How to Create a Boot Disk With Fdisk

Written by jason artman
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Fdisk is a tool that is used to initialise and create partitions on hard drives that use the FAT16 or FAT32 file systems. Because Fdisk does not support the more modern NTFS file system (used in consumer Windows versions since XP), it is largely unused today. However, if you need to initialise a bootable hard disk using the FAT32 file system, Fdisk is one of the fastest ways to do so. Initialise a bootable hard disk using Fdisk for a computer that will have Windows 98, Millennium, or another FAT32-based operating system installed.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Windows Millennium (or older)
  • CD or floppy boot disk

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Instructions

    Creating a Single Partition

  1. 1

    Boot your computer using a Windows CD or floppy boot disk. You may choose to start the system with or without CD-ROM support, if you are booting from a floppy disk, but do not choose the option to start Windows set-up.

  2. 2

    Type "fdisk" from the DOS prompt and press "Enter."

  3. 3

    Press "Y" to enable large disk support, and press "Enter" unless you are initialising a hard drive smaller than 512 MB. If this is the case, press "N."

  4. 4

    Press "1" to create a new partition on the hard drive and press "Enter."

  5. 5

    Pres "1" to create a primary DOS partition and press "Enter."

  6. 6

    Press "Y" to use the maximum available space for the partition and make the partition active, then press "Enter." Making the partition active is what enables DOS or Windows to boot from the partition. If you wish to split the drive into multiple partitions, proceed directly to Section 2.

  7. 7

    Press the "Escape" key to exit Fdisk, then restart your computer. The hard disk is now bootable. It must be formatted before you will be able to write to it.

    Creating Multiple Partitions

  1. 1

    Press "N" and press "Enter" while creating your first partition if you do not want to use the entire drive for a single partition.

  2. 2

    Type the amount of space, in megabytes, that you would like your first partition to have, then press "Enter." Press "Escape" to continue.

  3. 3

    Press "1," then "Enter" to create your next partition. Because the first partition is a primary partition, the next partition must be an extended one. Press "2," and then "Enter."

  4. 4

    Press "Enter" to use all of the remaining space on the hard drive for the second partition. Otherwise, repeat the previous steps until all of the available space on the drive is used.

  5. 5

    Press "2," then "Enter" to define an active partition. The active partition on your drive is the one from which your system will boot. Generally, the primary partition is used. Press the appropriate number (usually "1"), then "Enter" to make that partition active.

  6. 6

    Press the "Escape" key to exit Fdisk, then restart your computer. The hard disk is now bootable. It must be formatted before you will be able to write to it.

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