Doing Things in The Right Order
There's a definite sequence to preparing a hard disk, oh yes..
Plan first and get it right first timePartitioning, formatting, FDISK...it can all get a bit confusing really. First thing is why are you doing this? A new hard disk must be partitioned and formatted before it can be used. A format is also a good way of deleting all information on an existing disk partition and starting afresh, perhaps with a full operating system re-install.
Remember: partitioning (or re-partitioning) a disk using FDISK, or formatting a disk partition will delete all your data. Copy the important stuff somewhere else first. This includes details of system and program settings (i.e. emails, file attachments, web bookmarks, FTP, dial-up settings, application settings, etc.)
The Microsoft application FDISK is very basic and not particularly user friendly, but it's free and included with all operating systems. A big drawback of using FDISK is that you can't change partition sizes once they're set. You have to start from scratch and create and format new partitions.
Third party programs like Powerquest's excellent Partition Magic really show FDISK's shortcomings. You can add remove and change partition sizes, even when the partition contains data, and do all sort of really useful stuff. If you're planning to do a lot of this kind of work, I would recommend purchasing this great utility. The competition is Quarterdeck's Partition-it - at least it was. Both are owned by Symantec now..
The order for adding a new hard disk to your system is as follows:
- Plan the new disk, including Operating Systems and required partitions
- Backup all important data from old disk
- Create boot diskette with relevant preparation applications
- Check existing hardware and drivers and have latest floppy disk/CD versions at hand
- Install hard disk (set up in BIOS)
- Boot to floppy diskette
- Partition hard disk
- Format new partition(s)
- Install new Operating System
- Copy old data to newly-formatted disk
Partition Magic will partition and format in one go. FDISK needs to reboot after the partitions are set after which the new partitions can be formatted using format.com
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