How to Make a Hard Disk Bootable

By Lysis

If you've bought a new hard drive but don't want to install a Windows operating system, you can still make the drive bootable. A bootable hard drive is one that has a partition and is formatted for the computer. The hard drive can be used as a simple backup device on your computer, so you can store files on it without having Windows installed.

Things You'll Need

  • Bootable floppy disk or the Windows installation CD-ROM

Step 1

Insert the floppy disk or the CD-ROM into the computer's drive and reboot. The system will boot from the disk inserted. If a floppy disk is inserted, it boots directly to DOS. If a CD-ROM is inserted, it boots to the Windows start up screen. Click "Esc" to get to the DOS prompt.

Step 2

Type "fdisk" into the DOS prompt. This is the application that creates a hard drive partition. It's important that you use "fdisk" on the correct drive since it erases any information on the hard drive.

Step 3

Click the "1" key to select "Create Primary Partition." Enter the size of the partition. For most people, the entire size of the drive is used. For example, if your drive is 500MB, then enter 500. This will verify that you want to partition the drive. Click the "Y" button to continue with the partition process. Wait a few minutes while the partition is created. Once it's finished, exit the "fdisk" application.

Step 4

Type "format/s" into the DOS command prompt. Replace "" with the drive letter you want to make bootable. Click "Enter" and the drive beings to format. The "/s" switch tells the format program to create system boot files on the hard drive, which means you can boot from this hard drive. Formatting a drive can take several minutes.

Step 5

Reboot the machine once the format application is finished. If this is the primary drive in the computer, you will boot to a DOS prompt as soon as the computer starts.

References & Resources