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Building your own Gaming Rig (part III)
The "F" words
No not that! fdisk and format of course! ;-)
Ok, so you're new baby has booted up and is now sitting there telling you that it has no hard drive and you know damn
well you put one in. Well, without formatting, the bios can't tell. The hard drive needs to be partitioned and formatted. So here we go.
From your other computer in Control Panel>Add/Remove Programs>Startup Disk, you have created a floppy disk.
You put it in your new computer and boot. When it boots from this floppy it will ask you if you want to start with cdrom support. Say no, there is
no point right now.
At the A:\ prompt you will type: fdisk and hit enter. It will then tell you it sees you have a large hard drive and ask
if you want to use large disk support, say yes. Now on to partitioning. Here you have a decision to make. I will tell you my personal
If you have a hard drive smaller than 8 gigs there is no point in a partition. I do not believe in partitions smaller
than 4 gigs and this would leave one of them too small. (the entire 8 gigs will not be given to you to be used, there are portions taken away for purposes
used by your system) Windows needs at least 4 gigs in my opinion. The reason is that we install all kinds of program to it. For example Internet
Explorer, Office, Outlook, etc... and the amount of storage space your e-mail alone takes up will fill 4 gigs too fast.
If your hard drive is larger than 8, you can select partitions. 4 gigs or more for Windows, the rest for your games
etc.... The purpose of making a partition for only Windows is that you *will* reformat. It is a rule, not an option. Never think you
can own Windows and think your Windows will remain that way forever. It is just a part of life, like changing your underwear, so will you reformat
your Windows drive. So, if your hard drive is not partitioned, you will end up reformatting EVERYTHING. If you have a Windows partition, only
that area need be reformatted.
Now I know what you're thinking; "everyone says partitions make your system run slower". I say if you can
find someone who can clock that slowdown on a normal stopwatch I will concede. But the time is usually milliseconds. And the loss of efficiency
there is well worth the effort it would take you to back up ALL of your files instead of just that one small partition.
So, now make your choice in the fdisk program accordingly.
First you will choose: 1. Create DOS partition or logical DOS drive
It will then prompt you and you will choose: 1. Create DOS partition
It will count up verifying drive integrity and then ask if you would like to use the maximum available size for your
partition. Choosing yes, you will move on easily and finish up. Choose no and you will need to tell it how much to use.
From here just follow the prompts. fdisk is good about telling you what it wants.
Even when it is finished, it tells you that you must format now. So, you will now reboot back to the A:\ prompt and
there you will type: format C: and hit enter. It will warn you that all data will be lost, let's face it, you have none. So again, the answer
When the format is done, it's time to put your Windows cdrom in the cdrom drive and reboot. This time choosing to
have cdrom support when prompted with that question.
You will watch as the cdrom support is installed and not be panicked by it talking about virtual drive D. That is a
*pretend* space that Windows uses to install system files. Yes, your cdrom will still be D drive when all is said and done, but not until Windows is
installed. For now, your cdrom drive will be called E. Go with it...
When the cdrom support is finished installing and you are returned to an A:\ prompt type: E: and hit enter. Then at
the E:\ prompt type: setup and hit enter. And away we go. Windows will begin it's installation. Sit back and relax and answer it's
questions as you go. Please choose default or "Recommended" installation at this time. You can go back later and fine tune.