Reformating partitioned harddrives

By PhotoGuy
Dec 12, 2004
  1. Hi: I am trying to reformat my drives but am having problems. I have two drives - relatively old (WD 8.4 gig as master and NEC 1.1 gig as slave (it was the original drive) on a machine with Win95. For the purpose it will be used for this will work fine. They've been partitioned with Partition Magic. I want to reformat my C: and reinstall Windows to clean it up and then reformat the other partitions once I've set up the programs I want to keep in C: (getting rid of data since it will now be used in a relatively public place).

    However when I put in the boot disk to reformat C: as I understand I can do, it seemed to have detected the old drive and so I ended up reformating one of those partitions. When i reboot the machine, now all the drives are visible with the new C: still being active. I can't seem to reformat it (even with a new boot disk that I presume is copying information related to my present set-up.

    Any suggestions on what I'm missing? Am I better to go to FDISK and kill everything (more of a pain to reload programs that are staying though).

  2. MrDJ009

    MrDJ009 TS Rookie

    Your message info is a little fuzzy. I presume your original setup had a C: (2.0GB) and a D: (1.1GB), with additional drives in an extended partition on the 8.4 GB drive (E:, F:, etc.). Are you saying you successfully reformatted the old 2.0GB drive C: or not?

    I would suggest you reconsider using Win95. It's quite dated and so many software programs do not even support it. Try picking up a "used" Win98SE or WinME on Ebay. Prices should be pretty reasonable. Also, your disk drives have had their day, and I'm afraid it's passed. It's only a matter of time before one or both fail. If you can spring for a new 40GB drive (US$40 - $50) it will be worth the investment.

    As far as your formatting objective goes, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel here, it might be best for you just check out a few web sites where there are detailed instructions that will guide you. There are so many out there. Try Google and type in "formatting disks" and you will see what I mean. A few that I think would be able to guide you are as follows:


    This is pretty good but it is written with FAT32 in mind. Ignore all of the "large disk" and FAT32 questions and the rest of the process is identical for Win95.


    This tutorial is for Win98 but should be about the same for Win95. Remember Win95 only supports FAT16 so don't try to follow FAT32 instructions.


    If you have Partition Magic I would suggest you use it instead of following any of the procedures above. You will need a PM recovery disk if you go this route. The most important thing to remember is that you MUST have a Startup Diskette which enables CD-ROM support before you can re-install Windows. All of the partitioning and formatting will be useless if you cannot use the CD-ROM.

    Good Luck.
  3. PhotoGuy

    PhotoGuy TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Sorry about the clarity. My original hard drive was the 1.1 gig which I think is partitioned into two drives with the 8.4 divided into 4 (to meet the 2.1 gig limit of Win95). The C: drive is part of the 8.4 but when I tried reformating it doesn't recognize the 8.4 and reverts to the 1.1, reformats what was likely the original C: (it was done years ago and I can't remember the details) but then it shows up as the D: drive when all the drives are showing up (C: to H:).
    Probably confusing still but its also confusing to me with an inconsistency as to when all drives are visible. Yesterday only the new drive seemed visible.
    Thanks for the other info. I will try some of that info in the morning.
  4. MrDJ009

    MrDJ009 TS Rookie

    This actually sounds normal. After you formatted your old C: drive the previous drive D: (the 1.1GB) became the new C: drive. After the format you should have added the system files to your newly formatted C: drive. You can check where things stand now with FDISK (menu #5). It will show you which drive has which letter.

    To get back on track, boot with your floppy Startup Disk. You must now reload system files to your old C:. Verify what drive letter the 2.0GB drive is now assigned, then from the DOS prompt (A:\) type:

    sys D: (or whatever letter the 2.0 has)

    If the drive still does not show up as C:, do the following:

    #5 (to point to the 2nd disk)
    #2 (to set the active partition to your 2.0)

    Your C: and D: should now be your 2.0 and your old 1.1.
    You are now ready to load Windows from a CD.

    I hope this is helpful.
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