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Reformating questions-Help

By sw723 ·
I am getting ready to reformat my hard drive. I have done this before and have the reformatting down pretty good I think. Windows 98; Maxtor hard Drive. 2 cd Roms( 1-read; 1-read/write)
The areas that I have not covered good in previous reformatting is drivers for the cd roms and audio drivers. Please tell me how and where to get these drivers and save them and how to put back on after formatting.... Also any pointers /tips on formatting like particulars of partitioning drives, etc.... Does the starup up disk save all these drivers? If not or even if so, do I need a start up disk and how do I make one? Thanks for any and all help offered.

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by TheChas In reply to Reformating questions-Hel ...

Start by creating a system hardware inventory and downloading the latest drivers for your hardware.

1 good tool is Belarc Advisor

A good source for links to manufactures driver pages is

Create a folder titled drivers and add a sub folder for each device.

Some of the driver files will be .zip archives.
Extract the files from the archive.

Read the installation instructions or readme file for each driver.
Pay particular attention to the instructions for your video card.
Download the supported version of DirectX from Microsoft.

After you have all the drivers downloaded, burn a CD with all of the drivers on it.
(I also save Windows updates and burn them to a CD when setting up a new system. This way, I don't need to spend time waiting for files to download.)

A startup floppy makes it easier to partition and format your hard drive.

As to partitioning, it depends somewhat on the size of your hard drive.
I like a minimum of 3 different drives on a system.

1 Primary DOS partition for installing Windows.
1 logical drive in the extended DOS partition for the page file (Virtual Memory)
1 logical drive for storing data files.

(The system I'm on right now has 2 hard drives partitioned into 8 drives.)

With multiple drives, you can sort files into different categories. Making it easier to back up files.

A good article on this is posted at

One other partitioning trick I use helps optimize the cluster size.
I use multiples of 1024 and subtract 10 for the number of bytes in a partition.
For 8 GB, I enter 8182K Bytes in the size box in fdisk.
That way, I am not just above the steps where the FAT32 file system switches to a larger cluster size.

Before starting, make sure that you have your files and settings backed up.


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by TheChas In reply to

Boot from the startup disk.

If you are changing the partition structure, run fdisk at the DOS prompt.
In order to change the partition structure, you first need to remove the existing partitions.
Create a primary DOS and extended DOS partitions as desired.
Create logical drives in the extended DOS partition as desired.

Exit fdisk, reboot, and format at least the C: drive.

After formatting, from the DOS prompt, run setup (with the W98 CD in the drive)
(One other trick I use, is I copy the Windows CD onto the hard drive. I browse to the folder with the CD files, and run setup from there.)

After Windows installs, you need to start loading your drivers.

I recommend the following order:
Chip-set (motherboard) drivers.
Video driver
Sound card driver
Modem driver
Other devices.

Note: if the instructions for the sound card or modem recommends installing the driver before installing the hardware, physically remove the plug-in cards before you install Windows.
Shut down the PC and install 1 card at a time after loading the drivers.

As to drivers for your CD-ROM drives, the IDE driver for the chip-set on your motherboard takes care of this for Windows.
You only need to install drivers if you need DOS mode access to the CD drive.

If you created a partition for the page file, enter device manager, click on the performance tap, click on virtual memory, and specify the drive for Windows to use for virtual memory.

Once you are done, boot into safe mode and run scandisk and defrag.

A side note about Windows updates:
If the driver for your video card does NOT support DirectX 9, do NOT install DirectX 9 or IE 6. Both can cause problems if the video driver does not support DirectX 9.


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by TheChas In reply to

Just a side note:

I use a "hot-swap" bay on my main desktop PC for setting up hard drives for new systems.

I can partition, format, and copy any needed files onto the drive before placing it into the target system.

I then can install Windows and device drivers without ever needing to change a CD.


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by TheChas In reply to

A couple of points that I did not address properly:

A startup disk does NOT save your device drivers.

Your startup disk has a few "generic" DOS mode CD-ROM drivers.

To create a startup disk in W98,
Open Control Panel,
Click on add/remove programs,
click on the startup disk tab,
Follow the prompts and instructions.

The driver for burning CDs with your R/W drive is part of the software that you use for burning CDs.

If you have trouble locating the correct drivers for your system, post the details of ALL hardware and reject my answer so that I will know that I need to get back to you.

Or, you can contact me via peer mail.


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