Before starting to upload or installing the operating system, your hard disk requires partitioning and formatting. For doing the same, you can make use of the Fdisk Tool and the Format Tool.

File Allocation Table (FAT)

File Allocation Table or FAT is a file system that helps accept, store and retrieve data on a hard disk. Almost all versions of Windows accept two types of FAT namely, FAT16 and FAT32 file systems. During times when you are running Fdisk for hard disks greater than 512 MB, you will be asked by the computer to choose between the two types of file systems.

– FAT16 – Within this file system, each drive or allocated space gets a maximum of 2GB of storage allocated to it.

– FAT32 – Within this file system, drives of sizes up to 2 TB or terabytes are supported. This file system is better to use as it uses smaller spaces for storing files than FAT16, hence saving a lot of free space.

How to partition and format hard disk?

Part A – Using Fdisk Tool for creating partitions within the hard disk.

Insert the start-up or boot disk in the floppy drive and restart your computer. Go to ‘Start’ and press ‘Run’. When prompted, type ‘fdisk’ in the text box and press ‘Enter’.

Now if your hard disk is of sizes larger than 512 MB, you will be prompted with a message saying that since your disk is larger than 512 MB, the computer can allot it in a way that will result in better space usage and making of a single large drive. If you do want to allocate the entire space to a single drive or use the FAT32 file system, press ‘Y’ and then press ‘Enter’. However, if you want to stick to FAT16 file system, simply type ‘N’ and then press ‘Enter’.

As you press ‘Enter’, fdisk options will appear in front of you. The first option will be ‘Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive’, second ‘Set active partition’, third will be ‘Delete partition or Logical DOS Drive’, fourth ‘Display partition information’ and lastly, ‘Change current fixed disk drive’. The last option is only given in cases where you have two physical hard disks in your computer.

In order to create a partition, press ‘1’ and then click ‘Enter’. You will now receive a new message saying “Do you wish to use the maximum available size for primary DOS partition?” Depending on the file system you opted for in the previous steps, follow the steps mentioned below.

For FAT32 File System (if you had chosen this file system in step 2)

If you want all of the space available to be assigned to C drive, type ‘Y’ and press ‘Enter’. Now press ESC twice to quit the Fdisk tool. This will return you to the command prompt.

For FAT16 File System (if you had chosen this file system in step 2)

If you want to customize the partition size, press ‘N’ and then press ‘Enter’. A new dialogue box opens up in front of you prompting you to type in the size you want to allocate for the primary partition. Type the size and then press ‘Enter’. Press ESC and return to the Options menu. To assign names to the extra space on the hard disk, press ‘1’ and then ‘Enter’. To Create Extended DOS Partition, press ‘2’ and then ‘Enter’. A dialogue box will open explaining the total available extra space for allocation to the extended drive. You can either use the entire space available or allocate a percentage of it. Simply type the amount you want to allocate and press ‘Enter’. Now press ESC. This will take you back to the ‘Create Logical DOS Drive(s) in the Extended DOS Partition’ menu. Here you can allocate the remaining hard disk storage space to another drive. Simply type in the amount and press ‘Enter’.

Now you will be able to see table that will display the drives you created and the amount of space you allocated to them. In order to choose the drive which you will use to boot the computer, select the option ‘2’ and press ‘Enter’. You will receive a message saying “Enter the number of the partition you want to make active”. Press ‘1’ and then ‘Enter’ on getting the message. Press ESC twice now to quit from the Fdisk tool and return to the command prompt.

Part B – Formatting the Disk

Once the partitions are made, restart your computer with the start-up disk in the floppy drive. When prompted, type ‘format c: /s’ and press ‘Enter’. Use this command only for C drive. For other drives use the command ‘format drive:’ where drive is the letter allocated. Once the above command runs, type ‘format c: /s t a’. This will format the active drive. Once you have run the Format Tool like above, you will see a message displayed on the screen saying “Warning, all data on non-removable disk drive C: will be lost”. Type ‘Y’ and then ‘Enter’. You will have successfully formatted your drive.