Partitioning, Formatting and Reinstalling in Windows 98

Formatting and reinstalling windows 98 is very easy if you have the right know-how.

This article will discuss how to format, partition and reinstall windows 98 on your PC.

Before going ahead and doing this, it is important to be comfortable with the terms format, partition and file systems.

Formatting creates magnetic markers, which define sectors where the data is stored.

Basically you might want to format your hard drive if you are experiencing constant problems with your operating system. Another reason could be to clean out the registry, which gets clogged up over time by installing programs (and spy ware and third party software which get installed without your knowledge).

It's also a good idea to format your hard drive if you are upgrading to a new operating system.

Partitioning is the process of dividing the space available on the hard disk into blocks. One reason for partitioning is that it helps in organising the data.

I.e. lets say you have an 80 GB hard disk drive. You can partition it to organize data into various categories like a drive for your Windows and system files and for your personal work. You can then have another separate drive for storing the rest of your programs.

You can even have one more for storing all your multimedia files, and maybe even one for storing backups of all your important files.

Before going ahead and partitioning a drive it is important to understand how partitions actually work.

There are two kinds of partitions: primary DOS and extended DOS, and you can create logical DOS partitions within the extended partitions.

The primary partition is your active partition and this is from where your computer boots, sort of like a system partition.

The extended partition is a placeholder where you can create all the other logical partitions.

File System is basically the way that files are stored on your computer. Windows 98 supports two kinds of file systems: File Allocation Table 16 (FAT 16) and file Allocation Table (FAT 32).

FAT 16 can support a drive of maximum 2 GB in size. For example, if you have an 8 GB hard disk, then you can have 4 drives of 2 GB each.

FAT 32 on the other hand can support a drive of up to 2 Terabytes in size.

Before actually going ahead and doing the reinstall it is advisable to back up any and all of your data and device drivers as a format will wipe out all your data on the drive.

There are two ways of backing up your data and device drivers:

* Save them in a storage media like floppy drivers, CD's, zip disks etc.

* If you have a partitioned hard disk and you do not plan to format a particular drive then back up all your data there.

After performing your backups it's time to get down to formatting and partitioning (if you want to do that as well) your hard drive.

First you need to decide on a few things:

* Do you wish to partition you hard drive or change the way it is partitioned currently? * The file system you want to use. Windows 98 support two file systems FAT 16 and FAT 32.

To format your PC and reinstall windows 98 you need to do the following:

1. Make sure that you have the start up disk that came along with your operating system CD. You can also make a start up disk by going to the Control Panel> Add/Remove Programs> Create Start up Disk, click on the button and insert a floppy in your floppy drive.

2. Eject the floppy disk after the start up disk has been created.

3. Turn off your computer.

4. Insert the start up disk in your floppy drive.

5. Restart your computer.

6. Instead of booting from the hard disk, your computer will now boot from the floppy and a menu will appear.

7. From the menu select "Start without CD-ROM support."

8. After the files are loaded and you are returned to the prompt "A:/" type FDISK

9. The FDISK tool is loaded and allows you to delete the existing DOS partition.

10. Choose the file system you want to use.

11. Delete the existing DOS partition by following the prompts on screen. (Option 3))

12. After you have deleted the partition press the 'Esc' key to return to the main menu.

13. Now you need to create a new DOS partition.

14. Type in FDISK again and go through the various steps to create a new DOS primary partition (Option 1)). Assign it all the space available (100%).

15. Exit FDISK and reboot system.

16. Now you need to format your drive, so type in FORMAT Driveletter: (where Driveletter is the letter of your hard disk, C: by default)

17. After the format switch over to your CD ROM, by typing in the drive letter for the CD ROM drive (D: by default) and type in setup.exe to begin the installation of windows 98.

Creating extended and logical DOS partitions

Follow steps 1 to 14

Now in order to create other extended and logical DOS partitions make sure that you have not assigned all the space to the primary partition. Decide beforehand how much space you want to allocate to the primary partition.

14.1.Instead of exiting FDISK, re enter the FDISK options menu and select the option to create Extended DOS partition (Option 1)) and assign it the rest of the space that is still unallocated and follow the various prompts on screen to create the extended partition.

14.2 Again re enter the FDISK menu. This time select the option to create logical DOS partitions and assign space to it.

14.3 Follow the above step in order to create more logical drives.

Follow step 15 and 16

16.1 Format all your other drives by using the format command i.e. FORMAT Driveletter:

Follow step 17 in order to in install windows 98.

Deleting existing extended partitions and creating new ones

If you are not happy with the way your hard disk is currently partitioned you can also delete the existing partitions and create new ones.

Follow steps 1 to 11

11.1 Instead of exiting, re enter the menu and delete the rest of the partitions (Option 3).

Follow steps 12 to 17

Ashish Jain
Ashish is an integral member of the M6.Net Web helpers team, hoping to share some of his knowledge with the internet populace.

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