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How to Build Your Own Athlon Computer
(Slot A Processor)
Part 7 - Prepare the Hard Disk
Last updated: 5/10/00

Also see How to Build a Computer with a Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor

In this part we discuss options for installing various versions of Windows 95 and 98 on the computer and we start the process by describing how to partition and format the hard disk drive.

Windows 98 Second Edition (SE) OEM (Original Equipment Manufacture--a company that builds computers, etc.) was installed on this particular computer.  I can see no reason why any version of Windows 98 would not work.

Windows 95 should work also, but I have not tested Windows 95 with a 650 Mhz Athlon processor (old versions of Windows 95 do have a problem with AMD K6 CPUs which are faster than 350 Mhz). Besides, because of the size of the hard disk, you would want to use Windows 95 version OSR2 or later with large disk support (FAT32).

If you have an older version of Windows 95 or even Windows 3.X or Windows for Workgroups, you should be able to install the Windows 98 or Windows 98 SE upgrade on this computer.  See How to Install the Windows 98 Upgrade on a New Hard Disk for instructions.

One can use an OEM Preinstall floppy to install Windows 98 SE OEM on this computer. Or one can use a Windows 98 Startup Disk to install the OEM or upgrade versions of Windows 98/98 SE.  Windows 95 OEM and upgrade versions can also be installed in the same manner with appropriate OEM Preinstall or Startup floppies.  Finally, the Windows 98 OEM and Windows 98 SE OEM CDs are bootable and can be installed without a Preinstall or Startup Disk with this motherboard.  The CD boots to the same menu found on the Startup Disk.  The Windows 98/98 SE Upgrade CDs are not bootable.

I would suggest partitioning (see below) the hard disk drive into at least two partitions for greater efficiency.   It would take an awfully long time to defrag a 27.3 GByte C: drive.  The hard disk in this computer was partitioned into a 4 GByte C: drive and the remainder of the drive was partitioned as the D: drive.

111. Boot the computer from a Startup Floppy or Directly from the Windows 98/98 SE OEM CD...

Startup floppy.  Using the instructions for making a Windows Startup Disk (I used the manual or custom version of the floppy) make the floppy, put it in the floppy drive, and turn on the computer.  It should boot-up to the floppy drive and display a menu (see below).

I did it this way because I already have Startup Floppies as part of my shop tools.  The Toshiba DVD drive will work with the stock driver on the Startup Disk.

Win 98 CD.  This is the easiest thing to do for those you who do not have a Startup floppy .  Turn on the computer, press the Delete key to get into the CMOS Setup, select Advance BIOS Features, press the Enter Key, Select First Boot device, use the Page Up/Down keys to Select CDROM, Esc to the Main Menu, select Save & Exit Setup, put the Windows 98 CD in the DVD drive, and press the Y key to exit the CMOS Setup and reboot.  The computer should boot to the following menu:

  1. Boot from Hard Disk

  2. Boot from CD-ROM

Select 2.

The computer will boot to a second menu:

  1. Start Windows 98 Setup from CD-ROM

  2. Start Computer with CD-ROM support

  3. Start Computer without CD-ROM support

If you booted from the floppy, it should display a similar menu, depending on the method you used to make the Startup Disk.

In both cases, select 3.

If you select 1., the hard disk will fdisk'd with one giant partition.  It will reboot, format the drive, and install Windows.  This is not recommended for a drive this large or for any drive over 4.3 GB.

The computer will display the DOS prompt on drive A: (If you booted to the CD, A: is really part of the CD-ROM):

A:\>

112.  Use FDISK to create a new partition on your new hard disk as follows:

A:\>fdisk

Will produce the following screen:

Your computer has a disk larger than 512 MB. This version of Windows includes improved support for large disks, resulting in more efficient use of disk space on large drives, and allowing disks over 2 GB to be formatted as a single drive.

IMPORTANT: If you enable large disk support and create any new drives on this disk, you will not be able to access the new drive(s) using other operating systems, including some versions of Windows 95 and Windows NT, as well as earlier versions of Windows and MS-DOS. In addition, disk utilities that were not designed explicitly for the FAT32 file system will not be able
to work with this disk. If you need to access this disk with other operating systems or older disk utilities, do not enable large drive support. [this is usually not a problem]
Do you wish to enable large disk support (Y/N)...........? [Y]

113.  Push the Enter key to accept the default [Y] for FAT32.  You will get the following menu:

FDISK Options

Current fixed disk drive: 1

Choose one of the following:

1. Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive
2. Set active partition
3. Delete partition or Logical DOS Drive
4. Display partition information


Enter choice: [1]


Press Esc to exit FDISK

114.  Press Enter to select the default [1].  The following screen will be displayed:

Create DOS Partition or Logical DOS Drive

Current fixed disk drive: 1

Choose one of the following:

1. Create Primary DOS Partition
2. Create Extended DOS Partition
3. Create Logical DOS Drive(s) in the Extended DOS Partition


Enter choice: [1]


Press Esc to return to FDISK Options

115.  Again, press Enter to select the default.  The following will be displayed

Create Primary DOS partition

Current fixed disk drive : 1

Verifying drive integrity, xx% complete.

Current fixed disk drive: 1

Do you wish to use the maximum available size for a primary DOS partition
and make the partition active (Y/N) ....................? [Y]

At this point you can press the Enter key and make the entire drive one partition, your C: drive, or enter N and make a partition which occupies less than the entire drive.  I parted this drive into a 4 GB C: drive and allocated the rest of the drive to the D: drive.  The menus are quite self explanatory for accomplishing this task.   You will also want to create an Extended DOS partition and assign logical drive D: to it (fdisk should do that automatically after the partition is created).  You must exit fdisk and reboot after creating each partition.  Only one of the partitions can be active.  The active partition is the one which will boot after Windows is installed.  Make sure the primary partition is Active by displaying the partition information. 

116.  After creating the partitions and making sure the primary DOS partition is active, reboot the computer to the Startup Floppy or CD-ROM,  select Start Computer with CD-ROM support, and format the C: drive as follows:

Startup Floppy...  A:\> format c:

CD-ROM...

A:\> d:

D:\> cd win98

D:\> format c:

Do not use the /s flag with the format command.  We do not want to transfer the system files from the floppy to the hard disk.  Windows 98 will not install on the hard disk if it already has the system files on it.

Get a cup of coffee...

117.  Repeat for the D: drive.  Get two cups of coffee.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.