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Can I format extended/logical partitions during installation?

Mr Reorg

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When I do a fresh install using my nLite'd CD, I delete any pre-existing partitions that are on my 1st HD (HD 0) so that I can reconsider partition size and wipe out (reformat) the HD. I usually make

  • C: for the OS
  • D: for programs/apps/games
  • E: for temp files and Photoshop scratch pad
  • F: for work space creating new install CDs and virtual PC

My 2nd HD (HD 1) is partitioned for data, music, pictures and saved downloads (used for future reinstallations)

My installation CD allows me to create the various extended and logical partitions (on HD 0), but it only allows me to format (in NTFS) the partition (C:) onto which I install Windows.

I want set set the following environmentals and have the installation process accordingly:

  • ProgramFilesDir = D:\Program Files
  • CommonFiles = D:\Program Files\Common
  • Temp = E:\Temp
  • Tmp = E:\Temp

NLite allows me to change the default location of Program Files and Common Files, but since my D: partition is not yet formatted, the install process ignors that setting.

Is it possible to pause the installation process after the Text-mode set-up either before or after the 1st reboot so as to formatt the extended and logical partitions that I had created? If it is possible to format the other partitions, but that is the wrong place to accomplish this task, please tell me where, when and how it can be done. Looking at the Windows Setup Timeline, I thought it would make most sense to format those other partitions before the GUI-mode.

I'm a noob and would very much appreciate all of the detailed explanation that I can get. I am using Windows Home.

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Can't someone give me an answer, please. I have searched, really I have. This issue has been nagging me and I can't seem to find an answer to my delema.

Currently, I have to wait for 1st login, when set up finishes and I see the desktop and then format the logical partitions using XP's Disk Management. Then I drag (move) the entire Program Files folder from C: to D:; manually change the Environment Variables found through the Properties tab of My Computer; and then manually change every reference to their location in Regedit.

There's gotta be a better way. Please, won't someone educate me?

Edited by Mr Reorg
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Here is what I do, as I have a similar setup. Sure its a pain, but much easier than what you are currently doing.

When you want to reinstall, DO NOT DELETE THE PARTITIONS.

Reboot with the CD in the drive and go until it prompts you where to install, it will show all the partitions. Pick drive D as your install part, and it will tell you to format it. Hit format with ntfs (quick) and as soon the formatting screen goes away, hit ctrl+alt+del so your machine reboots. Then go back thru to where to install, pick drive C, and format with ntfs (quick) and just let it go from there. since your CD is already setup to use D as your program files part, if you did it right, then program files will be done to your D:.

NOTE: If you have other drives (you wanted to use E: for temp), and your cd is setup to install windows with the TEMP and TMP environment variables on E, then you need to format it either before D, or after D but before C.

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Thanks for the response, Speeddymon. That will defintely be less of a hassel that what I've been doing. However, what you suggest wont accomplish everything I want to do (be able to resize the partitions if I decide to), but it sounds like it will meet my other needs. I will definetly give this a try for my next semi-unattended reinstall. I didn't know it's possible to interrupt the install process this way.

You stated: "Hit format with ntfs (quick) and as soon the formatting screen goes away, hit ctrl+alt+del so your machine reboots." Why do you suggest using the quick format? Can I do the regular (non-quick) format instead so as to check the disk for bad sectors?

I wish there was a way to script this into my winnt.sif. Anyone have any thoughts on how to do this?

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  • 3 months later...

Well I guess I should clarify, and sorry for no response for so long.

I have not been able to find any way to automate custom partitioning, I've given up on that one.

You can actually delete the partitions and recreate them with this method too, and you can use the non-quick method to check for bad sectors if you want to.

How to do it:

Do as before, where you insert the CD, and get to the prompt for where to install.

Delete whatever partitions you want to delete. Create the C partition at whatever size you wish, by hitting "c" to create. Then it will take you back to the choose where to install screen. From there you should see:

"New Partition C (Raw)"

Unused space

Go to the Unused space, and hit "c" to create again. Make the D partition whatever size you want. Then (for the E partition), and do this same line again.

When you finish that, you should have:

New Partition C (Raw)

New Partition D (Raw)

New Partition E (Raw)

or something like that.

This next part is backward from what I said before, but if you pick one of the others first (after just deleting the partitions anyways), you get a warning saying that C will be formatted as FAT32 (whereas if you dont delete, then you already have C as NTFS, so it wont format it, and you have to do one of the others first)..

So, select C and hit enter. Pick which format option you want (NTFS quick or NTFS are preferred). As soon as it is done formatting and shows the Checking Discs Screen, either hit Ctrl+Alt+Del, or the reset button on your case.

Go back into setup and back to the same screen. You will see that C is NTFS and D and E are both listed as Unknown. That is because they were not formatted yet, which is what you take care of now. Pick D or E and hit Enter. Pick format option, and then reboot as soon as it brings up the Checking Discs Screen again. Then do that same thing for E, including the reboot.

Once all of that is done, and you get back to the setup and pick where to install screen, just select C to install to, and do a format one more time on it (so in case any files were installed to C before, they get blown away). Once it is done formatting, just let it finish going thru setup, and you will have done what you wanted to do.

Hopefully that didnt get too complicated, and you aren't intimidated by it. It looks in text a lot harder than it really is. If you need any clarification, just send me a PM.

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