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Thread: Hard Drive Prep

  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Hard Drive Prep

    Longtime Lounge readers will be aware that I've espoused my Win98SE boot floppy for new hard drive preparation for some time. One of the reasons I've felt this way is that Win98SE is "supposed" to be able to handle preparation of somewhat large disks.
    <hr>In theory, FAT32 volumes can be about 8 terabytes; however, the maximum FAT32 volume size that Windows XP Professional can format is 32 GB. Therefore, you must use NTFS to format volumes larger than 32 GB. However, Windows XP Professional can read and write to larger FAT32 volumes formatted by other operating systems. <hr>
    In order to avoid this XP limitation, I have used my boot floppy to initialize and format MANY drives of a maximum of 40 gig.

    I have just bought two 80 gig drives and my Win98SE boot floppy reported them (in FDISK) as something like 12 gig. I wonder where the 8 terabyte statement comes from and how one would deal with that OUTSIDE WinXP? File Systems Overview

    I've dealt with it so far inside XP and have initialized and formatted the two drives as NTFS and will use Acronis Disk Director to rearrange the partitions to my liking (I hope).

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    Re: Hard Drive Prep

    I have just bought two 80 gig drives and my Win98SE boot floppy reported them (in FDISK) as something like 12 gig.

    I am not quite sure I understand what you are saying? Are you indicating that your Win98SE boot disk didn't format your HD as an 80 gig drive? <img src=/S/confused.gif border=0 alt=confused width=15 height=20>


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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Hard Drive Prep

    Well, in a manner of speaking. When I put the new drive in my box, booted with my floppy and ran FDISK, the drive was reported at 12-something gig, so I cancelled - didn't initialize OR format. I booted to WinXP as normal, initialized and formatted the drive from Disk Management, as NTFS. See Liberty's post above and now, my answer to him...

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    Re: Hard Drive Prep

    THANK YOU very much for the tip. No, I wasn't aware that there was an FDISK fix out there. I've now downloaded it and will do a little renaming of FDISK on my floppy (just in case!) and run the fix. BTW, the link in your post had a duplicate "HTTP://" at the beginning somehow, that's all I took out. Thanks again.

    And, for anyone else who might be interested, there is a link at the bottom of the MS page (provided by Liberty) that also talks about a bug in the format command, although this bug supposedely rights itself DURING the formatting process: Format Displays Size of Partitions or Logical Drives Larger Than 64 GB Incorrectly

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    Re: Hard Drive Prep

    A followup to confirm that the patch works. The downloaded file contains a bunch of INFs and other stuff for updating one's registry and so on. Since I was only interested in doing my boot floppy, I didn't run anything. Rather there are two files in the package (fdisk.98g and fdisk.98s) which simply need to have the suffix changed to EXE. The fdisk.98s file is the one for the SE version.

    Even though one of my two new drives is already initialized and formatted with NTFS, I booted with the floppy and ran the revised FDISK. It now does recognize the proper size of the drive and the only "squiggle" is that it reports the volume name in a garbled fashion and that it's a FAT16 disk, but those are probably attributable to the fact that it's already formatted with NTFS file system. BTW, prior to the fix I had done the same test after formatting with XP and FDISK still reported the drive incorrectly, so I'm sure this patched version helped.

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    Re: Hard Drive Prep

    Al,
    Do you have the updated version of FDISK? Supposedly, it recognizes and reports disks larger than 64GB. FDISK KB Article & Download

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    Re: Hard Drive Prep

    One more (last) followup. I've already mentioned that when my Win98SE boot floppy wouldn't deal with the new 80 gig disks, I initialized and formatted them within WinXP Pro from the Disk Management screen. That worked OK and upon reboot the new disk was recognized in Windows Explorer, except that I noticed that little anomoly that the properties said it was a FAT16 disk, formatted with NTFS. I thought that was odd to say the least. Even after updating my FDISK.EXE file, that same "property" showed up and the volume name was still garbage.

    Ever since I abandoned Partition Magic, I've been using the Acronis equivalent, Disk Director Suite 9, which I have at their latest level. I decided to do a little playing around in that product and deleted the partition, re-created it as NTFS and that "Fat16" designation went away. I also re-sized that partition to half the disk and created a FAT32 partition on the other half. All of these operations worked like a charm and even a reboot with my Win98SE floppy shows the two "new" partitions correctly, without the garbled volume name and that erroneous FAT16 label. I was even surprised that the patched FDISK recognized the NTFS partition.

    My conclusion (or concern) in all of this is the process by which WinXP Pro initializes and formats a "large" disk. Is there something amiss with that process? I don't know and my XP Pro is as up to date with MS updates as can be.

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