How to Fdisk & Format the Disk

by Erin McManaway

Fdisk is a DOS command prompt tool present in older versions of the Windows operating system such as Windows 98 and Windows 95. You can use the Fdisk command to format computer hard drives that use the older FAT and FAT32 file system. This command will not work with computers that run newer Windows operating systems or run on the NTSF file system. When you format the hard drive disk, you will erase all the data, so be sure to make a backup of all files you want to keep.

Use Fdisk to Partition the Hard Drive

Insert the Windows Startup floppy disk in your disk drive and reboot your computer.

Choose the "Start computer without CD-ROM support," then press the Enter key. This will launch a DOS command window.

Type "fdisk" at the command prompt and press the Enter key.

Press the Y key to select the "FAT32" file system, then press the Enter key.

Press the "1" key to create a new partition on your hard drive, then press the Enter key.

Press the Y key to confirm the partition's creation and allow the program to create the partition. You have created the partition, you will need to format it.

Press the Esc key twice to exit the Fdisk command prompt.

Format Hard Drive

Reboot your computer with the Startup disk in the floppy drive.

Choose the "Start computer without CD-ROM support," then press the Enter key. This will launch a DOS command window.

Type "c: /s" at the DOS prompt and press the Enter key.

Press Y at the warning prompt, then press the Enter key to format your hard drive.

Type a name for your hard drive or leave the name blank and press the Enter key. You have now partitioned and formatted the hard drive, and it is ready for a clean operating-system installation.

Items you will need

About the Author

Erin McManaway holds a B.A. in professional writing from Francis Marion University, where she earned the Richard B. Larsen Memorial Award for Business and Technical Writing. She has worked in materials development, media and information technology in the nonprofit sector since 2006. McManaway has also been a writer and editor since 2008.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from Fotolia.com