NEC PC-9801 - How to partition & format an HDD ?

Started by Sebiohazard, November 23, 2019, 11:14:51 PM

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Hello everyone !

Today I start the emulation of the NEC PC-9801 but unfortunately I can not install a game on the HDD of this machine...

1. First of all I would like to partition & format this HDD. I am using MS-DOS 6.2 but I can not find the FDISK utility on the DOS diskette (see image below)

How to initialize this damn HDD in order to install the game I want to emulate ?

Thanks best regards !


I am on a forum specialized on the NEC PC-9801 & nobody can answer me ?!




If you are not fluent in Japanese, I recommend you to check if your game is in the YAHDI disk image, as it will surely save you a lot of time.

Anyway, if you want to take the difficult path, here we go. You seem to have the same boot disk than me, which will only allow you format the disk, not to perform a full-fledged DOS installation.

Partitioning on the PC-9801 differs quite a bit from IBM PCs MS-DOS partitioning.
There is no FDISK utility for the PC98s, everything is handled through the FORMAT command.

If you're like me and you don't read kanjis... it's going to be a bit painful.

Launch FORMAT.exe in the hard disk mode by running format /h, either from FILMTN or directly from the DOS prompt.
You'll be welcomed by the main menu.


Use the vertical arrow keys to scroll through options, and horizontal keys to change its value. Albeit intimidating, the functions are rather simple:

  • First is drive select, by default the first hard disk is used.
  • I don't know what the second option does
  • Third option shows you the partition list for the current drive. You can have at most 8 partitions per drive.
  • Fourth option allow you to create partitions.
  • Fifth option is for deleting partitions
  • Sixth is for wiping the entire drive, and writing an empty partition map
  • Seventh is for editing partition flags.
  • Eighth is for quitting FORMAT

Wipe the drive using the sixth option. Use the leftmost entry to have a blank drive, then confirm the formatting. A progress bar will be shown.

After this, go back to main menu with the Enter key, and proceed to create a partition. You'll see something similar to this:


The first option sets the partition size in megabytes. By default, it will use the whole disk.
The second option sets the start cylinder of the partition. You can leave 1.
The システム option sets whether FORMAT needs to copy the system files. If I use this, FORMAT locks. Use the 耘送しない value.
ボリュームラベル defines the volume label, which is optional.
Use the bottom menu item to perform the partition creation and formatting.

You now a have a formatted C: drive, immediately avaible, but you won't be able to boot from it.
If you want to, perform the following operations:

Go to the Partition Flags screen, and ensure that the freshly created partition is marked as Active (アクティブ) and Bootable (sixth column value is 可), like this:


Modifications on this screen are instantly written to disk, just set the values and press Escape.

We can now proceed to copying the DOS startup files. Exit from FORMAT, and run the SYS command like this: SYS.exe C:

Congratulations, you have a minimal DOS installation on your hard disk! You'll have to wrestle with AUTOEXEC.bat and CONFIG.sys to have something that supports extended memory and everything else.

Quick tip: if there are no floppies inserted when you start the computer, the startup hard disk volume will have be A:, and floppy drives will be B: and C: letters.