JohnHolland

FDISK and FORMAT large HDDs

53 posts in this topic

?Have you tried gParted Live?

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?Have you tried gParted Live?

Nice game, can I play too? :unsure:

?Have you tried Partition Logic? :whistle:

?Have you tried PartedMagic? :thumbup

jaclaz 2 - submix8c 1

:P

jaclaz

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> Marius 95:

> I just created a RAID 0 logical drive using HPT372 and 2 WD5000AAJB.

> I have 1TB of free space and no way to format it!

Raid 0? A situation that's a little more complicated than I'd like to see for a basic test.

> Fixed FORMAT.COM :(

> FreeDOS FORMAT.EXE :(

Not sure what that means. If they've been fixed, then why the sad face?

> About my 1TB partition and Win98: - Format - impossible in DOS/Win98

Is this the same raid-0 drive mentioned above?

> dencorso:

> read Q263044

This is the May/2000 version of fdisk that I'm sure we all use (when we use fdisk that is). What's strange is that Microsoft says this:

"This hotfix is not designed for 48-bit logical block addressing (LBA) hard disks, and it is not supported on hard disks larger than 137 GB."

Why do they claim some sort of incompatibility with 48-bit LBA? We know that it seems to work on drives between 128 to 512 gb, why would Microsoft think fdisk has a problem in that range?

> Petr's thread on Format and Fdisk

That link is not working for me

> Q280737

Well isin't that in interesting. Microsoft claims that fdisk can't partition drives larger than 512 gb. That behavior is "by design". Didn't they tell us earlier that Fdisk is not supported on drives larger than 128 gb? They also told us a long time ago that DOS scandisk won't work on drives larger than 128 gb (which it can). Why can't they come clean on the upper bounds of these programs the first time?

Microsoft goes on to say this in the Resolution section: "You can use the Windows Millennium Edition (Me) Setup boot disk that is provided with the full version of Windows Me to partition new drives before you install Windows."

So does this mean that Win-ME came with different versions of fdisk and format (or something else ?) that *WILL* work on drives larger than 512 gb? If not, then what exactly is Microsoft trying to say?

> Get BHDD31.ZIP and perform the testing yourself (and report it here)

Does it include newer DOS versions (from Microsoft) of fdisk.exe (newer than May 2000) or format.com (newer than April 1999) ? I see that it has a format.com (Nov 2006) and fdisk.exe (Oct 2006) - what's the story with those files?

Does BHDD31.ZIP include the hypothetical programs from the ME setup disk that Microsoft mentions in Q280737 ?

> submix8c:

> Have you tried gParted Live?

> jaclaz:

> Have you tried Partition Logic?

> Have you tried PartedMagic?

The only third-party drive preparation tools that interest me are those that allow custom cluster sizing without limitation. Some allow custom cluster sizes but impose limits on total cluster count and hence volume size.

I wish that someone would modify format.com and remove the limitations of the /z switch.

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> Fixed FORMAT.COM :(

> FreeDOS FORMAT.EXE :(

Not sure what that means. If they've been fixed, then why the sad face?

The sad faces mean [Petr's] fixed versions of these programs didn't work for Marius '95, too.
> Petr's thread on Format and Fdisk

That link is not working for me

Sorry! I fixed it now, so it now must be working.

And, yes, all Marius '95 were performed with his raid 0, because 1TB drives were not available or were too expensive, I'm not positive which, at that point in time. Yet, I don't see why this should be invalid, as the raid 0 is created at BIOS level, and should be transparent to DOS. In any case, the above is all the info I'm aware of. I cannot provide you the info you ask, because AFAIK, nobody reported what you seek. As I said before, from this point on, experimenting is in order.

BTW, BHDD31 includes Petr's corrected files, hence the 2006 dates. I've given up format and fdisk a long time ago. I use instead The Ranish Partition Manager (on DOS or Win 98SE), Gdisk (on DOS or Win32) and, to set custom sectors per cluster values, Ridgecrop's fat32format (on Win XP).

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This is the May/2000 version of fdisk that I'm sure we all use (when we use fdisk that is). What's strange is that Microsoft says this:

"This hotfix is not designed for 48-bit logical block addressing (LBA) hard disks, and it is not supported on hard disks larger than 137 GB."

Why do they claim some sort of incompatibility with 48-bit LBA? We know that it seems to work on drives between 128 to 512 gb, why would Microsoft think fdisk has a problem in that range?

Well isin't that in interesting. Microsoft claims that fdisk can't partition drives larger than 512 gb. That behavior is "by design". Didn't they tell us earlier that Fdisk is not supported on drives larger than 128 gb? They also told us a long time ago that DOS scandisk won't work on drives larger than 128 gb (which it can). Why can't they come clean on the upper bounds of these programs the first time?

Microsoft goes on to say this in the Resolution section: "You can use the Windows Millennium Edition (Me) Setup boot disk that is provided with the full version of Windows Me to partition new drives before you install Windows."

So does this mean that Win-ME came with different versions of fdisk and format (or something else ?) that *WILL* work on drives larger than 512 gb? If not, then what exactly is Microsoft trying to say?

Neither FDISK, FORMAT nor SCANDISK know or care about 48-Bit LBA. Older BIOSes and unpatched Windows 9X do not support 48-Bit LBA.

I believe Microsoft set the limit to 128GB so that people wouldn't get a false sense of security by thinking that they could use a 512GB Hard Drive solely by using FDISK.

I wish that someone would modify format.com and remove the limitations of the /z switch.

I wrote my own version of FORMAT that allows all parameters to be set and supports 2TB Partitions.

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Just for the record, I'm not trying to be a pain here. I'm just asking questions. If I had a drive larger than 500 gb, I'd try fdisk and format myself - and post the results.

Maybe nobody can answer these, but I really would like to know why Microsoft said these things:

- Fdisk update is not designed for 48-bit LBA

- Fdisk update is not supported on drives larger than 128 gb

- Fdisk update is limited to 512 gb "by design" (contradicts previous two points)

- Win-Me Setup boot disk can be used to partition drives larger than 512 gb (how?)

Can anyone here post a reality check on the last point?

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Just for the record, I'm not trying to be a pain here.

It is possible that you are failing in your goal. ;)

I'm just asking questions. If I had a drive larger than 500 gb, I'd try fdisk and format myself - and post the results.

Sure. :)

Maybe nobody can answer these, but I really would like to know why Microsoft said these things:

- Fdisk update is not designed for 48-bit LBA

- Fdisk update is not supported on drives larger than 128 gb

- Fdisk update is limited to 512 gb "by design" (contradicts previous two points)

- Win-Me Setup boot disk can be used to partition drives larger than 512 gb (how?)

Can anyone here post a reality check on the last point?

Can you post WHERE Microsoft said the listed 4 points? :unsure:

Here they are numbered:

  1. - Fdisk update is not designed for 48-bit LBA
  2. - Fdisk update is not supported on drives larger than 128 gb
  3. - Fdisk update is limited to 512 gb "by design" (contradicts previous two points)
  4. - Win-Me Setup boot disk can be used to partition drives larger than 512 gb (how?)

The MS kb references should be these:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/139579/en-us

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/239113/en-us

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/239119/en-us

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/245213/en-us

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/263044/en-us

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/263045/EN-US/

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/280737/en-us < #3?

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/327202/en-us < #1 & #2?

I am missing where #4 may come from.

To clear some points (or maybe further confusing you :unsure:) read here:

http://thestarman.pcministry.com/asm/mbr/FDISK.htm

:hello:

jaclaz

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Just for the record, I'm not trying to be a pain here. I'm just asking questions. If I had a drive larger than 500 gb, I'd try fdisk and format myself - and post the results.

Maybe nobody can answer these, but I really would like to know why Microsoft said these things:

- Fdisk update is not designed for 48-bit LBA

- Fdisk update is not supported on drives larger than 128 gb

- Fdisk update is limited to 512 gb "by design" (contradicts previous two points)

- Win-Me Setup boot disk can be used to partition drives larger than 512 gb (how?)

Can anyone here post a reality check on the last point?

I don't work for Microsoft, so I cannot give an official answer, but I gave my interpretation of why Microsoft said items #1 thru #3 in my last post.

FDISK cannot provide support for 48-Bit LBA limitations elsewhere (BIOS and/or ESDI_506.PDR) even if it can handle larger drives, such as USB.

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I thank jaclaz for the comprehensive list of KBs relating to FORMAT and FDISK.

I also thank both jaclaz and RLoew for their considerations about this matter.

I'd like to add that, after rereading those KBs, and reading for the first time KB327202 (great catch jaclaz!), I think RLoew pinpointed perfectly the point of MS's statements: both fdisk and format relay on the support of the BIOS for 48-bit LBA, they don't provide it themselves. So, provided there is support by the BIOS, fdisk can create partitions up to 512 GB in size, not more, and that's "by design". And they point you to Symantec's gdisk, if you want to create larger partitions...

The Ranish Partition Manager and RLoew's RFDISK and RFORMAT are other viable alternatives for DOS and Win 9x/ME. And MS does not state which is the maximum partition size that FORMAT can format correctly, despite showing wrong numbers during the operation. But what's known at present permits the inference it's also around, if not exactly, 512 GB.

@jaclaz: BTW, #4 seems to be one of the possible readings of the second paragraph of the resolution section of KB280737, but I don't think it's what was meant to be read from it...

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@jaclaz: BTW, #4 seems to be one of the possible readings of the second paragraph of the resolution section of KB280737, but I don't think it's what was meant to be read from it...

Sure, but I don't see the connection with Me (in the sense of ME only).

Sometimes (read, as you prefer as "often" or "always") MS KB/docs are written in a "cryptic" way, without providing the "real information" or doing so in such a way that each single word need to be weighted, or without a clear explanation, as an example:

http://neosmart.net/blog/2007/bootsectexe-modifies-the-bootsector-not-the-mbr/

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc749177(WS.10).aspx

but it doesn't seem to me like this is the case.

As I see it, what MS says is:

  1. DO NOT USE FDISK (latest version for 98/Me) to create partitions larger than 512 Gb, as the utility was NOT designed to do this
  2. ANYTHING above 128 Gb results in "a suffusion of yellow" UNLESS the particular PC BIOS supports 48-LBA addressing

Whilst #2 is without any doubt true, and also verified, #1 needs experimentations, as an example, it is possible that partitions bigger than that can be created but they result, once FORMAT is used on them, in incorrect data in the bootsector, like wrong number of FAT tables, wrong number of hidden sectors, wrong something that may go unnoticed until you actually try and check EVERY aspect of the created partition/filesystem.

And again this problem may be something that it takes 5 seconds to fix with a hex/disk editor or something that needs a more complex patch.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz
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I ran some tests on the following versions:

98SE FDISK Original

98SE FDISK Q263044 Update

ME FDISK Original

98SE FORMAT original

ME FORMAT Original

FDISK itself is limited to ~512GiB. Above 512GiB it wraps around, so a 600GiB drive would only be partitioned to 88GiB.

FORMAT will work with Partititons up to ~1TB. Above 1TB a divide error occurs.

All versions behaved similarly.

Edited by rloew
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Thanks a lot, RLoew! You rock! :thumbup

I think your tests settle the OP questions.

Yet, as you seem to be the only one of us to have conditions to perform such tests, I'd ask you to perform one more test with FORMAT (let's say just the Win ME version), at your convenience, of course, to settle also the question left open by Marius '95 original thread (link)... Marius '95 used a RAID 0 from two WD5000AAJB, that should have a full capacity of 1,000,215,724,032 bytes = 931.52 GiB, considering the official value of 976,773,168 sectors per drive, found in WD document 2879-001146. He was unable to format it, but it could be ascribed to partitioning probles previous to the actual formatting... So my question is: can FORMAT actually format 1 TB exactly (= 931.32 GiB)?

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So... it seems (ref. 48-bit support in BIOS) -

1 - another partitioning method other than FDISK needs used

?or is it NO-Partitioning-Software>~512GiB if NO BIOS SUPPORT?

according to jaclaz, only FDISK is affected (above query...) so...

?No BIOS Support: Max=128 / BIOS Support: Max=512 Only FDISK?...

(...and still need the MBR correctly created?)

2 - FORMAT will format them, up to ~1TB only if BIOS Support (according to both)

Correct? :unsure:

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Well... yes. DOS relies on BIOS. If the BIOS doesn't support 48-bit LBA one can:

(I) update the BIOS from the manufacturer (if available), or using an unofficial modded BIOS (if available),

for free or (II) update the BIOS from eSupport.com (if available) not for free, or (III) use RLoew's DDO (not for free), or (IV) use an add-on HDD controller (say, from Promise), instead of the motherboard's ports, or (V) dump the motherboard and move-on to another one (probably used) that supports 48-bit LBA (this is probably the most work-intensive alternative), or (VI) decide one can live with the 137 GB limit.

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Thanks a lot, RLoew! You rock! :thumbup

I think your tests settle the OP questions.

Yet, as you seem to be the only one of us to have conditions to perform such tests, I'd ask you to perform one more test with FORMAT (let's say just the Win ME version), at your convenience, of course, to settle also the question left open by Marius '95 original thread (link)... Marius '95 used a RAID 0 from two WD5000AAJB, that should have a full capacity of 1,000,215,724,032 bytes = 931.52 GiB, considering the official value of 976,773,168 sectors per drive, found in WD document 2879-001146. He was unable to format it, but it could be ascribed to partitioning probles previous to the actual formatting... So my question is: can FORMAT actually format 1 TB exactly (= 931.32 GiB)?

I ran the tests using a 2TB Hard Drive so I was not limited to 1TB. I tested the original Windows 98SE FORMAT using 1018.83GiB = 1,093,962,207,744 Bytes which is more than Marius' Raid System.

1 - another partitioning method other than FDISK needs used

?or is it NO-Partitioning-Software>~512GiB if NO BIOS SUPPORT?

according to jaclaz, only FDISK is affected (above query...) so...

?No BIOS Support: Max=128 / BIOS Support: Max=512 Only FDISK?...

(...and still need the MBR correctly created?)

BIOS support, if run from DOS, or Windows support, if run from Windows, is mandatory for any Partitioner using Motherboard INT 13 Calls.

The only exception is if the Partitioner supports raw Disk I/O itself, such as my RFDISK, or if you use a PCI card that has it's own BIOS.

Without 48-Bit LBA support, FDISK and other Partitioners will correctly create the MBR but any Logical Partition or Next Extended Partition Record will be placed in the first 128GiB even if the Partitioner thinks it is placing it above the limit. Reading back the record is affected in the same way, so everything will seem OK. You can reload the Partitioner and it will show you exactly what Partitions you thought you created.

If you use such a Partitioned Disk in the orignal system, everything will seem fine until data written in one 128GiB Block overwrites data in another 128Gib Block.

If you move the Hard Drive to a 48-Bit LBA aware setup, the Partitions starting above 128GiB will disappear.

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