Another question re: Reformatting for clean Win98 install.

Hoping Tom will answer:
Would you again go over the procedure for building a boot floppy for reformatting prior to the clean install.  Also, would you comment on the format C procedure itself.  I do not wish to create partitions.

By the way, I have two hard drives, but only wish to reformat The "C" boot drive. Also for clarification, after the Win98 install will I need to reinstall programs which reside on my "D" drive or is there and way to avoid that.  My guess is that for the Registry to be aware, I need to reinstall every program I own, even though they may reside on another physical drive. Is that so?
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tbaffyConnect With a Mentor Commented:

There are three different possibilities for starting your Win98 install.

1) Use the Win98 RC4 emergency setup disk (ESD) to perform the install.
2) Create a boot disk from scratch.
3) Boot directly from the Win98 CDROM

I will discuss each of them in turn.

Using the Win98 RC4 Emergency Startup Disk
You mentioned earlier that you are currently running Win98 Release Candidate 4 on your machine.  You also mentioned that you could use the ESD to perform a clean reinstall of the official product release.  This is entirely true.  The ESD is designed to be used to recover a blown up Win98 installation, and failing that to allow you to reinstall the product.  

The disk can be used as it is.  When you boot it you simply choose the type of CDROM that you have and let it boot you to a DOS prompt.  At this point you will have four drives:

A: - Your floppy disk
C: - Your hard disk
D: - A RAMdisk that the ESD copy utilities to.
E: - Your CDROM

If you look at the directory on D: you will see a number of DOS utilities there including FORMAT.COM.  FDISK.EXE is on the floppy disk.  These are the two utilities that are critical for a clean installation.

The only concern that I mentioned earlier has to do with the way that the Win98 registry will store information about the source of the install files.  Since there is a D: drive defined in the boot of the ESD, your CDROM will be put on the E: drive letter.  This will cause the source path for the install to be saved in the Win98 registry as E:\WIN98.  Once you reboot your system into  Windows the RAMdisk will disappear and the CDROM will default to the D: drive.  This will cause any future reconfiguration of your system to prompt you to specify where the install files are becuase the registry is pointing to the wrong drive letter.

There are two ways to approach this problem:

1) You can edit the source path for install files in the registry.  It is easiest to use regedit to search for all instances of E:\WIN98 then change them to D:\WIN98.

2) You can alter the drive letter assigned to your CDROM by:
Right-click on My Computer
Choose Properties from the speed menu
Select the Device Manager tab
Click on the plus sign in front of CDROMs
Select the entry for your CDROM drive
Click on the Properties button
Select the Settings tab
Change the assigned drive letter at the bottom of the property sheet.

Both of the entries should be changed to E: to fix your problem.

The advantage of this approach is that it moves the CDROM to a drive letter that will still be there if you add a second hard disk into your system.  This will allow all of the registry entries to remain accurate after the new drive is installed.  In fact you may want to consider moving the drive even further down the alphabet just in case.  I know several system builders that routinely put the CDROM on the letter R: (for ROM I guess) so that the user can install a number of hard disks with multiple partitions and are not likely to infringe on this letter.  In order to do that you should use a boot disk that you create.

Creating your own boot disk
This method allows you to have complete control over the boot process by building your own boot disk.  Follow these steps on your RC4 machine:

Put a new (or expendable) floppy disk in your A: drive
Open My Computer
Right Click on the floppy drive icon
Choose Format
Check Copy System Files
Click on the Start button

This will create a bootable floppy disk.  If you wish you can test it to make sure it will boot to a DOS prompt correctly.

You should copy these files to the floppy (I am assuming that Win98 RC4 was installed into the C:\Windows folder):

C:\Windows\Command\ (just in case)
C:\Windows\Command\ (just in case)
And the OAKCDROM.SYS from your RC4 ESD

OAKCDROM.SYS does not exist on your C: drive as a file of its own.  It is expanded to the ESD when it is created.

You now need to create a config.sys on the floppy disk using a text editor.  The file should contain:


You need to create an autoexec.bat on your floppy disk using a text editor.  It should contain:


The "?" should be replaced with the drive letter you wish the CDROM to be placed on for the install.  Remember that this is the drive letter that will be placed in the Win98 registry as the install source path.  You should use Device Manager to force the CDROM back to this same drive letter after Win98 is completely installed.  That way you can determine what letter you want your CDROM to have ahead of time.

You should now be able to boot from this disk to perform the installation.

CDROM boot
The Win98 CDROM is bootable.  If you have a system that supports booting from an ATAPI (IDE) CDROM drive you can start the entire install from here.  Since you have the full version of Win98,  there should be a screen to add/remove partitions on your disk during the install process.  This is one of the ways that an OEM system builder would install Win98 on a new machine.

Partitioning and Formatting
There are a couple of considerations when you choose the partitioning on your hard disk. First you must decide if you want to dual boot this machine with Windows NT 4.0 in the future.  If you do then you will have to make the boot partition (C:) a FAT16 partition.  FAT16 partitions are limited to 2 GB in size so you may have to create multiple partitions on your hard disk to support this.  This restriction will be lifted by Win NT 5.0 which will support FAT32 partitions.

If your hard disk is 8 GB or larger you may want to use multiple FAT32 partitions to avoid the creation of a FAT32X partition.  FAT32X partitions are created when the partition reaces 8 GB in size (or larger).  This type of partition requires that your hardware and BIOS support BIOS INT13h Extensions.  Essentially FAT32x means FAT32 with INT 13h Extensions.  This partition type locates system structures like the boot sector differently than any other partition type.  This means that disk utilities such as Partition Magic and Norton Utilities do NOT know how to manipulate it correctly.  Versions of these utilities that understand FAT32X will eventually reach the market but I am not aware of them being here yet.

Whatever partitioning strategy you use you should consider how many drive letters it will consume when planning what drive letter to place your CDROM on.  Make sure to leave some room for growth between the highest drive letter on a hard disk partition and the letter you assign the CDROM.

Formatting is simple.  Once you create a partition you must format it to create all of the structures in the partition that the file system uses to track the files and folders.  The FORMAT command is used for this.

If your hard disk is smaller than 8 GB and you don't care about WinNT 4.0 support then your choice is simple for a straight install.  Create a single FAT32 partition.

This post along with my other should give you the info you need to be successful.  If you have any other questions just ask.

Assuming you are currently using Windows95 and floppy drive is "a:":

NOTE: Some things to consider before formating drive C: is whether or not you have copies of all your device drivers, such as the CD Rom, display, audio, ets drivers. I usually keep a copy of these drivers on my secondary hard drive for easy installation during/after installing a new operating system. ALSO, you may want to copy the directory containing the core components of the OS to you secondary HD so that after installation you can just run the setup program within that directory. For example using Win95: I keep a copy of Win95\ on my secondary HD. This directory is on the CD and contains the .CAB files and the SETUP.EXE. When I need to reinstall I just format the C: drive and go to the D: drive and type SETUP. On goes the Win95 installation. I haven't looked at the Win98 disc but I assume it has the same sort of directory on it.

1. Insert a floppy into the disk drive.
2. Open a Dos box or exit into MS Dos.
3. At the Dos prompt, type: "format  /s a:" and hit enter: this will clean the disk and add system files to  the floppy.
4. Reboot your system with the floppy disc still in the floppy drive: this will boot the system using the floppy disc; once the booting is complete you should be in MSDos mode with a command prompt like "a:>".
5. To reformat drive C, at the prompt type "format c:" and hit enter. The system will tell you that your C: driver is a non-removable disc and ask if you're sure you want to erase all of the contents of the drive. Press "y" and hit enter. Drive C: will format.

If you put the installation directory on the secondary drive, go to that directory and install Win98.

Finally, all of your old programs will need to be reinstalled. If not just for the sake of the registry but for any updated driver files Win98 will load.

VERIFICATION: The release Win98 CD has a directory \Win98. This directory has the necessary .CAB files and SETUP.EXE. This directory can be copied to your secondary drive and after formating your primary drive, you can run SETUP.EXE from your secondary drive to install Win98.
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Kink--are you Tom?

Sorry about the delay, I was out of town for a couple days.  Go ahead and reject the answer and I will post mine.


I didn't mean to interfere, Tom; I'm new and I thought I was helping.

rmbishowAuthor Commented:
With much appreciation...I thank you!
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