Partitioning a hard disk

With only minor exceptions, partition tables and partitions are completely standard. This means, for example, that DOS can access a partition created by Windows NT and vice versa. You don’t have to partition a disk using the native utility of the operating system that you plan to install on that partition. In broad terms, there are three ways to partition a disk: by using the Setup program provided by the operating system, which typically invokes its native partitioning utility; by using that partitioning utility manually; or by using a third-party partitioning utility such as PartitionMagic.

For better control, we partition disks manually rather than allowing the operating system Setup program to make partitions for us. Setup may make the same choices about partition sizes and types that we would have made ourselves, but then again it may not. You can use the fdisk utility from Windows 9X to partition a disk that will boot Windows 9X or Windows NT/2000/XP. To do so, boot a Windows Startup Disk that contains fdisk.exe (and format.com, which you’ll need later) and take the following steps:

  1. At the DOS prompt, type fdisk and press Enter to start the partitioning utility. If you are using the original Windows 95 fdisk, the main menu appears immediately. If you are using the Windows 95 OSR2 or Windows 98 fdisk, a preliminary screen appears to notify you that your disk is larger than 512 MB and that this version of fdisk has enhanced support for large hard disks, ...

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