Monday, April 25, 2016

How to use Windows 98 boot disk to create a FAT16 partition

In Windows 98, how do I use Fdisk to create a single FAT16 partition on a hard drive smaller than 2GB?

Note: UITS recommends that you use a current version of Windows on computers connected to the Indiana University network; see Recommended Windows operating systems at IU.
Warning: The use of Fdisk will permanently erase all data from the drive or drives on which it is used. You should only attempt this procedure if you have a fairly high level of computer literacy. If you follow these instructions incorrectly you could lose data or cause your computer not to function properly.
The steps listed below are for creating a single FAT16 partition on a hard drive that is 2.1GB or smaller. FAT16 is primarily designed for DOS, Windows 3.1, and Windows 95, whereas FAT32 is designed primarily for Windows 98.
The Windows 98 startup disk also includes CD-ROM support for the most common CD-ROM drives. This allows access to the CD-ROM drive during installation, which makes installing the operating system and additional programs more manageable. While it is easier to use a Windows 98 startup disk because of the CD-ROM driver support, you can also use any Windows 95 emergency disk, instead.
Some proprietary CD-ROM drives do not work with the Windows 98 floppy disk. Known problems occur with many Packard Bell models as well as many older computer models.
Test your Windows 98 startup disk:

  1. Power off your computer and insert the Windows 98 startup disk into the floppy drive. Turn the computer on.
  2. You should see a menu with the option to boot with CD-ROM support. Select this option.
  3. At the A:\> prompt, enter:
    The following information will appear on your screen:
         Your Computer has a disk larger than 512MB.  This version of Windows     
    includes support for large disks, resulting in more efficient use of disk     
    space on large drives, and allowing disks over 2GB 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 drives using other 
    operating systems, including some versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT, as 
    well as earlier versions of Windows 95 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 access to this disk with 
    other operating systems or older disk utilities, do not enable large disk 
    Do you wish to enable large disk support(Y/N)........? (N)
  4. Type n and then press Enter. After Fdisk has started, the following screen will be displayed:
              A:\> fdisk
                                      Microsoft Windows 98
                                    Fixed Disk Setup Program
                             (C)Copyright Microsoft Corp. 1983 - 1998
                                         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
               5. Change current fixed disk drive
               Enter choice (1)
               Press Esc to exit FDISK
    Note: Option 5, "Change current fixed disk drive", will only appear if the computer has two or more hard drives.
  5. Choose option 1, "Create DOS partition or Logical DOS drive", and press Enter.
    The next screen should display the following:
     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
  6. Choose option 1, "Create Primary DOS Partition", and press Enter.
    Note: A message may appear on the screen stating that Fdisk is verifying disk integrity. There will be a percentage gauge indicating what percent of the disk has been checked. This can take from a few seconds to a minute or two, depending on the speed of the computer and the size of the hard drive.
    The next screen should look like the following:
    Create Primary DOS Partition                      
               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]
               Press Esc to continue
  7. Press y to use the maximum available size for a Primary DOS Partition and to make the partition active.
    Note: Fdisk may again verify disk integrity.
    The next screen should display the following:
               You MUST restart your system for your changes to take effect.
               Any drives you have created or changed must be formatted after
               you restart.
               Shut down Windows before restarting
               Press Esc to exit Fdisk
    Note: Older versions of Fdisk may lack this message.
  8. Exit Fdisk by pressing Esc, and then restart the computer.
  9. Press Esc. This will return you to the A:\ prompt.
  10. Make sure that the Windows 98 emergency disk is still in the floppy drive, and restart the computer.
  11. The computer should reboot to the A:\ prompt. When you arrive at the DOS prompt, you can use the format command to format your hard disk drives. At the A:\ prompt, enter:
      format X:
    Replace X: with the name of the drive that you want to format.
  12. Format will ask you if you're sure you wish to continue. By this time, the data stored previously has been destroyed, so press y.
Following these steps will create a single partition the size of the entire hard drive up to 2.1GB.
For additional information on Fdisk, select the Fdisk, FAT, Partition Problems link at the URL below:
This is document ahfe in the Knowledge Base. 
Last modified on 2012-06-26.
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