Formatting Hard drive with Windows 98SE

I have a PIII 500Mhz computer running under Windows 98SE (Spanish version). I´ve backupped all important files and would like to format the drive and start from 0 (to clean). I've never done this and have no idea, so I would need a "step by step" guide for formatting and instructions on how to install windows 98SE again after formatting. I used to have the drive partitioned in 2, and a couple of months ago lost one of the partitions and everything that was in it (no need to recover that, anyway). In fact, the drive is 80GB, but when clicking "my pc" it would only show the 37GB corresponding to C: partition. This time I don't want any partitions. Just format and install Windows 98SE Spanish version. Thanks for help.

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First create a Dos Boot Floppy from your Control Panel / Software section, then boot your system with it. At the Dos Prompt enter "fdisk". Now follow the instructions you receive to delete the partitions on your disk. Having deleted the partitions reboot once again, and start fdisk again. Now follow the instructions to create 1 large primary, active partition. when finished reboot again. This time run "format c:", saying yes to any questions asked. Once the disk is formated insert your Windows CD, remove your floppy and restart, makeing sure your bios is set to start from CD.
If the CD starts the windows setup program should begin. Just follow the instructions you get here.

If you can't boot to with the CD, reenter your floppy, it should boot with all necessary cd drivers. Type "D;", then "CD win98" and then "setup". Again the setup program should now start.
How to:

You need a boot CD with Windows 98SE.

1. In your PC - in the BIOS make sure in the boot options - that first option is CDROM (ATAPI CDROM)
2. Insert the Windows 98SE CD into CDROM and boot - in the boot menu choose "Boot with CDROM support"
3. When boot is finished, type "fdisk" in the prompt.
4. When asked in fdisk to support large partitions - say "Y" (yes)
5. Choose option 3 and delete all partitions.
6. Choose option 1 in the main fdisk menu and create partition. (BTW - I would suggest to make at least 2 partitions - 1 for system another for DATA ( so the next time system will go kaboom - you won't loose all the data and you will have the option to reinstall from scratch or use the ghost image to revive the system)
7. Choose option 2 and select 1st partition as active.
8. Exit fdisk and reboot.
9. Boot from CDRom again - with support of CDRom.
10. When boot is finished go to cdrom to the folder \Win98\Spa (I think, there are 2 folders in \Win98: ena and your local version installation - go there). Browsing between folders in command line is by typing "cd folder_name" (e.g.: cd c:\win98).
11. Inside that folder type "setup" and press "Enter".

Setup will start, it will run the Scandisk - wait till its finished and exit it (follow instructions on the screen) - then the setup of the windows starts.
12. Finish the setup of the windows - PC will reboot and voila!

Don't forget to install all the needed drivers after that (look in the Device Manager for what devices do not have their drivers installed).

Good Luck

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Oops I forgot the format stage! sorry.

After step 10 do the following:

1. type "format /s c:" - you need that to prepare boot sector together with formattin the disk.

In case you created second partition - format it as well. (format d:)

2. after format is finished continue to step 11.

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f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
Reboot using floppy disk or cdrom and type FDISK at the command prompt.
Say yes at the first screen and hit enter.
Select option 3 to delete partitions,
select option 1 to delete primary partition,
if you get an error about logical drives in the expanded partition,you will need to delete them first.
Hit esc to go back and choose option 3 delete logical drives
after deleting them choose option 2 delete extented partition
delete it.
You will now be able to delete the primary partition option 1.
After deleting the partition go back to the main screen and choose option 1 create dos partition then choose option 1 create primary dos partition select all available space by just hitting enter
It will then do an integraty check,it will then ask if you want to make it active say yes then it will ask to reboot press ctr-alt-del.
Boot again using diskette or cd-rom type FORMAT C: to format when complete change to your cd-rom´s drive letter it could be D: E:,type dir and press enter to look at the contents of the cd type cd win98se(or win98)press enter,then type dir/p and look for setup.exe(for spanish it might be config or something)
Choose it and setup will start

NB: Remember that Fdisk might be in spanish and not english

If you get confused with FDISK menus then look here

Here you can find some docs:
dukakisAuthor Commented:
Thank you all.

For rindi & muhalok, sorry but I know nothing about BIOS, what´s it for or how to get there. I hope it's not too difficult for you to tell me what I need to know about BIOS for this purpose.

For muhalok, I want no partitions (I mean, just one C: drive), cause what happened to me was the opposite you said; no system crash, but data loss. D: drive vanished and I´ve tried everything (lots of instructions of experts, downloading programs, etc.) to recover it unsuccessfully. Anyway I don't need it now.

For all, can I boot from Windows 98SE CD and not use at all floppies? I also have a 256MB USB 2.0 Flash Drive... (I confess I have no floppies here) to use instead. One last thing, muhalok tells me to type "format /s c:" instead of "format c:" as rindi & f-king.
f-kingIT support technicianCommented:
On bootup you will get the POST screen the one where you see your cpu speed and memory amount,look for something that say´s press DEL to enter setup or F2 to enter setup.
whichever one it is you must press it quickley when that screen is still displayed,otherwise restart and try again.
If done correctly you will enter the bios menu,select advanced bios features(or similar),and change boot sequence (by pressing the + key on the numpad of the keyboard) to cd-rom first and then probarbly followed by diskette drive or harddrive.
Then press esc to go back to the main menu(or similar) and select save changes and exit.
place your win98 cd into your cd-rom,reboot and you should get to a ms-dos prompt where you can use FDISK.
I think format c: is a more standard way of formating today,c:/s just makes the drive bootable but windows setup does that for you anyway.
" "format /s c:" instead of "format c:" as rindi & f-king."

is the command, calling up the formatting program.

is the drive that should be formatted (C: is usually the hard drive, in fact the primary partition on the first hard drive. If you have one hard drive and only one partition - that's C:)

is a "switch", telling format to do something in a certain way. The /s switch transfers the system files from the floppy/CD to the hard drive, making it bootable. It is NOT necessary for a win9X installation from a proper win9X CD; this process is run during installation.
BIOS are some small systemlevel programs which are essential to be able to boot the PC. They tell the system what hardware is installed and it is usually stored on a flashable eprom. When you turn on your PC you should normaly see a message to press a certain key to change your system settings, normaly this key is DEL, ctrl+esc, F2, F10, F12, and that way you get into your BIOS setup utility. Usually there will be a an option somewhere where you can change the order for boot device, including the CDRom (except in old systems). Only new PCs als include being able to boot from USB devices. If yours is such a PC, you might be able to use your 256MB flash drive to boot. As rid mentioned, the swith /s in the format command is used to transfer the "System" to the drive, but it should come after the drive letter:

format c: /s

Hmm, why have people repeated what others have said already?
Some experts type slowly and when they begin, the thread may be empty... when they post their suggestion they may find that other people have been posting during their typing.

Or some expert think that a previous comment needs clarification/amplification/modification to be of better use to the questioner.

Didn't know that/if windows 98se cd was bootable by default...

just a summary of the tasks...
1. create back-up (done)
2. collect driver info OR backup your drivers too (using tool from
    goto devicemanager ad write down which videocard/modem/soundcard/chipset you're      
    using. (your going to need this after reïnstall, but having the drivers before reïnstalling is
3. create a bootable disk (floppy, or use the flashdrive if supported by bios, or cdr-om if    
    bootable or create bootable dos-cdrom). Make sure it has a) cd-rom drivers b) fdisk c)
4. delete partitions and set new partition (make sure it's primary and set active or you won't
    be able to boot from it)
5. reboot and format disk
6. install windows 98se
7. install drivers/software and put your backup back to disk

that's it...any questions about specific steps?

Blue Rishi
dukakisAuthor Commented:
Thank you all... I mean ALL, even zeropoint, but I'll let zeropoint know that every comment has been helpful for me. Maybe he is THE GREAT MASTER on knowledge, but theese people were helping an intermediate (or low) level copm user, so what is obvious or repetitive for you, for me was a new helpful explanation. So, now you see, all the others get the points of reward, but you don't get any. Sorry, next time try helping. Thanks.
so it takes 1 hour to write a few lines? seeing as the accepted answer was written at 401? and the ones after a long time after....or do they just hope that in answering the same thing another way (without first waiting to see if that person asks for a more clear explanation or that it just doesn't work before posting again) that they can get some points to be a point hog? This site is really bad that way. Lets just stop repeating what others have already said, until the aurthor has asked for more assitance, or you think that the previous posts are wrong, or need to be more clear. Don't say the same thing though. We don't wan't sit here and read on and on about the same procedure a few blocks up.
The author doesn't complain, obviously. If ZeropointNRG has a problem with the thread, he should post something about the annoyance in the Community Support Area. IMHO.
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