Windows Built-in Disk Tools
The following is a description of how to use Windows95/98/etc's
built-in disk tools to scan your hard disk for errors and
defragment your hard disk. These are necessary steps
to do before attempting to split (or 'partition') a hard disk
so that you can install Linux alongside Windows, creating a "dual-boot"
Screenshots were created by
Kevin Szaflik for his
How To Speed Up Your
Computer tips page. They are used here with permission.
Step 1 - Close all Programs and Screensavers
Quit all running programs, disconnect from the Internet, quit all
virus scanners, turn off all MP3 players, disable all screensavers.
Seriously... these kinds of programs interfer with the processes below,
especially the disk defragmenter (which is very fussy, and will
continuously restart from scratch if any other programs do anything
to the hard disk!)...
Step 2 - Get to your hard disk
Doube-click the "My Computer" icon. If you renamed it and/or changed
its icon (or your Windows desktop's theme), it may look different, of
Step 3 - Launch the tools
Locate your C: Drive, and right-click it. A menu will appear. Select
the "Properties..." option, and then select the "Tools" tab at the top
of the window that appears:
Step 4 - Scandisk
"Scandisk" is a tool which checks a hard disk for errors (both in the
filesystem managed by Windows, as well as the physical surface of the
Select it from the "Tools":
You will be asked which drive to scan, and how to scan it.
We suggest the "Thorough" test, which takes a very long time, but
checks the drive for physical errors.
When you're done, you'll see a summary of the scan:
Step 5 - Disk Defragmenter
This is the most important step to do before attempting to partition ("divide")
your hard disk to create a dual-boot (Windows/Linux) system.
While you use your computer, you (and Windows) create and delete many files.
As files are deleted, gaps appear. New files become discontiguous; the
data on the disk is 'fragmented.'
As a simple analogy, imagine your hard disk as a 1000-page book with only
500 pages worth of text, and many blank pages and gaps between sentences.
"Defragmenting" your hard disk is like consolodating all of the text in
this book to the first 500 pages, leaving the last 500 pages blank and
ready for more text. Or, in this case, for a copy of Linux!
In the "Tools" section of your drive's "Properties" window, now select
the "Defragment" tool:
You'll be given some brief statistics. Start the deframenter:
As the defragmenter tool runs, you'll see a progress bar. Defragmentation
takes a long time, so be patient!
If you click "Show Details", you can watch as the data is
moved around your drive:
Step 6 - Shut down and come to the Installfest!
Once these steps are complete, shut down your Windows system. Any further
use will cause more disk fragmentation, and you'll end up sitting around
doing nothing during the Installfest while waiting for your disk to