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How To Format,
Partition, And Do A
Clean Install Of
Windows


Scenarios for a Clean Installation

If you're considering installing Microsoft Windows on a "blank" or "clean" hard disk, one of these two scenarios likely describes your computer:

     1. The computer has a new hard disk installed that has no operating system.
     2. The computer has an existing hard disk that you possibly want to repartition and reformat. This
          irretrievably removes the prior operating system and all other information on the computer to
          get a "clean" hard disk.

Installing Windows under these scenarios affords you certain opportunities.
     1. It's the perfect time to partition (divide up) the hard disk into more than one disk drive. For
         example, a 12-gigabyte (GB) hard disk with the typical single partition would have only one
         drive that uses the hard disk-namely, drive C. But you could partition that hard disk into a
         number of drives: drive C could consist, say, of 6 GB, drive D of 4 GB, and drive E of 2 GB.
         Notice that the available space of the three drives adds up to the total disk space of 12 GB.
         Your CD-ROM or DVD drive under this scenario would end up with the drive letter F.
     2. Such partitioning enables you to install another operating system, such as Microsoft Windows
         2000, on another drive without conflicting with Windows Me.
     3. Or you can use other drives for storing large files or installing performance-demanding
         programs, such as games, and thereby minimize their affect on the performance of Windows,
         which would reside on drive C. But doing all this involves a process that you must follow very
         closely. The following sections take you through this process.

Getting Prepared

Time to complete: about 30-60 minutes
For new hard disks, it is assumed that you have taken care of the following issues before proceeding:
     1. You have physically installed it in the computer.  That is, the hard disk is screwed into position,
         and the power and data cables are connected.
     2. The computer recognizes the hard disk.  The two common types of hard disks are IDE
         integrated drive electronics) and SCSI (small computer system interface). If the drive is SCSI,
         the SCSI adapter card will take care of identi-fying the hard disk. If it is IDE, you must make
        sure the computer's CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) is set to recognize the
         disk. If you have the option to "auto detect," you can initially try selecting that option. However,
         check your hardware documentation first; there are many differences among BIOS (basic
         input/output system) manufacturers and revisions.
     3. You have created a Windows Startup disk for starting the computer and making the new hard
         disk usable.  It is also assumed that you have tested your computer to ensure you can start it
         from the Windows Startup disk. This disk is also called the emergency boot disk (EBD). If you
        do not have a Windows Startup disk, create one. (
see Windows XP Index Page - Create A
        Startup Disk or Windows 98 Index Page - Create A Windows Startup Disk
)

Important considerations

By heeding these considerations, you help ensure that Windows installs and operates correctly.
     1. Make sure your computer meets the system requirements for the operating system you are
         installing.  Refer to Microsoft's website for system requirements.
     2. Locate the documentation for your computer hardware.  You need this in case you need to
         change CMOS settings or check other information.
     3. Determine whether your computer requires "drive overlay software" to allow it to see large
          hard disks.  If so, you might need to use that software to prepare the disk drive. However,
         even though this software comes with most hard disks, you should not install it unless it's
         required to properly access the disk. Most recently manufactured computers do not require
         this software.
     4. Back up all critical data on your hard disk.  While it is unlikely you will encounter a serious
         problem installing Windows, it is always a good idea to perform a complete system backup
         before installing a new operating system. When you upgrade your computer's operating
         system, it is possible that an error could occur (such as a problem due to incompatible
         hardware or a power failure) that could temporarily or permanently prevent access to the data
         on your hard disk.
Materials

Gather the items noted below before you begin:
     1. The Windows product CD to install Windows with. 
     2. A 3.5-inch floppy disk.  You need this to create a Windows Startup disk.
     3. An earlier, full Windows product disk if you have the Windows Upgrade product.  If you have a
         full product disk from a prior version of Windows, you can perform a full Windows installation
         with your Upgrade product CD. To do so, you begin the Windows installation with your
         Windows Upgrade product CD. You are then prompted to insert the CD or disk from a prior full
         version. After the full version is verified, you are prompted to insert the Windows Upgrade
        product CD, and then the installation proceeds. No files from the prior Windows version are
        installed. The full product CDs of Microsoft Windows 98 or Windows 95, or the floppy disks for
        Windows for Workgroups, work for verifying a full version of an earlier Windows product.
     4. Driver disks from manufacturers.  If you have hardware that requires drivers that are not part of
         Windows, you need the disk or CD that the manufacturer provided with these drivers.
     5. The product key.  The 25 letters and numbers of the product key. Windows will not work without
         your product key. It accompanies the software package you purchased and can be found on
         the Certificate of Authenticity (COA) label. The COA label is located either on the back of this
         guide, or on the shrink wrap.

Partition the Hard Disk

Time to complete: about 30-60 minutes
Dividing up or partitioning a physical hard disk involves creating partitions and logical drives. There are two types of partitions: primary and extended. A typical computer with just one hard disk has the entire capacity of the disk set up on drive C. This means that the primary partition consists of the entire capacity of the hard disk. But it's also possible to set up that hard disk so that it has more than one drive. To do this, you wipe out the old primary partition and create a new primary partition that only takes up part of the hard disk's total capacity-for example, 60%. The system designates it drive C. You then create an extended partition. Next, on the extended partition, you set up one or more logical drives, dividing up the remaining 40% as you see fit-maybe 20% for a logical drive that the system designates drive D, and the remaining 20% for yet another logical drive that the system designates drive E. The system automatically assigns drive letters, in alphabetical order, to each logical drive you create.

Notes:
     1. Every primary partition and logical drive is assigned a drive letter. An extended partition never
         gets a drive letter.
     2. Always follow the Fdisk on-screen prompts carefully. They tell you how to maneuver through the
         menus. For more information about Fdisk, see the following section, "Use Fdisk to partition a
         hard disk."
     3. When you delete an existing partition or create a new one, any prior data on the hard disk is
         destroyed. Be certain that you have backed up any information you want before performing this
         procedure.
     4. You may encounter some differences in the following procedure, depending on your system
          and your preferences. For example, some of the following steps may differ if your computer
          has more than one physical hard disk drive, such as when the second drive has programs
          installed on it and you want to install Windows on the D drive rather than the C drive.
     5. If your computer has more than one hard disk, the first must have a primary partition, and then
         if you want, an extended partition with one or more logical drives. The remaining hard disks
        can have either one primary partition, one primary and one extended partition (the extended
        partition being divided into one or more logical drives), or one extended partition with one or
        more logical drives.

Use Fdisk to partition a hard disk

When you partition a hard disk, you use the Fdisk utility (short for fixed disk, another term for an internal hard disk) located on the Windows Startup disk you have already made.

To partition the hard disk

     1. Shut down and turn off the computer, and insert the Windows Startup disk in drive A. Then
         restart the computer.
     2. At the Microsoft Windows Startup menu, you can choose to start the computer with or without
         CD ROM support. Press the number on your keyboard that corresponds to the choice you
         want.

Note: After 30 seconds, the Windows Startup disk starts the computer with CD-ROM support, and might display a Help file. You can exit the Help file by pressing ALT+F on your keyboard to open the File menu, and then pressing X.

     3. If the hard disk has an operating system on it (and is therefore partitioned), you will need to
         remove the partition(s). To do this in Fdisk, you must provide the volume name of each drive
         that has one. To gather volume names, at the command prompt, type the following, and then
         press ENTER:

vol x:


         where x is a drive letter on the hard disk, such as C or D. Be sure to include the colon (:) after
         the drive letter. Write down the volume name. Repeat this step for each drive you have on the
         hard disk. It's okay if a drive does not have a volume name. Volume name information is not
         needed for floppy disk drives or CD-ROM drives.
     4. To start Fdisk, type fdisk at the command prompt, and then press ENTER.
     5. If you asked if you want to enable Large Disk Support, press Y or N, depending on which of the
         two following criteria best describes your needs, and then press ENTER. The main menu of
         the Fixed Disk Setup Program (Fdisk) appears.
         a. Pressing Y sets up your partitions so that they use the FAT32 (file allocation table) file
             format. Use this option if you want to have partitions that are larger than 2 GB (gigabytes), or
            if any additional operating systems you might install support the FAT32 file format, such as
            Windows 2000, Windows 98, or Windows 95.
Most situations call for using the FAT32
            file format.

        b. Pressing N sets up your partitions so that they use the older, FAT16 file format. Use this
            option if you do not want to have partitions that are larger than 2 GB, or if any additional
            operating systems you might install support only the FAT16 file format, such as Windows NT
            4.0 or earlier, or versions of Windows prior to Windows 95.
      6. Check if the drive has any existing partitions. To do so, press 4 on your keyboard, and then
          press ENTER. If no partitions exist, you are ready to set up new ones; go to step 8. If partitions
          do exist, you must first delete them; go to step 7.
      7. You're now ready to delete logical drives and partitions. If you have not done so already, press
          ESC on your keyboard to close the Display Partition Information screen and return to the
          Fdisk Options screen. To delete partitions, press 3 at the main Fdisk screen, and then press
          ENTER. Follow the instructions on the screen, deleting the logical drives first, then the
          extended partition, and then the primary partition. After each deletion, you may need to press
          ESC once or twice to return to the Fdisk Options screen.

Notes: When you choose a partition or logical drive to delete, Fdisk prompts you to provide the volume name of the drive. If the drive does not have a volume name, leave this field blank. If you don't like the way you partitioned your hard disk, you can delete logical drives and partitions, and then create new ones to better suit you.

     8. To create a new primary partition, at the Fdisk Options screen, press 1 on your keyboard,
         press ENTER, press 1, and then press ENTER.
     9. When asked if you want to use the maximum space (the entire drive), choose one of the two
         following options, and then press ENTER:
         a. Y for Yes.  Choose this if you don't want to set up other drives on the hard disk. This uses the
             entire drive for a FAT32 partition, or up to 2 GB for a FAT16 partition. After you choose this
             option and press ENTER, Fdisk creates the partition, and instructs you to restart and to
            press ESC to exit Fdisk. You are finished partitioning and can go on to the next step,
            "Format the Drives," in the following section.
        b. N for No. Choose this if you do want to set up other drives on the hard disk. You can specify
            how large you want the partition to be: either as a percentage of the hard disk's total
            capacity, or in megabytes. After typing a value, press ENTER. Fdisk displays information
            about the new primary partition. To return to the Fdisk Options screen, press ESC.
     10. To create an extended partition, at the Fdisk Options screen, press 1 on your keyboard,
            press ENTER, press 2, and then press ENTER. Fdisk displays the maximum size that the
           extended partition can be. I recommend that you use this maximum value, because you can
           only create one extended partition. Any hard disk space you do not assign to the extended
           partition cannot be accessed by a hard disk and, consequently, by Windows.
     11. After you designate the size of the extended partition and press ENTER, Fdisk takes you
           either to the screen where you create logical drives in the extended partition, or it displays
           information about the extended and primary partitions. If it displays the partition information,
           press ESC to get to the screen where you create logical drives. The maximum available
           space in the extended partition is displayed both as a percentage (100%) and megabytes.
           Follow the instructions on the screen to divide up the space into one or more logical drives,
           pressing ENTER after typing a percentage or megabyte quantity. Continue creating logical
           drives until you have used up all the space in the extended partition. To return to the Fdisk
           Options screen, press ESC.
     12. If the hard disk you are creating the partitions on is the only or first hard disk, and you created
           an extended partition, you need to set the primary partition to Active, indicating that it's the
           partition that the computer starts up from. To set the primary partition to Active, press 2 on
           your keyboard, press ENTER, press the number that represents the primary partition, and
           then press ENTER. To return to the Fdisk Options screen, press ESC.
     13. After you have created the partitions and logical drives, at the Fdisk Options screen, press
           ESC. To exit Fdisk and return to the command prompt, press ESC again. When you're at the
           command prompt, you must turn off your computer for your partition changes to take effect.
     14. You are now ready to format the drives you created.

Format the Drives

Time to complete: about 15-60 minutes
After the partitions and logical drives are created, you need to format them. The length of time required to complete formatting depends on how large a hard disk is, how many you have, and how many logical drives you created.

To format the drives

     1. Insert the Windows Startup disk in drive A, and then start the computer.
     2. At the Microsoft Windows Startup menu, you can choose to start the computer with or without
         CD ROM support. Choose - Start The Computer Without CD Support. After you make a
         choice, the Windows Startup disk finishes starting the computer.

Note:You have 30 seconds to choose an option. If you don't, the Windows Startup disk starts the computer with CD-ROM support, and might display a Help file. You can exit the Help file by pressing ALT+F on your keyboard to open the File menu, and then pressing  X.

     3. If the computer has more than one hard disk drive, make sure you are formatting the correct
         drive. To do so, at the command prompt, type the following:

dir x:

        where x is a drive letter on the hard disk, such as C or D. Be sure to include the colon (:) after
        the drive letter. Then press ENTER. If the drive is empty and ready to format, the following
        message should appear:

Invalid media type reading drive C
                                                     Abort, Retry, Fail?

         Press A to abort. If instead of this message, you see a list of files, you are either reading
         another hard disk or the CD-ROM drive, neither of which you probably intend to reformat, since
         doing so would destroy that information.
     4. Format the drive by typing the following:

format x:

        where x is the drive letter of the drive you just confirmed is empty. Press ENTER, and then
        confirm you want to proceed by pressing Y for Yes.
     5. If you want, give the formatted drive a volume name, and then press ENTER.
     6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 for any other new drives you created during the partition process.

Install Windows on a Newly Formatted Drive

Time to complete: about 30-60 minutes
To install Windows on the new drive
     1. Insert the Windows Startup disk in drive A, and then start the computer.
     2. At the Microsoft Windows Startup menu, you can choose to start the computer with or without
         CD ROM support. Choose - Start Computer WITH CD-ROM Support.
     3. When the command prompt appears, place the Windows product CD in the CD-ROM drive.
     4. Change to the CD-ROM drive. To do so, at the command prompt, type D: (or the appropriate
          drive letter, followed by a colon), and then press ENTER.

Note: The CD-ROM drive is automatically assigned the next letter after the last hard disk. If you have just a C drive, the CD-ROM drive will be D.

     5. Type setup and then press ENTER.
     6. Follow the instructions on the screen. If you have the Windows Upgrade product, you must
         insert a product CD or floppy disk from a previous full version of Windows. The instructions will
         tell you when to put the Windows upgrade product CD back into the drive.
     7. After Windows finishes installing, the Enter Windows Password dialog box appears. Type your
         user name and password, and then click OK.

Note: If you leave the Password box blank and press OK, Windows will not ask you for a password every time you start Windows.

         The user name can be anything you want. Your password appears as asterisks (*) on the
         screen. If you don't want to use a password, you can leave the box blank, and then click OK.
     8. In the Set Windows Password dialog box, type your password again, and then click OK.





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