Formatting a HDD with win98

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Thread Starter
Jan 31, 2001
I have a Dell computer and i need to format it bad...anyone know the Doss command for the format.
I tried A:\>Format C:
keep getting bad command error....anyone see anything wrong with that command.,...looks right to me???
also...does the boot disc have to be in the floppy drive..or could i just put any floppy in there??
reason im asking is, im walking a friend thru a format and im not entirely sure about that floppy Boot disc having to be in the drive to get the command to work???
he said he put it in the drive...the dumby could have put a different floppy in there!

Dec 2, 1999
This should explain it, little more than you wanted, skip the fdisk part if you don't want to lose everything on the drive, fdisk will lose all information on the drive, not just the c partition.

First what type of Microsoft CD do you have? I'll assume it's W98. If it's not, don't use these
instructions til you let us know what version you'll be installing. Anyway, if it’s an upgrade CD then
you’ll need to be sure you have your old W95 CD or 3.1 diskettes available. During the install you
will be required to prove you have a qualifying product for the upgrade. If you have a Full Copy of
W98 on CD, then that's all you'll need.

You'll also need a W98 bootdisk. If you don’t have one then you can make one
from here. Or if you still have access to your W98 PC or any other W98 PC you can make one from


Be sure to have your Windows "Product Key" available. You’ll need it during the install. It should be
on the sleeve that holds your W98 CD or on the Windows booklet. If you have neither but have
access to your W98 PC, then you can get it from the Windows registry. Start>Run, key in regedit
and press enter. Navigate to here by single left clicking on each one of these in the left pane,

The ProductKey is listed in the right pane.

Once you have all of that, insert the bootdisk and power on the machine. It should boot up to a boot
menu. If not, you’ll need to change the boot sequence in your BIOS to A,C

After it has booted to the bootmenu, select the option to "Start with CD Rom Support". Somewhere
on the screen at the very end, it tells you what drive letter it has temporarily assigned to the CDRom
drive. It will look something like this, e: MSCD001 or e: OEMSCD001. In that example, the CDRom
drive is e. Make a note of it. If you don't see that phrase on the screen then you didn't get CD Rom
support. Stop and do not go any further since you won't be able to install Windows from CD without
CDRom support.

Assuming you did get CDRom support, then at this point, once you've fdisked and formatted the
drive, there's no going back. All of the data and programs will be erased from the drive. At an a:
prompt key in the following,


Leave the default set to "Y" for large disk support and press enter.

Now use the option to "Delete Partitions". Delete any and all you see listed. Now take the option to
"Create a Partition" and create a "Primary DOS" partition.

format c: /s

When it's done insert your Windows CD. Key in the following at the prompt and be sure to change
the drive letter, "e", if necessary, depending on the drive letter assigned to your CDRom drive. You
should have made note of it earlier.

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