Reformatting hard drive - 2 or 3 questions please

  Shas 11:39 12 Aug 2004

My computer is slowly grinding to a halt so I'm contemplating a reformat to get rid of the detrius that has built up over the last 5 years. Windows 98SE, 6GB hard drive partitioned as C (2Gig) and D (4Gig). Please bear with me if these sound a bit dumb, but I've never done this before so it's a bit scary! I know I have to back up any files etc. that I don't want to lose.

(1) If I format C, does it clear just that drive leaving the D drive alone? If I want to format the D drive as well, (without un-partitioning the drive), do I follow the same procedure but telling it to format D instead?

(2) All the advice says to make sure you have copies of all the necessary drivers etc. Does that just mean navigating to where the various files are held on the computer, copying them to a disc and then putting them back in the same places afterwards?

(3) (Now I know this sounds particularly stupid but I can't get my head round this one!) One walkthrough I read said it could take a day to do, so as the system would be well and truly down, any emails that may be sent to me while this is going on, are they lost forever? My account will still exist with the ISP so even though the software/settings are temporarily removed will any emails just be held in suspension until everything is restored? (I'm wondering whether I should do a blanket email to any important clients asking them to hold off emailing me until tomorrow.)

I think someone posted comprehensive instructions on reformatting on here, but I can't find them. If anyone could point me in their direction it would be very much appreciated, as would any other advice. Thanks in advance.

  Smegs 11:53 12 Aug 2004

1) At the dos prompt, type in format c /s, that will format your hard drive. As for the D drive, I think you will be able to do this from within windows its self. But please wait for someone to comfirm this.

2) Drivers are what come with your hardware, like Sound cards, Modems and G/cards. Make a note of what they are from Control panel/System/Devive manager. If you do not have these drivers, download the from the net. Do you know if their on-board. If they are, then your mother board disk should have the drivers on.

3) Your emails will still be there, when you reinstall, as you haven't downloaded the yet. Still at your ISP. Is that what you mean?

  Smegs 11:56 12 Aug 2004
  cga 12:03 12 Aug 2004

Smegs is right. After a clean install of W98SE will only touch the C drive. After that you will be able to see the D: drive and do what you want with it.

I would also stress the point Smegs made about the drivers. This is not the same as copying them off. You need the install version. Make sure you have at least the key ones to get you back up and on line. Odd ones like CD drivers etc. you can always get later but you need any for your modem (probably came with it).

  Graham ® 12:08 12 Aug 2004

Some good reading and drivers click here

  SEASHANTY 12:10 12 Aug 2004

The PC Tech Guide click here
Primary, extended and logical partitions
click here
Using FDISK - The Screens
click here
Logan-eclipse FDISK Guide to Partitioning
click here

  sattman 12:20 12 Aug 2004


I think you need positive confirmation that reformatting will leave your "D" drive intact.

If you have all of the original software you should have all the drivers you require, but they may benifit from updating.

To should consider going into device manager and open up and note the actual driver details and version, dates etc

I have found it handy to make a hard copy of all devices installed before I start.

  cga 12:56 12 Aug 2004

The command given by smegs in the second post 'format c /s' can only affect one logical partition. Now FDISK is a different matter! but that should not be needed unless the partition sizes need to be changed.

I guess that, in case of the rare circumstance of some strange setup (I can think of a few) it would be worth doing a DIR C:/W to verify the lable of the cdisk and that it really is the correct one.

  Como2 13:44 12 Aug 2004

Adding to my posts

  Shas 14:27 12 Aug 2004

Re. the drivers: I have a Gateway System CD, which it seems has some of the necessary on it - it has check box options to install drivers for video, sound and network cards, and mouse. I also have a driver disc for my analogue modem, (needed for faxes.) When I upgraded to broadband I only got one disc (AOL BB Easy-Install CD), so I'm hoping the drivers for the bb modem are on that, as a separate driver disc is not mentioned anywhere on the install guide. (Anyone recently upgraded to AOL bb who can remember?).

Does not everything need a driver? In device manager there are one or two entries which say no drivers required or have been loaded for the particular device, (CD rom, floppy, monitor.) If they've worked up til now, I guess not.

Smegs - yes I did mean any emails that I haven't actually received/downloaded yet, i.e. any that might be sent just as the disc is being wiped clean of everything. I guess (hope) they will sit on the ISP server and when I re-install my AOL software it'll tell me I have unread emails? (Did I hear someone say 'dream on!')

I wasn't planning to alter the sizes of the partitions so won't do anything involving fdisk.

Well, I'll back up everything data-wise, and go for it. Fingers crossed! Thanks again all. :o)

  Smegs 23:02 13 Aug 2004

The drivers for your BB modem will be on the AOL disk(I Think). They are on my Freeserve/Wanadoo install disk.

Your emails will stay at your ISP untill you download them.

Don't panic. When you have done this, you will think, "Hey, what was all the fuss about".

The bit that takes the time, is re-installing all your software.

Good Luck.

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