fdisk and the "Primary DOS Partition"

This below is written from the assumption that your Hard Drive is new [ never been partitioned and formatted ]
and also that you are going to run FAT32 and use your whole drive as the primary partition, not using and extended partitions.

If you're using Windows XP or Vista none of this applies to your situation.

Following the process outlined below will erase all information on a HD that is now functional.

Make sure you have a functional boot disk / startup disk. ( Click here to see how to make one )

FDisk is a DOS utility that is used to partition a HD.
The first partition you need to make is called "The Primary DOS Partition."
It is also the "Active" Partition, and there can only be one active partition in your machine.
Any partitions after the Primary DOS partition, or active partition are optional, and are referred to as
extended partitions and are labeled D: through Z:.

Insert your boot disk, start up your machine, and type "fdisk" at the A:\> prompt.
If you get the message "No fixed drives present" you need to figure out why your HD is not being detected.
It might just not be hooked up properly.

To setup your primary DOS partition choose option 1 which is called "Create DOS partition or Logical DOS drive."
I'm only going to detail the process of using your whole C: Drive as the Primary DOS partition,
and not even get into extended partitions, so, in the next menu you also need to choose Option 1 again.

You've just created your primary DOS partition if all has gone well, and you now need to make this partition active
by returning to the main menu in FDISK and choosing option 2.

Answer "Y" for "YES" when asked if you want to use "Large Disk Support".

Reboot your machine.

It's now time to format your C: Drive and you can see information on this process by going to

Return to PC Help Desk

Return to Sightsea.com

Leave Comments and Ask Questions