Tech Tips / Windows NT / Installation and Configuration

Creating and formatting volumes

There are many ways to create, format, resize, and delete volumes in the NT world. Here are some methods you can use during the setup process itself:

  • Create and format a new primary partition for the NT install, provided you have enough unpartitioned disk space (approximately 200 MB).
  • Format an existing, unformatted volume for the install.
  • Convert an existing FAT partition to NTFS, thus retaining data. Converting a FAT partition to NTFS can take a long time, depending on the amount of fragmentation and the size of the FAT volume. Remember, too, that no status information is given during the conversion process, so it may look like your system has hung, when in fact the conversion is just taking a really long time. In some scenarios it might make more sense to back up your data on the FAT volume to another computer or tape, reformat the volume as NTFS, and then restore the files.

Employ the following methods to create and format volumes if NT is already installed:

  • Use the Disk Administrator tool. It is the obvious choice for creating and formatting volumes, but you can also use it to reformat partitions. Remember, however, that reformatting destroys all existing data.
  • Use the command line to configure special options during formatting, such as specify a different cluster size. To see your options, simply type format /? at the command prompt.
  • Use the Arcinst program to create and format volumes if you are using Alpha or MIPS-based computers.

In Disk Administrator, remember that you cannot delete the Windows NT boot partition when you are running NT. You can, however, delete the NT boot partition if it isn't the same primary partition as the system partition and you start another operating system that doesn't use NT's boot partition as its boot partition.

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