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  1. #1
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    Formatting hard disk (XP build 2600xpclnt)

    On page 198 WindowsXP by you-know-who it says by the warning windows XP won't format a big hard drive. This is a new compter for me and I have a 80G hard drive formatted to 74.53G in FAT32 (how did they do that?) I think that I should use the program convert to change to NTFS as recommendedby Woody. Can it do this without losing data?

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Formatting hard disk (XP build 2600xpclnt)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>Edited by WyllyWylly on 18-Jul-02 21:04.</P>Two things:

    One, if your hard drive is 80GB, create partitions. You can use the ever-popular Partition Magic, or FDISK if you're a DOS jockey. No matter what file system you choose, you will get better use of the space by cordoning off the disk into smaller partitions. It's always a good idea to put Windows all by its lonesome self in a smaller (4GB or so) partition and then put your data elsewhere. When Windows goes south - and it will at some point, I have faith - you don't lose everything. Format the Windows partition, re-install, and you're almost done.

    Second point: when you bought the 80GB hard drive, it formatted to 74.53GB because of the difference in how hard drive manufacturers measure the available space versus how computers measure it. It has little, if nothing, to do with FAT32 or NTFS - you will never see it formatted as 80GB. It's because to address the data on the disk itself, clusters are used. Think of it as the difference between "English" and metric measurements. You didn't get ripped off; you just discovered a little quirk of computing.

    <img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2>
    edited to add the following...
    <img src=/w3timages/redline.gif width=33% height=2>
    I tripped over this right after giving up and hitting the post button. Figures, eh? The original text can be found at http://members.aol.com/don5408/drivespace/faq.html
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "I bought a 6.4 GB hard drive. When I look at the size of the hard drive by using DriveSpace3 or Right-Clicking on Drive C in My Computer I get a total amount of 5.99 gb. Where is the rest of my space???"
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This has to do with the way nearly every harddrive manufacturer in existance calculates hard drive size. They all define 1 gigabyte = 1,000,000,000 bytes instead of the 1 gigabyte = 1,073,741,824 bytes which it *really* is.

    This is called "binary" vs "decimal" sizes. If you look at the *fine print* you will always see "[Company X] defines 1 gigabite as 1 billion bytes". This is standard industry practice, unfortunately were a drive manufacturer (Western Digital for example) to be *honest* about this then their drives as advertised would all appear smaller than the competitors, when in fact they would not be. Shoppers would be comparing "apples to oranges" rather than "apples to apples".

    Put another way in reality your hard drive is 6400 million bytes rather than 6400 megabytes. A 6.4 GB drive is actually closer to a 6 GB drive when viewed from a *real world* standpoint.
    -Mark

  3. #3
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    Re: Formatting hard disk (XP build 2600xpclnt)

    Just on a tangent that's only indirectly related to the question, 3 1/2" double-density floppies (not high density which are the most common ones these days) held 760K on an IBM PC or equivalent, 800K on a Mac, 880K on an Amiga (remember those?). No idea what the theoretical maximum was.

    The only reason I bring that up is that low-level stuff like sector sizes and other techy stuff changes how much you can actually store.

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Formatting hard disk (XP build 2600xpclnt)

    I not only remember the Amiga, but there are some hard-core folks out there who still use them and swear by them.

    That's an excellent point - most PCs format a hard drive the same general way, but other platforms don't. The file system makes the difference, like all software it changes with time.
    -Mark

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