm close to being able to start this whole process.

I appreciate the help. If you can help me with these couple other issues I will increas the points a give them to you.

Regards,
Fred
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790983
In my first paragraph the error message should read "volume is not corrupt". Ooops :-)
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Expert Comment

by:olas
ID: 1790984
Hi!
Converting partitions: No You can not convert NTFS to FAT unless You have a special
tool. Check out www.powerquest.com and their Partition Magic. Its a commercial product
so if you dont want to pay for the software try to find a shareware. I dont know of any
shareware currently supporting NTFS to FAT conversion.
If You would like to access the NTFS from DOS(floppy etc) You can use NTFSDOS
which mounts NTFS partitions from DOS. This file is available
at www.filez.com, search for NTFSDOS.

If You worry about converting NTFS to FAT maybe You should consider
waiting converting to NTFS until You need the features that NTFS offers(security etc).
You can convert FAT to NTFS by using the command prompt in NT:
convert drive: /fs:ntfs After a restart the volume will be converted.

By using FAT You can have ONE partition and both run W95 and NT in a dual boot
installation.

Why would You want to convert to FAT from NTFS?

HQTOOL: Have You verified that the disk is error-free? This disk should be bootable
if all is well and contain the tool.

/OLA


My recommendation is that you dont co

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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790985
I have decide to format my main partion as FAT and the rest will be NTFS.

The only thing I need clarified is this does the installation process prompt me to format the hard drive or do I have to do that before I begin the Installation?

Thanx
FRED
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Expert Comment

by:olas
ID: 1790986
Hi!
So You have decided to go with FAT+NTFS. OK!

If I were You I would:
1.  boot on dos-floppy
2. Run FDISK to create the primary FAT-part and set it to active!
3. Reboot and format the drive from floppy
4. If You are going to install Windows 95 - do it now!
    Make sure that You also install and make your CD available in DOS
5. After W95 is successfully installed and running:
    boot and press <F8> to enter startup menu
    Select "DOS prompt"
6. Switch to NT-CD and the directory \i386
7. Run WINNT  (with /B if you already have startdisks)
8. The installation will prompt you for a partition or free space to place
    NT on. You will be able to format the NTFS partition during install

GOOD LUCK!
Let me know if You're not successful!

/OLA    

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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790987
I am not going to install Windows95 but I do want DOS.
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790988
How do I create the dos-floppy from NT?

I tried to use the Fdisk command from the dos prompt in NT and I got a "wrong version" error message.

Although I was able to create a dos bootable disk from W95. Can I use this to create my FAT-partition, set it active and format the HD?

Fred

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Expert Comment

by:olas
ID: 1790989
Hi!
Create it on a machine running DOS and You should be ok.
It should work on a W95 also.
/OLA
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Expert Comment

by:olas
ID: 1790990
BTW, You can not create it on a NT!
/OLA
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Expert Comment

by:olas
ID: 1790991
Boot on the DOS/W95 floppy and run FDISK.
Make sure that the Filesystem NOT is FAT-32 since
NT can NOT reside on a FAT-32 disk.

Then format the drive.
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790992
This is what I did :
   
    - created installation disks from the NT cd
    - backuped up all my files
    - began the installation from the NT installation disks
    - deleted all partions
    - created the primary partion as FAT 2.0 g
    - installed the rest of NT
    - used disk administrator to partion the remainder of my     hard drive
    - reconfigured the hardware settings
    - restored my files to an empty partion
    - installed cleansweep then the all other apps


Everything went well without a glitch !

Thanks for all your help

Regards,
Fred    
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Author Comment

by:fdbguy
ID: 1790993
This is what I did :
   
    - created installation disks from the NT cd
    - backuped up all my files
    - began the installation from the NT installation disks
    - deleted all partions
    - created the primary partion as FAT 2.0 g
    - installed the rest of NT
    - used disk administrator to partion the remainder of my     hard drive
    - reconfigured the hardware settings
    - restored my files to an empty partion
    - installed cleansweep then the all other apps


Everything went well without a glitch !

Thanks for all your help

Regards,
Fred    
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Expert Comment

by:olas
ID: 1790994
You're welcome!
/OLA
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