Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

deleting a partition question

Last response: in Windows XP
Share
May 4, 2003 4:05:30 AM

I have a question. If I decide to delete a partition where the os, my is winxp, is installed, does that mean you loose everything on the other partitions as well. I have winxp on C, but I also have videos and games on the other drive.
May 4, 2003 5:01:07 AM

If you have multiple partitions on a disk, and you delete the primary partition that contains the OS, then yes, you'll lose access to the other partitions, because you'll have removed the Master Boot Record and any partition table information about the extended or logical partitions. You might be able to reclaim the data with a third-party utility, but it won't be much fun.

When wiping a drive, partitions should always be removed in the <i>reverse</i> order of creation. If you remove a primary partition, but leave the extended partition and logic drives on the disk, you'll find it very difficult to access or remove them, especially from DOS, or with FDISK.

The BIOS begins a search for the bootable devices during the POST, starting with the first device listed, and if no device with a boot record is found, moves to the next on the list and repeats the search. Once the boot drive has been determined, the BIOS loads the boot code in the master boot record and transfers control to it. The master boot code examines the master partition table. It is searching for two things.

First, it must determine if there is an extended DOS partition. Second, it must determine if there is a bootable partition specified in the partition table. If the master boot code finds an extended partition on the disk, it loads the extended partition table that describes the first logical volume in the extended partition. This extended partition table is examined to see if it points to another extended partition table. If it does, then that table contains information about the second logical volume in the extended partition, so it is loaded and examined. This process is continued until all of the extended partitions have been loaded and recognized by the system.

After loading the extended partition information (if any), the code attempts to boot the primary partition that is marked active (bootable). If there is a primary partition marked active, the code will boot it. The rest of the steps assume this is a DOS primary partition.

The volume boot sector is loaded into memory and tested, and the boot code that it contains is given control of the remainder of the boot process.

The code searches the root directory of the device being booted for the operating system files. If the operating system files are found, the boot program will load them into memory and transfer control to them. At this point the operating system code itself has control of the PC.

It sounds like to me that if you wish to remove WinXP and install another OS, it would be simpler to just format the primary partition, instead of actually removing it. That would leave the other partitions intact. You wouldn't be able to access the games until they were installed again, of course, due to missing Registry keys and shortcuts, so back up your game patches and saved gamed files. As for the videos, it won't make any difference. You'll just need an OS, a video player of some sort, and the correct codecs to see them again. Formatting one partition won't cause the data on another partition to disappear. Removing it, though, is a whole different can of worms. If you are going to wipe the partitions off the drive, back up the data first.

Toey

<A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/index.php?act=ST&f=41&t=32..." target="_new"><font color=green>My System Rigs</font color=green></A>
___________________________________________

<A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>Your Computer Questions Answered</font color=orange></i>
May 4, 2003 12:58:48 PM

ok i have a question to add

can i format it)the primary partition) then split it up into further partitions, without losing access to the data on the other partitions???



thanks

ALltaken
Related resources
May 4, 2003 1:30:50 PM

Not with the FDISK tool on a MSDOS or Win9x boot disk ... it's not that powerful. If you have already completely partitioned the drive, then there is no free space that can be allocated for additional partitions, and formatting the primary partition in DOS won't change that. This is something that needed to be done when the drive was still unpartitioned, with options such as 1 or 2 primary partitions and an extended with logical drives, or 4 primary partitions, or 3 primary and one extended (with 24 possible logical drives in the extended). Whatever your personal partitioning preference, there can only be 4 DOS partitions per disk, (not counting the logical drives.) The only workaround for that is using dynamic disks, which are not really partitions at all, and this is not available in Win9x.

I'd say that your best bet (and the safest) is to use a third-party utility like <A HREF="http://www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic/" target="_new">Partition Magic</A> while you still have an OS on the primary partition. Then you can re-allocate the free space on the primary partition into additional partitions, which will leave your data intact on <i>all</i> the partitions, including the one that contains the OS. Afterwards, you can format the primary partition, and install whatever operating system you choose in that partition.

However, you should still back up all the data before making any changes, even when using Partition Magic, <i>especially</i> before re-sizing the primary partition. There could be something about your system that might cause a problem with the program, and you wouldn't discover it until the re-sizing process had already begun. Disk overlay software can cause errors with a program like this, and so can firewalls, antivirus programs, CD burning software, etc. Using software such as Drive Image (also from PowerQuest) to image the partitions that contain your important data would be an excellent idea, and allow you to have some leeway when re-partitioning, such as completely wiping the drive and starting over from scratch with FDISK or partitioning/formatting with the Windows CD, if that strikes you as a better solution.

Here's a <A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/index.php?act=ST&f=39&t=18..." target="_new">FAQ</A> I wrote about Drive Image that you might find useful.

Toey

<A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/index.php?act=ST&f=41&t=32..." target="_new"><font color=green>My System Rigs</font color=green></A>
___________________________________________

<A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>Your Computer Questions Answered</font color=orange></i>
May 5, 2003 9:11:36 AM

thanks bro thats real helpful!!!!!


Alltaken
May 5, 2003 5:18:53 PM

Yeah, that's why all my partitions are primary. No extended crap for me. Makes reinstalling windows a breeze that way.

2500+ Barton 191x12@1.85v=2293mhz
Tr SLK-800
Tt Smartfan II
A7N8X Dlx
2x512MB Corsair PC3200
BBA 9700 Pro AIW
2x80GB 7200RPM Maxtor
Guillemot Game Theatre XP
Anonymous
May 8, 2003 3:39:24 AM

No! please dont delete my maintenance partition.
May 8, 2003 5:02:52 AM

can you install another os in the drive that is already contain files?
Anonymous
May 8, 2003 9:07:13 AM

You can have two or more startable partitions even FAT, two or more working XP installations and you can use XP install number x to delete individual unused Partitions anywhere else except the boot and/or XP installation you are operating from. The DOS boot disk can always switch Active Partitions and hopefully XP will always remain backward compatible. You can even boot the same XP from 4 different Primary partitions if you had the knowhow. :cool:

Sorry but its not nice to have to explain how to do this so I won't, this is why they pay computer technicians so much and why the poor never gets rich. Who the hell said it was easy? the general user does not want to know this crap.

So I will just hack and pretend to be rich, cough.. hand me my NSAID's man! I MEAN I'M GETTING OLD WOMAN!<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by wired_geek on 06/12/03 08:36 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
Anonymous
May 9, 2003 11:56:38 AM

How you going to delete the OS partition because a dos disk wont delete NTFS partitions and XP wont allow you to delete itself from inside the shell?

You need NTFS to administer NTFS.

Ahh thats better.
June 11, 2003 6:34:27 PM

Firstly, hi everybody! This is my first post.

I've just gone through some horror with my hard drive and finally got it in working order, in the process learning more than I ever wanted to know about partitions, and I think I can help here...

I've been using WinXP for a while, and had a main 200-gig drive with 4 partitions, of which 1, 3 and 4 were NTFS (2 was FAT32, though that's irrelevant). A few of my older games don't work perfectly under XP so I decided to make a dual-boot with 98.

I booted into the XP recovery console and deleted the first partition, then reinstated it, formatted it as FAT32, put my 98 disc in and rebooted. 98 starts doing a bunch of system checks, then says "I've found some Windows NT OS files, do you mind if I delete them?" I figured whatever was left of XP could die quite happily and said sure, okay. The installer hung shortly afterwards, and I had to reinstall XP.

Turns out that when it said "files", what it actually meant was "references to this funny 8 meg partition at the end of the drive". My H: drive, the 60-gig partition at the end, lost its end point and merged with the 8-meg end partition. Oops.

XP restored the 8-meg partition easily enough, luckily. But my guess is that it looked at the end-point of H:, which was now at the very end of the drive, and neglected to subtract 8 megs from it.

The problem came when I tried to install SP1. It automatically extracts itself to the drive with the most free space, in this case H:. It must have at some point overwritten the 8 megs at the end, because I installed XP five times that day, and at the same point during SP1 installation it would crash, and XP (living happily on C:)  would become unbootable.

I found a workaround by deleting partition 4 (H:)  and leaving it unpartitioned, so that the end 8 megs would never be messed with. It's only now that my flatmate bought a 120-gig drive and I borrowed it to back everything up onto; I then deleted all the partitions, redid the whole drive, and everything seems (so far) fine. My assumption is that when I deleted the extended partition, the 8 megs were no longer needed, so when I redid the extended partition and split it into more than one logical drive, the 8 meg end partition and all references to it were put back from scratch.

I now have an L: partition according to Windows. I assume that it's the end 8 meg partition, and since everything looks like it's working fine, I'm terrified of touching it, so I told Windows that no, I don't have an L: drive, ignore it :p 

I hope that was some help to somebody

Chris
June 11, 2003 7:48:02 PM

wired geek, you can delete the os partition by booting with the install cd
June 11, 2003 11:00:58 PM

Yes, you can delete it with an XP installation disk. He said you cannot with the dos fdisk program, this is correct in some cases. The Win98SE fdisk program in fact allows you to delete Non-DOS partitions (yes, ntfs). I once had an argument with an instructor over this, until I proved him wrong by doing it in front of him and all of his students. :) 
June 12, 2003 4:48:58 AM

Quote:
If you have multiple partitions on a disk, and you delete the primary partition that contains the OS, then yes, you'll lose access to the other partitions, because you'll have removed the Master Boot Record and any partition table information about the extended or logical partitions. You might be able to reclaim the data with a third-party utility, but it won't be much fun.

Actually, you won't loose any data on extended partition (correctly, logical drive) as long as you <b>only</b> delete the Primary not the extended partition. I have done it by deleting my Primary but keep my extended partition intact that included 2 logical drives, and this was done by using <b>FDisk</b>. The data in there was Drive Image backup file as well as other backup, and I restored my Windows from that image file (using bootdisk CD created by Drive Image).
:smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
June 12, 2003 5:01:15 AM

Quote:
How you going to delete the OS partition because a dos disk wont delete NTFS partitions and XP wont allow you to delete itself from inside the shell?

Dos disk cannot access NTFS volume, but FDisk (in Win98 or ME bootdisk) is still able to see it as Non-DOS partition and it can delete that partition.

:smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
June 12, 2003 5:10:58 AM

If you want to dual-boot OS, you need to install Win 98 first, then XP since XP (or W2k) supports multiple boot when Win 98 does not.

:smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
June 12, 2003 11:51:02 AM

you can install win98, win95, mandrake linux, I do not know where you are getting your information, kha. It's not a question of which OS supports multiple boot, it's how you setup your installations and where. Few years ago I had a triple boot system just as such, and it worked quite nicely.
June 13, 2003 2:36:34 AM

You misunderstand me. I mean when you install Win 98 (or ME) after Win XP (or Win2k) or even Linux, it 's going to wipe out the bootloader using to boot other OS than Win 98 or ME (you loose the ability to boot other OS) because it does not support multiple OS. Of course, you can fix that but it's time consuming.

:smile: Good or Bad have no meaning at all, depends on what your point of view is.
!