This is a little tutorial on how to FDISK and FORMAT a hard drive. There are various ways to set up the partitions. You can have a primary drive with one partition or multiple partitions, or you can have a second (or third, or more) with one partition or multiple partitions. With a primary drive you must have a primary partition on it. This will be the boot drive (C:). When you have a second hard drive you do not need this, just make an extended partition and create your logical drive(s).
The following walkthrough was done on a 2GB hard drive and will have 3 partitions. To be able to get the screenshots it had to be done within Windows (I am using 98SE) on a second drive so I had to make sure to select the second drive to partition.
So lets get started. First off on a if the drive is your only drive then you must boot the computer in one of 2 ways, a bootdisk or the Windows CD. To make a bootdisk that has CD-ROM support go into the Control Panel and select Add/Remove Programs and Click on the Startup Disk tab and with a floppy in the drive click Create disk. Now with the floppy set as the first boot device in the BIOS boot the computer with the floppy in the drive. CD-ROM support is not needed to FDISK and FORMAT.
All Windows CD's (Win9X/ME/NT/2000) are bootable so go into the BIOS and set the CD-ROM (or DVD or CD-RW) as the first boot device. Now boot the computer with the CD in the drive. Now that the computer is booted we can start FDISK by typing, you guessed it, FDISK and pressing [Enter] and you are greeted with the following.
This is self explanatory so since the OS I'm using supports FAT32 I answered yes. Next your greeted with the following screen.
Option 5 only appears if you have more than one hard drive. Since I want to FDISK my second drive I switched over to it. Now lets create the Primary DOS partition, type 1 at the above screen and press [Enter].
Type 1 to select Create Primary DOS Partition and press [Enter].
If you want only one partition for the primary hard drive you would select Y at this point, but since I want multiple partitions N was typed.
Selecting N brings you to this screen where you select the size of the partition. I decided to make my primary 700MB, so 700 was typed and [Enter] was pressed.
Now a 700MB primary DOS partition has been created. Press [Esc] to continue. This brings you back to the main menu. Press 1 [Enter] to get back to the Create Partition/Logical Drive menu. This time we want to create an Extended partition so type 2 and press [Enter].
The Extended partition is going to take up the rest of the drive so just press [Enter].
Now the Primary and Extended partitions have been created and it's time to create the Logical drives. Press [Esc] and you will be brought to the following screen to create Logical drives.
My first logical drive is going to be 1GB so 1024 is typed and [Enter] is pressed.
Since there is still space left in the Extended partition it ask if I want to create another Logical drive. You do not have to (press [Esc] to exit) but I am. Since I only wanted 3 partitions the rest of the space is used for the last. [Enter] is pressed and the drive is created.
Press [Esc] to go back to the Main menu. To make the Primary partition the boot drive type 2 and press [Enter] and make the first drive active. I can not show this because there can be only one active partition on the computer. Press [Esc] twice to exit to the following screen.
Pres [Esc] one more time and reboot the computer. Once the computer is booted (using bootdisk or CD) its time to FORMAT. I created 3 drives, C:, D:, and E:, so to format them just type FORMAT C: (replace C: with D: and E: to format the other drives) and press [Enter]. Answer yes to the question and the format starts. When it is finished it asks for a Volume Label, this is the name of the drive and will appear before the drive letter in My Computer/Windows Explorer. If you don't want to name it anything just press [Enter] without typing anything. When you are done formatting it's time to install the OS. Boot the computer with the bootdisk or CD and select boot with CD-ROM support this time.
The OS can be installed in 2 ways, off the CD or off the hard drive. To install from the CD type (in this case) F: and press [Enter] to switch to the CD-ROM. Now type SETUP and press [Enter] to start the install process. To install from the hard drive you need to copy the CAB files to the hard drive first. This is a good way to install Windows because now you will not have to insert the CD whenever you install or change something that requires the CD. I am using Windows 98 for this example. You need to create a directory to put the CAB files in, in this case it will be called WIN98. Type C: and press [Enter] to change to the C: drive. To create the directory type MD WIN98 and press [Enter], next type CD WIN98 and press [Enter] to change to the directory. To copy the CAB files over type COPY F:\WIN98 and press [Enter] and the copy process will start. When it is finished type SETUP press [Enter] and the install process will start.
This concludes my FDISK & FORMAT tutorial and I hope it helps you out in some way.