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How to reformat hard drive

BonnieW asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-12
I have a Compaq notebook that's too cluttered.  I tried to reformat my hard drive and
reinstall everything on a clean drive.  I booted up from a DOS 6.22 install disk and
proceeded to format my drive and install the program.  The problem is I had three
drive letters and DOS only formatted and installed the C:\  -  now I've lost over a GBYTE
in space that was taken up by the other two drive letters.   How do I reformat the entire
hard disk giving me only one partition?  
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Edited text of question


   Dos can only recognize up to 2 GBs.  I suggest you do a fdisk with the Dos diskettes and delete all of your existing partitions and create a new one.  Boot up with the Dos diskette and get to a A:\ prompt.  Type in Fdisk and the rest is self explanatory. Afterwhich, you can reboot and have Dos reformat the entire drive (provided it is under 2 GBs).

Remember the steps:

1) Use Fdisk to create and delete partitions.
2) Use format to format a drive/partition.

How big is the drive?

What partition information does FDISK display?

Were you previously using hard drive overlay software such as Disk Manager?



There is not enough information given here to be able to supply a definitive "answer" for the question.

No matter how correct the information you have given is, it might NOT be what is needed to solve BonnieW's problem.

I suggest you read the E-E guidelines to learn when it is appropriate to submit a comment as opposed to an answer.

Correct solutions for the wrong problem helps no one.
Points gained in such fashion don't really impress anybody either.



I have a 3.x gb drive.  Previously I used Partition Magic to format the drive into three partitions.  Now DOS shows that the drive itself has 3gig capacity, but has only one partition (Letter C) with 2gig capacity.   Partition Magic shows one active drive (Letter C) with one partition and one inactive drive x with one partition.  Is there a way to eliminate partitions and reformat a drive that is larger than 2 gigs?  
Thanks for your input.

To format the drive as one partition, you need an operating system that can use FAT32.
Windows95 version "B" or newer has FAT32 available to use for this.
Let me know if you want me to explain more.


Ralph,  I installed Windows 95 b and was able to accomplish the task.  I now have one drive with 3gigs.  Thanks for your help.  How does this point thing work?  Can I assign the points to you?


     With all due respect, where do you get off on telling anyone how to answer questions?  I post answers according to how the question is asked.  Now, if people were to write concise and explicit questions, it would be much easier to answer them.  However, for the most part, the questions here are somewhat cryptic.  If this individual (or most of the people here) were to state what their problems are, what they want to do, then it would be much simpler for all of us.  Bonnie wanted to format her harddrive into one partition with Dos.  Now, if she had stated that she wants to upgrade to 95b/98 and so forth, then i could of told her to use Fat32 for the whole thing.  For as much as i know, she was trying to install Dos only.  I am not a mind reader, Ralph.  I only provide answers to what you tell me.  If one leaves out intricate details, then it ain't my fault.  And i am not going to go through the trouble of having a discussion with these people to extract what they "really" want to do just to have someone else come along and submit the solution.  

Ralph, I am not here to impress anyone.  


  One more thing:  What would you say if after she formats with Fat32 and she comes back with "What is the deal, i can't install NT now!"  

> I booted up from a DOS 6.22 install disk and
> proceeded to format my drive and install the program.
> The problem is I had three drive letters
> and DOS only formatted and installed the C:\

Unless you used the 'FDISK' utility,
all you did was to reformat the C: partition;
i.e., you didn't touch the D: or E: partitions,
so they are still unmodified.

One restriction of DOS is a maximum partition-size of 2GB.
Enter 'FDISK /status' to see how your hard-drive is partitioned.

> - now I've lost over a GBYTE in space
> that was taken up by the other two drive letters.

You've probably not "lost" anything.
Boot to DOS, and enter 'DIR D:' and/or 'DIR E:'.

Try 'FORMAT D:' and/or 'FORMAT E:',
to see if you can access (and re-format) the other drives.

> How do I reformat the entire hard disk
> giving me only one partition?

Use 'FDISK' to display (and delete) your current partitions.

install OS/2 Warp, and select 'HPFS' (High Performance File System),
or install Windows 98, and select 'FAT32',
or install Windows NT, and select 'NTFS' (NT File System),
or install Windows 95 OSR2 (OEM Service Release 2),
and select 'FAT32'.

Each of these file-systems support "larger-than-2GB" partitions.

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