How do you get to "fdisk" from BIOS? - General Hardware - Desktop - Dell Community

How do you get to "fdisk" from BIOS?


Desktop computer Forums (Audio, General Hardware, Video)

How do you get to "fdisk" from BIOS?

  • It seems like every forum online has advice once you are there but my Dell doesn't want me to get there in any shape or way.  My problem is that my computer has been running funny and on doing a check of some stuff I find I have two paritions in addition to my basic one that runs my OS.  Now I delete one that is listed as unspecified but I have ran fdisks in the past from BIOS and if you are willing to take the time they can do a world of good.  Now in the past I had a dell I could merely choose on BIOS setup: "Boot Sequence"> "Boot from Disc" > *wizard on MS OS runs* > choose exit I got a command prompt.  I can't do ANYTHING to get a command prompt from my Dell PC, it wants to run the Windows XP Home Edition no matter what I tell it to do.
    On my Dell Dimension 4600, no way, everything is set to auto run and if exit the wizard the disc merely starts up my OS under my harddrive instead of offering me a choice of what I want to do.  I really, really need someone that knows on a Dell Dimension 4600 only about a year or so old why in the world I can't get to fdisk to fix my partition and get all the unwanted stuff out.  Is it a Dell issue that voids my warantee?  Is it something else.  I know how drastic a step it is but I have all my files backed up and ready to go, but now I have a computer that isn't doing a lot of what it should do and is slow and doesn't associate files right.  Yet every test says it's fine, if you know a lot on computers this should be an easy question, I just forgot the easiest way to get there or on this model at least.
  • deleting the two "extra" partitions will not solve any of your problems.  one is a restore partition (the larger) and one is a diagnostics partition (the smaller).  you should be able to reach a command prompt of some sort by booting to your windows XP CD.  but the CD in the drive and press the option as prompted to access the boot menu (usually F12) when you see the Dell screen.  if this fails, press the indicated keys to access the bios setup (usually F2) at the dell screen and change the boot order there so that CD is first
    note that you can probably delete the two partitions from windows itself

    Message Edited by NemesisDB on 01-08-2006 09:55 PM

  • Yes unfortunately I have been doing the F12 and F2 trick all day long yesterday.  F2 is the BIOS menu I am aware where I can change my boot sequence to disc first.
    F12 gives me some boot choices like:
    1. normal
    2. Master Drive(usually defaults drive of Windows on)
    3. Drive C:
    4. EIOS IDO removable drive.
    5. System Settings(BIOS menu same as hitting F2)
    6. Analysis Setting
    7. *some type of problematic solver setting*
    None of these give me a command prompt.  It seems that loading the Win XP Home Ed SP2 gives 3 choices wheen booting from disk:
    1. Install a new copy of Windows(generally never resolves problems just overwrites some things)
    2. Attempt to repair a copy "R"(has worked in the past but deep problems aren't resolved)
    3. exit F3
    Now generally in the past if I was booting from a disc and I told BIOS "Select to boot from disk first" and then unselected "Boot harddrive" it would give me a prompt.  Now in my newer model is the BIOS set up to like never want to ever give me a prompt at BIOS?  I can't even get "fdisk" from Start>Run>command> and when the DOS interface comes up WIN XP HE does not recognize "fdisk" as any command it knows.  So basically I have this computer going slow, not accessing some types of web pages with more developed flash or macromedia, crashes on programs at times, and sometimes just refuses to load windows when I enter my user password.
    I have deleted my main partition in the past so please if someone knows how to get to my main BIOS system prompt and how you do it please let me know.  If not I've already tried a PC restore (CTRL + F11) at the Dell logo and it helped for a little while but not enough.  I want to clean house so to say and start with a fresh drive, I have all my disks, and all my stuff saved I just need to know how to take this thing down so I can rebuild it.  Unless it voids my warranty, in which case I guess I'll try to do something else but this thing is seriously messed up and system restores and PC restores are not working.  If no one can figure out how to do this maybe I'll just by another hard drive and give up on the one I have.
  • I just need to get to "fdisk" which stands for format disk, from BIOS.  If you have possible answers thank you, but I really need to know if what I am asking is even possible.  It seems like fdisk just made itself appear after messing around in windows before, but now it seems like no one I ask remembers how to get there anymore.  There are tons of sites out there for it but not a single one that is like:
    On this model hit F4, choose to login manually, hit C:\fdisk to access it.
    That's all I want, just how I get there on my model and I can do the rest.
  • Djangojazz,  a couple of clarifications....  FDisk is used to partition the hard drive and not format it.  FDisk is also a utility of the operating system and not a feature of the BIOS.

    I am assuming that you are trying to partition and format the hard drive in order to re-install Windows XP.  If that is correct then the process of partitioning and formatting the hard drive is part of the Windows XP installation.  Unlike the earlier versions of Windows,  Windows XP includes the FDisk and Formatting utilities as part of the operating system installation process.  Click here for the information Denny Denham has provided on his web site about re-installing Windows XP on a Dell system.  This is the best information I can point you to since Dell has currently removed all the software installation guides from their web site. 

    If you continue to have problems with the installation of Windows XP then I would suggest posting your problem in the Software - Windows XP forum.  That would be a better venue in which to discuss installation problems rather than the BIOS forum.  

  • Thank you very much, I found that out myself last night and now everything is peachy except that I have a ghost of Win XP when I start.  I go to load windows and it gives me 2 options, the first works the second it says has been corrupted.  Can I destroy the 2nd  version of windows that doesn't work?  Also now after installation everything works super fast and great, with speeds back where they should be an internet test exceeding what I hoped.

    But now my soundcard isn't reading my speakers?  Weird, their lights still come on and a diagnostic of the soundcard, Creative Soundblaster Live 24, shows everything is fine yet a speaker test does nothing.  Could the speakers have been installed wrong or lost something?  Should I reinstall my audio card physically?  How could I troubleshoot this?

  • To get rid of the ghost installation of Windows XP click here for another forum discussion on that problem.  Follow the directions Denny Denham posted in his reply to Xeriouxi on editing the BOOT.INI file.  That should take care of that problem.
    Regarding your sound problem.....  when you re-installed Windows did you next install the chipset driver and then the audio driver?   If you did then try uninstalling the sound card in Windows Device Manager.  On the next reboot of the system Windows should detect the card and prompt you to install the drivers again.

    Message Edited by Majestic on 01-10-2006 11:25 AM

  • Thanks Majestic!  That's awesome, tell me is the forums the best way to get Dell support now?  I suposedly have this amazing level of Dell support but still have to wait for ages to get answers by phone or chat.  I have had very limited knowledge wise people on the phone that seem to think a reboot or a system restore can cure cancer.  I'm just frustrated that this system is only a little over a year old and has so many problems that in previous Dell models were generally, phone call, knowledgable rep, fixed, follow up.  Now it's problem, call, temp fix, call, temp fix, call inform of previous problems, DELL PC restore, problem is back, call, get hung up on, no follow from person that hung up, ask forums, finally get answers.  I just want my system to work and I paid extra money for higher support, in retrospect now it seems like a waste of money.
  • Glad to hear your problems are resolved.  :smileyhappy:
    As for Dell Tech Support...... unfortunately Dell Tech Support isn't what it use to be.  In the short time since I purchased my XPS T model I have seen a big decline in the quality of support being offered.   A big part of that decline I suspect is related to Dell trying to cut costs such as outsourcing phone tech support to another country.  I find it ironic that once the complaints started to come in about people not being able to understand the tech due to a thick accent that e-mail and chat are now the recommended methods of contacting Dell for support.  For a new owner of a system logging on the Dell Support web site, they would have a difficult time trying to find the 800 tech support phone number that was once listed everywhere.  Not only does e-mail and chat offer some anonymity to the support personnel, but it again saves money since the support person can have multiple chats or answer several e-mails in the time it took to answer one phone call.    
    Are the forums better than phone, e-mail or chat.....  in some respects it is.  By posting in the forums here you will be in contact with actual Dell owners who may have experienced the same problem as you or may know of a quick source for the answer.  This in itself is a better way of resolving the problem since the tech support person maybe reading off a pre-printed script that includes many unnecessary steps such as re-installing the operating system.  I recall a while back I had a problem with my sound system which I traced down to the sub-woofer itself.  When I called to get the sound system warranty replaced I tried to explain the steps I had taken thus far in trouble-shooting the problem, but was basically ignored by the tech person.  She began her trouble-shooting with a series of scripted steps which I listened to.  When she got to the part about having to re-install the operating system I finally said enough was enough and I told her I wasn't re-installing anything because I knew the sub-woofer was dead.  She finally gave in and authorized a warranty replacement which took care of my problem.
  • Support options based on the model of your machine (desktop, laptop, OptiPlex, Dimension, Latitude, etc) in order for your call to be routed to the appropriate technician.

    What are the Dell™ Express Service Code and Service Tag, and where can I find them?


    You will need:

    1. To be in front of the computer while you are online.

    2. The make and model of the computer

    3. The Service Tag and/or the Express Service Code for your computer-

    * The Service Tag can be found on the back or bottom of your computer as a bar code label

    * The Service Tag and/or Express Service code may also be found by running Express.exe in the Dell directory of your C:\ Drive

    * The Service Tag and/or Express Service code may also be found from the Start Menu---> Programs ---> Dell Accessories --->Express Service Code

    4. The Dell Support CDs that came with the computer if they are available.

    The web site is

    <ADMIN NOTE: Broken link has been removed / replaced from this post by Dell>


    Report Unresolved Customer Service Issues here
    I do not work for Dell. I too am a user.
    The forum is primarily user to user, with Dell employees moderating
    Contact USA Technical Support

    Get Support on Twitter @DellCaresPro

  • Are you just like a troll that says that same response to everyone thinking telling them how to get to support when they are already in support forums is some help to them rather than trying to address what they are asking for?