How to Fix a Partition Table in DOS Command

By John Mitchell

No need to tear your hard drive out of the computer to fix the partition tables.
i hard drive interior image by Curtis Sorrentino from

Hard drives sometimes lose data from years of use and file system deterioration. This scenario is not wholly uncommon, however, you can run a simple DOS command to restore the hard drive's partition tables. This requires booting directly into MS-DOS on your Windows computer. You may need to insert the Windows Startup disk you received with your installation package. If you don't have a DOS boot disk, then you can find and download a free boot disk from a few websites. The FDISK command is the primary function that will fix your partition tables.

Back up your important files and media before you fix your partition tables. You will lose important data on the partition tables and hard drive.

Insert your Windows Startup disk into the drive if you are using Windows 95, 98 or Me. Restart your computer. Hit the "F8" key during the first boot-up screen to get the MS-DOS command prompt. If using Windows XP or higher, insert a DOS book disk into your CD-ROM or USB port; the command line will load automatically after booting.

Type "fdisk" minus the quotes on the command line.

Hit the "1" key when prompted. This selects "Create DOS partition or Logical DOS Drive" from the FDISK options menu. Hit the "Enter" on your keyboard.

Press "1" again, selecting "Create Primary DOS Partition." Then hit the "Enter" key.

Customize the partition size when prompted. The FDISK program will ask what type of file system you want, including FAT32 or FAT16. You can also accept the default partition size.