Format 400GB External HD with FAT32

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by EGeorge, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. EGeorge

    EGeorge Junior Member

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    Anyone know how to format a 400GB external HD with FAT32?
    Windows XP will only do 32GB. Partition Magic wont do it either.

    Any ideas?
     
  2. imported_Kensai

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    I haven't had to format with Fat32 for a while, so I can't help you. Good question though.
     
  3. ShadowBlade

    ShadowBlade Diamond Member

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    welcome to AT
    Text
     
  4. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

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    Hmm. I generally use Partition Commander (From V-Com), to set up partitions, but it is on a bootable CD. Normally, to get those external USB removable HDs seen by DOS, you need to load some DOS drivers first, so.. it might be a PITA to have to hack up the CD layout image, and re-burn a version specifically for those things. What about connecting it to a Linux box, and using 'cfdisk' or something on that? Then after you get the partition layouts done, use a different tool to format them. You could even use Ghost 2003 for that, assuming that you prepared a bootable floppy properly with the DOS USB drivers - you could Ghost up a small FAT32 partition, and then restore that image to the USB HD, and tell Ghost to enlarge the destination partition to take up all of that space.
     
  5. airfoil

    airfoil Golden Member

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  6. John

    John Moderator Emeritus<br>Elite Member

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    Another option is to start from a Microsoft Windows 98 or Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me) Startup disk and use the Format tool included on the disk.
     
  7. sparkyclarky

    sparkyclarky Platinum Member

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    A Mac will format the drive with one large FAT32 partition. My mini had no problems formatting my 300GB external drive as FAT32 (needed for easy/free interoperability with windows).

    It's unfortunate that companies don't ease restrictions on their file system formats so others can include them for the sake of convenience. I'd dig being able to easily use mac formatted disks on windows (no 3rd party pay to use programs need apply) and NTFS disks on Macs. Simple read ability doesn't cut it - to be truly useful writes have to be enabled.
     
  8. VirtualLarry

    VirtualLarry Lifer

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    How is that a solution, if the user wants to use FAT32 (to make it compatible with other systems, since it is removable storage)?

    From that link:
    "Note the following limitations when you use the FAT32 file system with Windows XP: ... The maximum disk size is approximately 8 terabytes ... Windows XP can mount and support FAT32 volumes larger than 32 GB"

    So WinXP has no problems with larger FAT32 volumes, you just can't use it to partition/format them, you have to use another tool to do so.
     
  9. Jiggz

    Jiggz Diamond Member

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    Partition Commander! Except you have to dismount the external drive from its enclosure and connect it as a slave to an existing Windows system and then boot with Partition commander! After partition and format, then replace it in its enclosure.
     
  10. harrkev

    harrkev Senior member

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    Divide the drive up into a number fo 32-GB partitions.

    Thirteen should do the trick.

    If this is a primary HD, you will have drive letters from C to O.

    Add Alcohol 120% to add 10 virtual CD drives (assuming one real optical drive), and add two floppies, and you have EVERY DRIVE LETTER used. Cool! :thumbsup:

    **EDIT**
    All kidding aside, you can get multiple 32GB partitions. You may be limited to one primary and four extended. That would still leave a WHOLE lot of space for NTFS, EXT2, EXT3, ReiserFS, etc.
     
  11. NightTrain

    NightTrain Platinum Member

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    That's what I do. I have a Win98 startup CD with alot of different utilities on it.
     
  12. DotheDamnTHing

    DotheDamnTHing Platinum Member

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  13. EGeorge

    EGeorge Junior Member

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    Will a 98 or ME startup disk recognize the external drive or do you remove it from the enclosure?
    NTFS is not an option as I need the compatibility.

    I don't know anything about Linux but do know some people with MACS so I can get one if them to format it for me if MACS will do it.

    I think I'll pass on the boatload of 32GB partitions. :)

    I'd rather not remove from its enclosure as it is still under warranty and I don't want to void it.
     
  14. harrkev

    harrkev Senior member

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    If you really need compatability, then you should stick to 32GB partitions. Even if a Mac CAN do it, Win98 might have problems with it. There are articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base documenting problems with partitions greater than 32GB. I think that 64GB is the hard limit on FAT32, though. You might be able to get away with a partition that size.

    You can have a couple of partitions, though. How much space do you really need?

    Don't forget that FAT32 was invented with Windows 95. So FAT32 is over ten years old. Back then, a 1GB drive was considered to be a lot.
     
  15. JackMDS

    JackMDS Super Moderator<BR>Elite Member
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    NTFS will be a better choice but some times ?life? dictates that some thing else should be done

    If planned correctly it probably can be done (I never did it with 400GB, but it works well with 250GB).

    You need to have a drive that can be taken out of the USB enclosure and be connected temporarily as a regular IDE drive.

    Assuming that you have a legal Win98 source.

    Format a floppy and put the Win98 boot system on it, copy to the floppy format.com fdisk.com

    Open a computer and put temporally the Drive as a regular IDE drive.

    Boot from the floppy and start fdisk. Ignore that numbers that are reported and fdisk the drive into two disks (200GB each) as plain drives.

    After FDISK use format.com to format both drives and place it back into the enclosure.

    :sun:
     
  16. sparkyclarky

    sparkyclarky Platinum Member

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    My mac mini had no problem formatting my 300 GB Maxtor connected via firewire as one large FAT32 partition. Just use the disk utility included in OSX (i'm running 10.3.8) and you're golden.
     
  17. Budman

    Budman Lifer

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    Have you tried creating a 32 gig partition and then try to resize it to full using pqmagic?

    Or did pqmagic just plain didnt work?
     
  18. EGeorge

    EGeorge Junior Member

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    I'll give that a shot Budman. I'll be at the jobsite where I have access to Partition Magic on Wednesday and I'll give it a whirl.

    Thanks.

     
  19. Jiggz

    Jiggz Diamond Member

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    It only take two screws to dismount the hdd. And nobody can tell you even opened it.
     
  20. Spikesoldier

    Spikesoldier Diamond Member

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    "You cannot create a file larger than (2^32)-1 bytes (this is one byte less than 4 GB) on a FAT32 partition."

    that sucks sorry ill stay with NTFS
     
  21. ND40oz

    ND40oz Golden Member

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    I did a 60 gig external in fat32. Used the fdisk way with the format command. I used an optiplex GX280 system cd as it loads the usb drivers and allows me to see the external harddrive from dos, but I'm assuming any win98 boot cd that has the usb drivers in it should work and you have to have a system that supports booting from usb devices, I think.

    I needed the 60 gig in fat32 so I could use altiris to image off of it. Works much better than swapping out cds.
     
  22. sparkyclarky

    sparkyclarky Platinum Member

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    Yeah, you're limited on file size pretty heavily, which can be a drag if you're into DV type stuff.

    Unfortunately, FAT32 is one of the only, if not the only option for true free cross os/platform compatibility with reads/writes. It's usable by Linux, Windows, and OSX, which covers most of the market.
     
  23. EGeorge

    EGeorge Junior Member

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    My main use is I ghost clients machines before I work on them so I have a fallback if anything goes wrong. Ghost breaks files up into 2 Gig blocks so the 4 GB file size is not an issue for me.