Formatting my hard drive

Hi, first of all my computer is XPS R400 on BIOS A13. I am running windows98SE in my Deskstar 22GXP (ATA-66). I also have another HD that came with my computer which I believe its a Maxtor 10Gig (ATA-33). I am looking into formatting my HD or HD's and install Win2K from scratch. I heard about the format that inputs 0's (low level formatting)? I heard that this takes really long time but its the cleanest format? I don't really need to recover any files and I also have lots of time right now. I just want to format my HD completely! The kind that will even fix bad clusters or so. So my question is...

1. If this 0's thing is what I want then how do I do this? Is there any clear adavantage in low level format? Is there a special way to format for Win2K?

2. If I clear everything up, how will I install Win2K? Will my CD-ROM drive even work(as I don't have any drivers uploading)? Should I make a start up disk for win2K(my friend has win2k)?

3. Will the same procedure apply for both of my HD? The OS(Win2000) will be running in my deskstar as main HD.

4. I know that for HD that are greater than certain size I need to format (partition? not sure the difference) the HD in a certain way? Wouldn't the 0's style format clear my current HD type (the type that has my HD work at its size) and show as if it was smaller than what it is (so i have to format it once again after to set it to a different FAT)?

5. Doesnt Win2K not have DOS in it? then how do I install it cause I'm used to running the setup from DOS mode when I installed win98.

6. I heard that HD's has its special features. Are there special format softwares so I can activate these features? Or are these features always activated or activated by software running in Windows?

7. I'm planning on purchasing a Promise Ultra100TX2 controller. Should I install this before formatting or doing anything(for faster results)?

8. In #7 I mentioned that I was buying a 100ATA controller while I only have a ATA-66 and a ATA-33 HD. I decided this as Promise said that this controller enhances the speed with its own technology (more than what a controller does). Should I just get an Ultra66 controller?

9. I ran Sandra and I got this warning message "Large cluster sizes waste disk space. Break drive into smaller partitions or use FAT32". What does this mean?

10. When go to Control Panel under System, disk drives(my HD's) it says that i have a Generic drive for both of my HD (IBM and MAxtor). Is this correct? Or is there a way so that it will say IBM Desktar and Maxtor?

I know these are lots of questions but I just can't have enough knowledge! I love this stuff! Thanks guys.

P.S I'm planning to burn any drivers and files that I need so back-up is taken care of.
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  1. Wow, that's a big post. But here you go, as best as I can do.

    1. A low level format makes your hard drive like the day it was new (except for some mileage, and that's assuming you changed the oil every 30,000 miles). It's very nice, but not absolutely required.

    2. You can either:
    a) create a Windows 2000 bootable CD (bit of work, but worth it). Just do a search in Yahoo!, and you should find a site telling you how to do it.
    b) make the 4 floppy disks that you use for startup. I can't remember how to do it, but it should say in help somewhere.

    3. Yes, it would, assuming you don't want to keep the data on one hard drive.

    4. Certain OS's only recognize hard drives up to a certain size. This is necessary for programming reasons. Partitioning is basically creating more than one logical drive on a single physical drive. You do not need to do this with Windows 2000.

    5. It runs a certain setup program (not DOS), for setup. I believe Win98 does the same. They both look DOS-based, though.

    6. Not sure what you mean by this.

    7. Format, and then install the controller and put the drives on it. When Windows 2000 first starts, it'll say "hit F6 to install third-party SCSI or RAID drivers". You NEED TO HIT F6 and then insert the disk that came with the controller.

    8. An Ultra66 controller would perform exactly the same as a 100 controller with 66 or 33 drives. But you'd have to get a new controller if you upgraded your hard drives.

    9. I'll give you a solution to this later.

    10. Don't worry about it. As long as they're the right capacities, they should be fine.

    Ok, you're going to run W2k. Are you doing a dual-boot? This is important. If there are ever any other OS's reading the same hard drive, you have to use a format type they can all understand. Win95/98/ME all only understand FAT and FAT32. Windows 2000 understands those as well as NTFS. Don't use FAT. That's what gave you the Sandra error. It's not as efficient as FAT32. FAT32 is faster than NTFS (slightly), but NTFS has file-level security. I'd recommend NTFS, but it's up to you.
    Remember if you're doing a dual-boot with W2k and say, 98, you will HAVE to use FAT32 in order for both OS's to see the same files.

    Apple? Macintosh? What are these strange words you speak?
  2. Thanks for your reply! I know it was a long question but thanks! Well I am not going to dual boot. I will only be running windows 2000. About the format, I heard that NTFS is for Win NT but it has drive size limits? like it wont accept HD over 8 gig or so? and that Windows 2000 fixed this problem and is using FAT32? So which one should I use? FAT32 or NTFS? Oh and I just read somewhere that low lever formatting is dangerous and voids the warranty(not that i care)? Should I low level format or just format? So I don't have to partition at all no matter what unless I want to split my driver? So all I have to do is format the hard drive (while assigning FAT or NTFS?). I thought my computer was already in FAT32.
  3. Quote:
    I heard that NTFS is for Win NT but it has drive size limits?

    Yes, you're right. I forgot that W2k isn't really NTFS, but NTFS5, so it fixes the problems with it previously.

    I don't know a whole lot about low level formats, but I doubt it's dangerous or voids your warranty. Not sure.

    Yes, you just have to format the hard drive.

    I'm not sure if your computer is FAT or FAT32. There are too many variables, and since you're formatting anyway, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Apple? Macintosh? What are these strange words you speak?
  4. So should I format it with NTFS5? How do I do that?
  5. Start Windows setup, and it'll ask you what partition you want to setup Windows on. Choose the hard drive you want to install it on (the one you currently have Windows installed on, I would assume), and then it'll ask you whether you want to format, and with what file system. Then you choose "Format this volume with the NTFS file system".

    I didn't even realize it was NTFS5, not NTFS until I started researching the difference between NTFS and FAT32 before my last post. It only says NTFS, never NTFS5.

    Apple? Macintosh? What are these strange words you speak?
  6. no drive limitation of 8GB under NTFS - native NTFS on NT4 supports 100GB plus quite happily.

    -* This Space For Rent *-
    email for application details
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