After pressing C, we will now be given an option to choose the size for our partition. This is an important step. This is where the user has to ask himself / herself what configuration he / she might like?

Creating a single partition using all of the available space is the simplest choice. However, it is not the best choice. We want to separate the system files from our personal data. We want to create separate partitions for the two. Thus, if our system gets broken, we will be able to install it again without touching the personal data.

Thus, we will not use all of the available space. We will create a partition for the operation system and a partition for the personal data. We will create a 4GB partition for the operating system. Windows XP needs about 1-2GB to install and run smoothly. You could probably get away with less and you can definitely get away with more. It all depends on the size of your hard disk.

We want to use the 4GB partition to install Windows and later, in Windows, install programs. This will be our primary partition when booted in Windows. It will also be the first partition on our (first) hard disk.

Enter the desired size (in thousands of MB) and press Enter.

Make primary partition

As you can see, we now have a partition ready, onto which we can install Windows XP. You can proceed to the setup now. You do not have to partition the spare space now. But be aware that it will not be usable until partitioned. Windows XP does not have a partitioning capability built-in. Therefore, unless you use some third-party software, it is wise to do it right now.

This will be our logical non-bootable partition when booted in Windows. It will serve us for personal data. It will also be the second partition on our (first) hard disk. Move the selection (highlight) with arrow keys down to unpartitioned space. Press C again to create a new partition.

Primary partition created

Once again, we will be presented with the choice of the size. You can also see that 8MB will not be accounted for no matter what. This is because the first sector of the hard disk cannot be used to create partitions on it. It is reserved for the boot information which tells the system which partition to use to boot from. This is also called Master Boot Record (MBR). This is the most important sector on a hard disk.

We will use all of the available free space for our second partition. Theoretically, if you have a very large hard disk, you could create several logical partitions. Or leave some space free for a Linux installation. Enter the desired size (in thousands of MB) and press Enter.

Make logical partition

Logical partition created

Now, our hard disk is ready for the installation. Select (highlight) the desired partition - it will be the first one! - and press Enter to start the installation.

Select install partition

Newly created partition(s) will not be formatted. We need to format our selected partition to be able to actually install the operation system on it. We will format the partition using the NTFS file system. NTFS file system has an advantage over the FAT32 file system in its ability to handle very large storage disks, in the fragmentation of files and overall security it offers. Windows XP should be installed on a partition formatted with NTFS file system.

You should be aware that:

Windows 98 cannot read NTFS partitions. If you have Windows 98 installed in dual boot alongside Windows XP, Windows 98 will not be able to see the NTFS partitions.

NTFS file system is a closed source and therefore cannot be written to from Linux operating systems (without proper patches). This means that NTFS partitions will be accessible as read-only from Linux operating systems. But this should not worry you too much. For the time being, we are only installing Windows XP.

Select to format using NTFS file system and press Enter. We will not do a quick format, even though it saves time, because if the disk has had data previously written on it, it might not be properly wiped away.

Format with NTFS file system

Formatting will take some time, depending on the disk size. It can take several minutes. It's a good time to make a cup of coffee.


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