Partitioning with Fdisk

Posted on 2006-05-04
Last Modified: 2011-10-03

I have a 40 GB Samsung SP0411N hard drive as master and run Windows '98 SE.

Currently, I have just one partition which uses 100% of what space is available - drive C.  I would like to change this to have the following:

Drive C - 80% of capacity (for OS and programs)
Drive D - 10% of capacity (for my data only)
Drive E - 10% of capacity (for my data only)

Here is what I intend to do to achieve the above:

1) Back up any important data to CD-R
2) Boot from Windows '98 SE Startup Floppy Disk *without* CD-ROM support
3) Run Fdisk
4) Delete existing Primary DOS Partition
5) Create Primary DOS Partition for 80% of capacity (for drive C)
6) Create *one* Extended DOS Partition for 20% of capacity (for drives D and E)
7) Create a Logical DOS Drive in the Extended DOS Partition for 10% of capacity (for drive D)
8) Create a Logical DOS Drive in the Extended DOS Partition for 10% of capacity (for drive E)
9) Set drive C as the Active Partition
10) Exit Fdisk
11) Type format c: /s <enter>
12) Type format d: <enter>
13) Type format e: <enter>
14) Install OS back to drive C again

Could you please tell me if this is correct?  Is there anything else I need to do?  Will I be able to use the drive letters specifically C, D and E (Q and R are being used for a DVD-ROM and CD-Writer respectively)?  When deleting the existing partition will all of the space become available for the new partitions?

Thanks in Advance,

Question by:Richard2000
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Unless I am missing soemthing here, it would be much easier to buy partition magic and use it to modify the partition on the fly and create the other 2.  Lot of work to back up and re-install, unless 98 is so crudded up with junk that you want to do the clean install.  Even then, I'd be tempted to use partition magic, make the 2 partitions, then copy your data right to them, then on reboot use a floppy to boot to dos and format c: and re-install.

    For 19 Bucks and instant download, why not???
    LVL 7

    Assisted Solution

    If you wanted to do it your way...

    After 10 will require a reboot to see the new partitions.  On the reboot you want to use *with* CDROM support.  Then proceed with 11/12/13.  Don't need the /s since the CD install will put the system files on C:  but it doesn't hurt anything.  after format d and e (you can do it now or after the install).

    Expert Comment

    Contact me to get Partition Magic
    You uses Partition Magic to modify partition and you don't need delete partion and setup windows again.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment


    I see that you are a fairly new member here.
    What you are offering seems to be against Experts-Exchange membership rules.

    Specifically, if you have a read through the Help links to familiarise yourself with how Experts-Exchange functions, you will find these two relevant sections:
    Note jdietrich's footnote about BUYING Partition Magic "For 19 Bucks and instant download".

    Additionally, you have repeated the suggestion already made by jdietrich.  You must read previous comments.
    LVL 38

    Accepted Solution

    jdietrich has highlighted the most important consideration when partitioning and then formatting, and that is the ESSENTIAL step of rebooting AFTER creating the partitions, but BEFORE formatting.  You will be notified of this when you press ESC to exit FDISK anyway.

    Just one other thing, and it is with regard to what you have said about the drive letter assignments:
    " Will I be able to use the drive letters specifically C, D and E (Q and R are being used for a DVD-ROM and CD-Writer respectively".
    The drive letter assignments will be dictated by the boot floppy you use, rather than what they WERE previously in Windows.  It could be the case that you are using an OEM Boot Floppy or some other one that specifically sets the Drive Letters of the CD Drives (DVD-Rom and CD-RW are both treated as CD Drives) to Q and R.

    A standard Windows 98/98SE boot floppy finds the hard drive partitions and will assign yours as C, D, and E, BUT it will then assign the letter F to a temporary "RamDrive" which just exists in memory for as long as the system is booted to the floppy, and contains some essential DOS programs such that the commands are available from that "RamDrive" without having to specify a path to them.  This also means that you could remove the boot floppy and insert another one (for whatever reason), but still have use of the DOS programs in memory.  The RamDrive letter will always come after the last hard drive partition, but before the CD Drives, so your DVD-Rom and CD-RW will be assigned as G and H respectively.

    The above applies to a standard Win98/98SE boot floppy, and I recommend that you crate one if yours is assigning Q and R to the CD drives.  It saves guesswork and confusion.  If you download the following file to any Windows computer and run it with a blank floppy in the drive, it will create an exact copy of a Windows 98SE boot floppy.

    Note also that if you ever add a hard drive with a capacity larger than 63 GB to that system, the version of FDISK on the Win98se boot floppy (and the one installed by Win98se which is used to later create new boot floppies) will falsely report hard drive capacities.  For instance, an 80 GB hard drive will show in FDISK as 80GB - 64GB = 17GB.

    You should install the following update once Win98se is installed, and then create a couple of new boot floppies with the version of FDISK that corrects this problem:

    Here's a Help File that roughly approximates the FDISK options:

    FDISK Screens:
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    One other suggestion that you can use if you choose to use Partition Magic to split the existing partition as proposed, or if you choose the long way with FDISK and then reinstall Windows.  Copy the "win98" folder from the Windows CD to the partition, and then you can file away your CD.

    After installation, copy the folder from CD to the partition within Windows, and then change the registry to reflect this as having been the "Install Source" - but ONLY if you know your way around modifying the registry using REGEDIT.


    Change the path shown as the value for "SourcePath" to reflect the path to the "win98" folder copied to your partition, eg. E:\WIN98\

    The next time any event needs your Win98se CD it will retrieve what it needs from the files on the hard drive rather than asking you to insert the CD.  The next time you need to format the C: Drive by booting to a floppy, you can run setup.exe from that folder on your partition and it will install a great deal faster.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Hmmm.  The link is now defunct.  It was OK a couple of days ago, and has been for the last few years.  Damn.  Will have to find an alternative one.
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    For BillDL: should have whatever you want.

    Author Comment

    Thanks for your help.

    The reasons I chose to use the Fdisk method are:

    1) I had a new hard drive installed last month (the old one failed).  I installed my OS as a test from the CD-ROM.  Therefore, I don't have any important data on my computer (other than some files I've downloaded, which I will be burning to CD-R anyway).  I'd like to have a fresh start at my proper setup.

    2) I don't foresee myself needing to change the partitions at a later date.

    3) Fdisk is easily accessible on my Windows '98 Startup Disk and it appears to do what I want.

    I don't think it is necessary to start with CD-ROM support when rebooting to format the drives (can't see it making a difference with or without).

    When using my Windows '98 Startup Disk (which I created myself), the drive letters are actually E and F for the DVD-ROM and CD-Writer respectively and D for the RAM-Drive.  At all other times in Windows and DOS, they are Q and R (and no RAM-Drive).

    Interesting point about the SourcePath.  I'm using an OEM version of Windows '98 SE.  The path is set to C:\WINDOWS\OPTIONS\CABS\.  Perhaps this explains why sometimes Windows doesn't ask me for the CD-ROM, when it may have done otherwise.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Thank you, Richard.
    It may well be the fact that you have an OEM Windows 98 CD that the DVD-Rom and CD-RW drives are assigned to Q and R after windows is installed.  This will be something set (probably from your config.sys and autoexec.bat) as the system boots, but this will not be set if you boot to a boot floppy which uses another method to assign drive letters.
    The difference is just as you have pointed out, ie. your self made boot floppy doesn't create that temporary Ram Drive.

    Yes, the C:\Windows\Options\CABS is the standard place for the setup files to be copied.  Even if you install from setup files copied to a separate partition, rather than directly from the CD, the C:\Windows\Options\CABS folder will be created.  In that scenario though, it usually won't be populated with all the cab files but will be used to dump copies of files used during the installation of some Windows updates that you install later.

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