Microsoft KB Archive/249085

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How to Delete a Primary Partition Without Removing the Extended Partition

Article ID: 249085

Article Last Modified on 10/30/2006


  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server

This article was previously published under Q249085


You may have to delete, and then re-create a primary partition without disturbing data on Logical Drives in an extended partition. This procedure may be useful in situations such as the following:

  • Windows is installed in a logical drive on a second (extended) partition, and the boot record for the drive C partition has become corrupted.
  • The drive C partition has been formatted by means of the NTFS file system, and you want to format it by using the file allocation table (FAT) or FAT32.

To use this procedure, you must have the following items:

  • A current Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).
  • A Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or MS-DOS boot disk with a copy of FDISK.EXE and FORMAT.COM.
  • The Windows 2000 CD-ROM. You may also require the Windows 2000 Setup floppy disks if your computer cannot start from the Windows 2000 CD-ROM.


  • Do not use this procedure on dynamic disks.
  • This process removes all the data in the primary partition. Before you continue, make sure that you back up all the data that is in the primary partition.


To delete, and then re-create a primary partition, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that all the data on all the drives is backed up, and that you have an updated ERD. To create an ERD, follow these steps:
    1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup.
    2. On the Tools menu, click Create an Emergency Repair Disk.
    3. Click to select the Also back up the registry to the repair directory to save your current registry files in a folder in your %Systemroot%/Repair folder.
    4. Follow the on-screen instructions to create the ERD.
  2. Start the computer by using the Windows 2000 CD, or the Windows 2000 Setup floppy disks.

    Note: Do not start this process from Windows. You must continue by using the Windows 2000 Setup floppy disks or the Windows 2000 CD-ROM.
  3. When Setup finds the previous installation of Windows 2000, press N to install a fresh copy.
  4. Follow the steps in Windows 2000 Setup until you see the screen that displays the existing partitions and unallocated space.
  5. Click to select the drive C partition, and then press D to delete the partition. You receive the following warning message:

    This is a system partition. Are you sure you want to remove it?

  6. Press L to delete the partition. A screen appears that shows the existing partitions and free space, and lists Unpartitioned space where the drive C partition used to be.
  7. Click to select Unpartitioned space (formerly drive C), and then press C to create a new partition.
  8. Press ENTER to confirm the maximum size for the partition. The screen that shows the existing partitions and free space appears again. The screen lists drive C as "New (Unformatted)" where Unpartitioned space used to be.
  9. Press F3 to exit Setup, insert the Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft Windows 98, or MS-DOS boot disk into the floppy drive, and then press F3 again to restart the computer.
  10. At the DOS prompt, type fdisk, and then press ENTER.
  11. Press Y to confirm large disk access.
  12. Click to select option 2, and then set the drive C partition as Active.
  13. Press ESC, press ESC, and then press ESC again to exit fdisk.
  14. Use the boot disk to restart the computer.
  15. At the DOS prompt, type format c:, and then press ENTER.
  16. Press ENTER to confirm the format.
  17. When the format is complete, type the volume label (this is optional), and then press ENTER.
  18. Type fdisk/mbr, and then press ENTER to update the master boot record (MBR). For additional information about FDISK /MBR , click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    166454 Using FDISK /MBR for Troubleshooting Windows NT Boot Problems

  19. Use the Windows 2000 CD or the Windows 2000 Setup floppy disks to restart the computer, and then when prompted, press R.
  20. Press R again to use the emergency repair process to repair your installation of Windows 2000 .
  21. Press F to perform a fast repair, insert the ERD, and then press ENTER.
  22. When the repair process is complete, remove the floppy disk from the drive, and then restart the computer as you typically do.

Keywords: kbinfo KB249085