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How to Build a Computer with an
AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor
Part 8 - Prepare the Hard disk Drive
Last updated: 5/26/2001

In this part we discuss options for installing various versions of Windows on the computer and we start the process by describing how to partition and format the hard disk drive.

Windows Versions.  The upgrade version of Windows 98 Millennium Edition (Me) was installed on this particular computer.  Any version of Windows 95, 98, NT, or Windows 2000 will work.    However, because of the size of the hard disk, you would want to use Windows 95 version OSR2 or later with large disk support (FAT32), or Windows NT or 2000 with NTFS (NT File System) partitions.  If you have an older version of Windows 95, or even Windows 3.X or Windows for Workgroups, you should be able to install the Windows 98 or Me upgrades on a new hard disk drive without first installing the older versions.

Want to use Linux or some other operating system, or dual-boot?  I would suggest holding-off on these more adventurous choices until you have honed your skills a little more with a Windows installation.

111.  Make a Startup floppy per Ways to Make a Windows 98 Startup Disk or How to Make Windows Me Boot and Startup Floppy Disks.

Prepare the Hard Disk Drive.  I would suggest partitioning (see below) the hard disk drive into at least two partitions for greater efficiency.   It would take an awfully long time to defrag a 30 GByte C: drive.  The hard disk in this computer was partitioned into a 8 GByte C: drive.   A second partitioned occupied the remaining space on the drive and all of it was allocated to logical drive D:.  You might want to consider a 4 GByte C: drive with slower CPUs and a 2 GByte C: drive with both slower CPUs and 5,400 RPM hard disk drives.

112. Boot the computer with a Windows 98, 98  SE, or Me Startup floppy.  You should see a menu like this:

  1. Start computer with CD-ROM support

  2. Start computer without CD-ROM support

113.  Select  2. Start computer without CD-ROM support

Partition the hard disk...

114. Execute fdisk to create a new partition on your new hard disk as follows:


It will produce the following screen:

Your computer has a disk larger than 512 MB. This version of Windows includes improved support for large disks, resulting in more efficient use of disk space on large drives, and allowing disks over 2 GB to be formatted as a single drive.

IMPORTANT: If you enable large disk support and create any new drives on this disk, you will not be able to access the new drive(s) using other operating systems, including some versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT, as well as earlier versions of Windows and MS-DOS. In addition, disk utilities that were not designed explicitly for the FAT32 file system will not be able
to work with this disk. If you need to access this disk with other operating systems or older disk utilities, do not enable large drive support. [this is usually not a problem]
Do you wish to enable large disk support (Y/N)...........? [Y]

115.  Press the Enter key to accept the default [Y] for FAT32.  You will get the following menu:

FDISK Options

Current fixed disk drive: 1

Choose one of the following:

1. Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive
2. Set active partition
3. Delete partition or Logical DOS Drive
4. Display partition information

Enter choice: [1]

116. Press Enter to select the default [1].  The following screen will be displayed:

Create DOS Partition or Logical DOS Drive

Current fixed disk drive: 1

Choose one of the following:

1. Create Primary DOS Partition
2. Create Extended DOS Partition
3. Create Logical DOS Drive(s) in the Extended DOS Partition

Enter choice: [1]

Press Esc to return to FDISK Options

117.  Again, press Enter to select the default.  The following will be displayed

Create Primary DOS partition

Current fixed disk drive : 1

Verifying drive integrity, xx% complete.

Current fixed disk drive: 1

Do you wish to use the maximum available size for a primary DOS partition
and make the partition active (Y/N) ....................? [Y]

118.  Press N for no.

After fdisk verifies the integrity again, it will display

Total disk space is ...

Enter partition size in MBytes or percent of disk space (%) to create a primary DOS Partition ................................ [8000]

119.  Enter 8000 (8,000 Mbytes = 8 GBytes) as I did above.

120.  fdisk will then display partition information for the C: drive followed by the main menu. Choose 2 from the menu to set the primary partition active.  The active partition is the one which will boot after Windows is installed.  Make sure the primary partition is Active by displaying the partition information.

121.  Esc out of fdisk and reboot the computer (press Ctrl-Alt-Delete at the same time) and start the computer without CD-ROM support.

You must exit fdisk and reboot after creating each partition. 

122.  Go back into fdisk again and create an Extended DOS partition. Select the defaults to let fdisk allocate the reminder of the unused space on the hard disk to this partition and assign all of the partition to Logical drive D:

The menus are quite self explanatory for accomplishing this task. Only one of the partitions can be active.

123.  After creating the partitions and making sure the primary DOS partition is active, Esc out of fdisk to the A:\> prompt, power-down the computer, plug-in the mouse, boot to the Startup Floppy, and  select Start Computer with CD-ROM support.

Format the drive partitions...

124.  Format the C: drive as follows:

A:\> format c:

Do not use the /s flag with the format command.  We do not want to transfer the system files from the floppy to the hard disk.  Windows 98 Me Upgrade (or other versions of Windows) will not install on the hard disk if it already has the system files installed on it.

Get a cup of coffee...

125.  Repeat for the D: drive.  Get two cups of coffee.

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