partitioning a new hard drive Windows XP cras

Compaq deskpro pc / Presario sr2036x
July 3, 2011 at 19:00:16
Specs: Windows XP Prof w/ Service Pack 2, AMD Athlon 64/2 gig ram
The PC stopped mounting the hard drive (dead, right?)
I am installing a new hard drive and want to make sure I do it right. I have a new Windows XP to put in. When I put it in, it will ask me to partition the drive. That is what I am not sure about. Do I even need to partition it? Can I just format it and go with it?

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July 3, 2011 at 19:21:49
"The PC stopped mounting the hard drive (dead, right?)"

No, I would use a diag disk to check it either in the system or a known working system.

Kind of a difficult question. I'd think that many disks are sold formatted but it is easy enough to start over.

You first make a partition and then you format it. Consider ntfs unless your system is very old.

1/3 of highway deaths are caused by drunks. The rest are by people who can't drive any better than a drunk.

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July 3, 2011 at 20:27:32
""The PC stopped mounting the hard drive (dead, right?)"

The drive must spin.
If it doesn't,and other drives do connected to the same power connector, it's definitely dead.

Otherwise, lots of things can be wrong that may make you assume it's dead.

The bios must detect the hard drive.
If your mboard is older than made in 2002 or so, the bios version may have bugs that prevent drives larger than a certain size from being detected properly, or the boot sequence may freeze when the drive is connected ,unless you flash the bios with a newer version than it originally had, if that's available.

If the hard drive is not being detected by the bios ,there are other reasons it may not be......

- the data cable may have a problem, or not be connected right

- if you have more than one drive on the same IDE data cable, one drive may not be jumpered right on the back of the drive and not be recognized , even if the other drive is recognized.

- if the problem is the computer is not finding a bootable hard drive partition, but the hard drive is being detected in the bios....

- the Boot Order or similar settings in the bios Setup must be compatible with you booting from the hard drive you want to boot from

- the drive may not be connected to the right SATA header, if it's a SATA drive, on an older mboard (you can't boot from a hard drive when it's connected to certain SATA data headers on older mboards).

- at least one hard drive partition must be (software) partitioned and formatted and have an operating system on it for it to be found bootable

- if you have more than one hard drive, one with an operating system, one or more without, the bios may not be booting from a hard drive with an operating system on it by default and you must change a setting in Setup.
If the first hard drive the bios detects and tries to boot from is not bootable, the bios WILL NOT try to boot from anything else in the Boot Order or similar list.

Etc., etc..

A blank of data new hard drive, or a used hard drive that has had all it's (software) partition(s) deleted, must be software partitioned, then formatted.
In Windows 2000 and above's preparation of the drive when you boot from the CD, that's done in one step, the software partitioning happening first a bit ahead of the formatting. The formatting takes much longer, especially if you do the default full formatting, so people often assume it's just being formatted.
The same applies if you delete an existing partition and make a new one in the same hard drive space.

2000 and up's Disk Management does the same thing, when you make a new partition, or delete an existing partition and make a new one in the same hard drive space.

If you RIGHT click on a hard drive partition's drive letter in 2000 or XP and select Format, that justs formats the existing software partition. You cannot do that to the partition Windows is running from in Windows itself.

In Windows ME and previous, the software partitioning program is Fdisk, and the formatting program is Format.
You use Fdisk first on a new partition, then Format that partition - two steps.

When you have only one hard drive...

Windows Setup defaults to making only one partition on a hard drive (or, a brand name software installation usually has only one visible - in Windows itself - partition on the single hard drive) .
The problem with that is if you ever need to re-load Windows (or the original brand name software installation) from scratch, you lose everything on the partition Windows was installed on, and when you have only one (visible) partition on the hard drive, that's everything on the drive - unless you copy the data you don't want to lose to elsewhere BEFORE you install Windows from scratch (most people don't bother, and lose all their data) .

If you're installing XP from a regular CD, it's recommended you make at least TWO partitions on the drive.
How to make more than one partition on a hard drive, when you're installing Windows on a blank hard drive, or when you are deleting the existing partition(s) on a hard drive before you run Setup .....
See Response 3:

If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included.....

See Response 6
starting at
"If your XP CD does not have SP3 updates included, the best time to load them is right after you have installed Windows from scratch...."

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