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How To Install or Reinstall Windows 98 (Page 2/4)

Posted: November 13, 1999
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

Reformatting your Hard Disk

You can skip this part if you are not reformatting obviously. If you have one large partition, you may want to consider splitting the drive into two or more drive letters. You might also want to do this if you want to put your swap file on a separate HD. If this is the case, you will need to Fdisk the drive. Fdisk is DOS's native partition manager. You can also use something like partition magic if you'd like - but this is cheap and relatively easy. Follow the following steps:

- Type FDISK /FPRMT (This enables FAT32 for partitions lower than 512 MB)
- Delete all of your current partitions
- Split the drive into as many partitions as you please

If you are going to dedicate one of your new partitions to your swap file, you should probably make it between 180 and 256 MB.

Now that your partitions are set up, you will need to actually format the drives. Any drives that are normally larger than 512 MB won't need any special attention except for a format x: command. But if you have a partition smaller than that, you will need to follow these steps to get the drive properly formatted. Note: The only good reason to have a partition smaller than 512 MB is for a swap file! You have been warned.

To format a partition for a swap file, use the command format x: /Z:n, where n is the cluster size for the partition. This number can be any multiple of 512, which translates directly into bytes per sector. Hard disks are generally faster with larger clusters, but they run more efficiently (you can fit more data on the disk) with smaller clusters. Since we are going for speed here, we would want to go with a large cluster size. I personally recommend 8192 (8 KB) or 16384 (16 KB) for your bytes per sector setting - but that is something that can be tweaked for optimum performance.

Removing Windows 98 from your System

If you aren't going to reformat your hard drive during this operation, deleting Windows is a must; otherwise you gain almost nothing. Here is the fastest way to do it - but make sure you back up any data you might need from the Windows directory before you start. As I said, the safest way to do that is to make a copy of it and leave it on your HD for a couple of days until you are sure you have everything you need off of it.

- Run Smartdrv to speed up DOS
- Type deltree x:\[windir]

This operation can take anywhere from a minute to half an hour depending on how fast your system is and how much junk you have in your Windows directory. It will also take longer if you don't run smartdrv first, so don't forget!

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