Reinstalling windows - partition question

July 25, 2009 at 09:28:13
Specs: Windows Me, P4/256
I would like to reinstall windows ME on my system but I am concerned about my files being preserved and not deleted.

I have two hard drives,

The first drive is set up as a C:\ and a D:\ and the second hard drive is E:\

C:\ is for the OS and my desktop content/favorites/fonts/programs

D:\ is for almost all my data and a few programs

E:\ is the rest of my data files and some large pictures

I want to reinstall Windows, I know I can just disconnect the E:\ drive but I'm concerned about the D:\

I have a Windows ME full install CD that I used before to install Windows 2 years ago back when this computer only had the C:\ and D:\ partitions which I created myself from FDISK and then later I tweaked the partitions using Partition Magic 8.0, I didn't get the other hard drive until recently and the computer was empty and I copied my files onto that system after installing windows 2 years ago.

My question is, do I have to worry about my files on D:\ being erased when I reinstall Windows? I don't plan to repartition or anything, just put in the CD and go.

I will still backup my files from D:\ to E:\ just incase but I would rather they weren't erased as copying back all those files took weeks last time and I don't have that much time to copy back everything, again, I will backup everything on E:\ and disconnect the drive but I'd rather my files on D:\ stay put.

I once had a bad experience with partitions and reinstalling Windows ME with a sony laptop which it turns out it's CD contained some kind of command to reset the partitions erasing EVERYTHING!

So I'm really paranoid this time, no it's not the laptop CD but a normal Windows ME install disc but I'm still concerned.

Do I have anything to worry about with this install?

The box contains the Windows ME squares that are different colors and there's a word balloon that says "For PC's without Windows" - on the side of the box it says Microsoft corporation 2000

The CD has a sticker on it that says CD SET X05-60878

And do I have to do a FORMAT C:\ from DOS mode before installing?

So is there anything I should check for on the CD or otherwise to check if it has some kind of command to erase all partitions?


See More: Reinstalling windows - partition question

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 09:36:15
The reinstall should not have any effect on anything outside the C: partition.

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 12:27:24
What is prompting you to reinstall Windows? Do you intend to reformat the partition or just do an "over the top" reinstall?

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 12:44:43
Are you sure E: is your second hard drive? For hard drives the default letter sequence is:

primary partition on primary master--C:
primary partition on primary slave--D:
logical drive in extended partition on primary master--E:

However, if the second hard drive was partitioned with an extended partition only (no primary) then its letter would be E: and the extended partition on the first drive would be D:

Your drive letters may have been configured differently in windows or by partition magic so the above may not apply in your case. And, as mentioned by Nadine, the install should only affect your C: drive, but if you do move files around it's a good idea to know what physical drive they're on.

If you do a clean install of windows you'd need to format the c: drive first. You can also do an over-the-top install which will keep all your existing things on C:. In that case you wouldn't format. You'd need to type this from a dos prompt first, ren c:\windows\ win.old and enter. That renames the command and makes a full version cd think you don't already have windows installed.

Report •

Related Solutions

July 25, 2009 at 13:33:11
Jam: My computer is really slow and freezes a lot despite all my efforts deleting temp files and defragging and it has a lot of errors and problems and I'm loosing a lot of productivity because of it so I need to reinstall Windows for that reason.

DAVEINCAPS: Yes, I am sure that my E:\ drive is the second physical disk. I installed it and FDISK'ed and formatted it myself from DOS mode.

And thank you for your knowledge about the partitions, as I remember, it was really confusing when I read the MS help file about partitioning as I didn't want to make any mistakes.

Originally, this computer had a bad version of Windows ME when I got it and one partition, the C:\ drive 111 GB and I deleted the partition and redid it as a C:\ and D:\ (details and history below) and installed Windows ME, then tweaked the partitions in March 2008 and then installed the E:\ just a few months ago. This is the first time I reinstall Windows (with data on it) for this computer. Previously, there was no data on the computer and I just moved my files over from another computer.

I had to set it up as an extended DOS partition otherwise, the new drive would have became D:\ and made my old D:\ partition into an E:\

C:\ & D:\ = disk 1 (disk 1 has two partitions, 4% C:\ and 96% D:\ (out of 111 GB making C:\ 4 GB and D:\ 107 GB)
E: = disk 2 (disk 2 has one partition 100% E:\ and 111 GB)

On FDISK C: is listed as PRI DOS
D: is EXT DOS (containing logical drive)
and E: is EXT DOS (containing logical drive)

Originally, C:\ was 40% and D:\ was 60% but I found this configuration wasting a lot of space on C:\ so I used partition magic to shift it to 4% C:\ and 96% D:\ which is what I'm using now. I did this in March 2008.

I installed E:\ a few months ago from DOS, no partition magic.

In my computer:
C:\ & D:\ drive is the primary IDE master
E:\ drive is the Primary IDE slave
Secondary IDE master is a CD drive
Secondary IDE slave i a DVD drive

I almost messed up that arrangement when I installed E:\ as a PRI DOS and it became D:\ and made my D:\ into E:\ so I had to delete the new disk's partition and redo it as an EXT DOS partition in order to keep the original drive letters the same as I have a lot of shortcuts and links and they'd all have been ruined if the original D:\ was turned into E:\ instead of E:\ being the new drive

Thanks for the information about formatting C:\ as I wasn't sure if it I needed to clean out C:\ before reformatting. I have read that it's better to do a clean install instead of an over the top install and since my need for reformatting is about problems with Windows, I think a full install is in order.

Thank you

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 14:33:49
IMO, a 4GB partition for the OS is too small...obviously you found a 40GB partition is too large, but you should have struck a maybe 10GB for C:? That will give you some breathing room for the swap file, system restore (if you use it...personally, I wouldn't) & for running defrag when necessary.

Also, it's best to have your HDD's on separate channels, not both on the same channel/cable. You'd get much better/reliable data transfers if your main HDD with the OS is the primary master & your 2nd HDD is on the 2ndary channel...master or slave doesn't matter.

If you reformat C: & reinstall Windows, none of your programs that are on the D: partition will work.

Report •

July 25, 2009 at 14:58:34
Thanks for the information again, jam.

The 4 GB partition for the OS works pretty well. Like I said, the only things on the C:\ that are personal files are the desktop links, favorites, fonts and a few other things. I always maintain about 1.5 GB free space left and things have usually been fine. I don't use system restore, I noticed that viruses tend to hide in the restore points. And my system is pretty streamlined, I only run necessary programs on the startup so if my computer is getting slow with all the streamlining, I figure it's time to reinstall windows.

Thanks for the info about the D:\ partition's programs. Luckily, I have all the installation packages/discs to reinstall my programs.


Report •

July 25, 2009 at 15:20:44
Although you maintain 1.5Gb free space, I still have to agree with jam. My 98Se partition is 6.5Gb and ~10Gb is a good idea for Me. Stuff that needs to be installed on the C: drive (updates etc.) can eat up disk space at an alarming rate.

I'm a believer in relatively small OS partitions but, in your case, a larger OS partition is something you should consider for Me.


Report •

Ask Question