Win XP install won't let me format w/FAT

Tash

Senior member
Apr 20, 2001
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Here's the situation: I had this drive formatted with NTFS. Now I want to format it with FAT32. I boot to the win xp cd and delete all partitions, then create one partition for the whole drive. But when it gives me choices to format it, it gives me NTFS quick format, or NTFS slow format, but no choices for FAT32. How come? How can I format it w/FAT32?
 

Smilin

Diamond Member
Mar 4, 2002
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Use a 30Gig partition or less. It's a limitation of Format in XP. It also happens to be a deliberate limitation. If you want to work around it you'll need to use a dos disk or something to perform the format.


You would really be wise to use NTFS instead.
 

Netopia

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
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Actually it's a 32GB limitation. MS is trying to get all of us to convert to NTFS.

Joe
 

Nothinman

Elite Member
Sep 14, 2001
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FAT is deprecated, unless you need to access the drive from an OS that doesn't support NTFS you should avoid using FAT.
 

monzie

Senior member
Oct 28, 2003
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With XP you cannot convert NTFS to FAT with anything supplied in the OS or via the XP install CD (full)....AFAIK its a one way only conversion FAT to NTFS is OK.... but not NTFS to FAT.

And, as already stated, the maximum FAT partition allowed via a XP install is 32gig (but will do multiples).

If your not afraid to wipe your HDD use a 98/ME boot disk and use its FDISK function....XP/XP install CD's DO NOT HAVE *FDISK*. XP does not fully wipe a HDD.

Also you could try using a utility floppy from your HDD manu (they all do them) and do a low level format (LLF) then format in your chosen FS.
 

Nothinman

Elite Member
Sep 14, 2001
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XP full wipes a disk just as much as fdisk/format in Win9X does, and a LLF wouldn't help at all because the problem is a built-in XP limitation.
 

monzie

Senior member
Oct 28, 2003
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Hmmm....me finks where both half right (or half wrong...depending on how you look at it).

Heres the explanation from M$ (covers w2k and xp):

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;Q250456

To put it in simple terms you cannot reformat XP to FAT with XP installed you need to fully remove XP' hence a LLF (I'm right) but you CAN reformat via the recovery console AFTER XP is removed via a full xp cd........ mebbe next time eh?

:)
 

MrChad

Lifer
Aug 22, 2001
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Originally posted by: monzie
Hmmm....me finks where both half right (or half wrong...depending on how you look at it).

Heres the explanation from M$ (covers w2k and xp):

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;Q250456

To put it in simple terms you cannot reformat XP to FAT with XP installed you need to fully remove XP' hence a LLF (I'm right) but you CAN reformat via the recovery console AFTER XP is removed via a full xp cd........ mebbe next time eh?

:)

Um, where exactly in the article you referenced does it say "you cannot reformat XP to FAT with XP installed"? I read "To remove the NTFS file system, reformat the hard disk to use the FAT or FAT32 file system." All you really need to do is FDISK, reset the master boot record and format with FAT32. No LLF involved.
 

Nothinman

Elite Member
Sep 14, 2001
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I think you're misunderstanding the problem. He has a drive (not the system drive) that he wants to delete all the partition on to create one big FAT partition. He was able to delete the partitions and create the big, new one just fine but when he goes to format it the only option is NTFS. And the reason this is happening is because MS limited the format executable to 32G partitions if you choose FAT, if you choose NTFS you can make it as big as you want.

And to fully remove XP you don't need a LLF, all you need is to delete the partition XP and it's boot files were on.
 

monzie

Senior member
Oct 28, 2003
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?

The XP cd does not have FDISK, as I said in my first post (LLF was one option....FDISK the other).



The full M$ says:

Removing NTFS Drives
To remove the NTFS file system, reformat the hard disk to use the FAT or FAT32 file system.

You can do this by using the Recovery Console tool on the Windows 2000 CD-ROM if your computer supports a bootable CD-ROM or by using the four Windows 2000 Startup disks. Reformatting or repartitioning a disk deletes all the data on it, so make sure you back up your data.

To use Recovery Console to reformat a drive, follow these steps:
Start the computer by using the Windows 2000 CD-ROM or the Startup disks.
When the "Welcome to Setup" screen is displayed, press F10.
In Recovery Console, choose the appropriate installation and log on by using your Administrator password.
Type map, and then press ENTER.
Note the drive you want to reformat.

NOTE: The drive letters may be different in Recovery Console than in Windows 2000.
Type format x: /fs:fat32, where x is the letter of the drive you want to format and FAT32 is the file system you want to use.
Type y to confirm your choice. When the formatting process is finished, type exit to restart the computer.

.................................

So you agree that you need FDISK as per my FIRST post?
<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>

To use FDISK (from a 98/ME boot floppy)

Boot to the Windows 98 boot disk.

At the DOS prompt, type FDISK and select large hard drive support (answer "Y") and then remove the
non-DOS partition.

Reboot the system to the 98 disk again, but this time "with CD ROM drive support, and again load Fdisk. Again select large hard drive support.

Create a primary partition and make it active.

Reboot to the 98 disk again then run this command

Format C:

Now install

.....................

forgot to mention you CAN use the 6 XP floppys dloaded from M$ (four for w2k) instead of the Recovery Console.
 

MrChad

Lifer
Aug 22, 2001
13,507
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81
All FDISK does is add/remove partitions. From the XP CD (in recover console), you can use the DISKPART command. (Text)

Diskpart manages partitions on hard disk volumes. The /add option creates a new partition. The /delete option deletes an existing partition. The variable device is the device name for a new partition (such as \device\harddisk0). The variable drive is the drive letter for a partition that you are deleting (for example, D). Partition is the partition-based name for a partition that you are deleting, (for example: \device\harddisk0\partition1) and can be used instead of the drive variable. The variable size is the size, in megabytes, of a new partition.
 

EeyoreX

Platinum Member
Oct 27, 2002
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Windows XP can not format a drive over 32GB in the FAT filesystem. Period. Windows XP can read FAT formated filesystems up to the FAT filesystem maximum size that was created elsewhere. There is no need (not to mention you can not) low-level format a hard dirve. Though you are correct that a Windows 98 boot disk will allow you to format your drive to FAT32 in larger sizes. Why do a so-called LLF is beyond me.

\Dan
 

Smilin

Diamond Member
Mar 4, 2002
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Just to be clear:
It does not take a LLF to remove XP. Period.

The post placed 4 minutes after the original question has your answer (although yes, 32GB is the limit, not 30GB).


Monzie you need to give Nothinman all of your base. They belong to him.
 

Tash

Senior member
Apr 20, 2001
552
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is the procedure using the Recovery Console only good with Win 2000, or also Win XP?
 

Tash

Senior member
Apr 20, 2001
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I guess I should just move on. I come from a family of die hards. My parents refuse to use ATMs. and they watched black-and-white TV's until 1992. I myself am a COBOL programmer. I really don't know why we need screens and mouses, anyway. Those keypunches had a nice, loud, definite sound to them. You felt powerful at each keystroke. But then, I'm getting carried away. NTFS it is!! Thanks guys. I feel a sense of cosmic relief.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,329
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Originally posted by: Tash
I guess I should just move on. I come from a family of die hards. My parents refuse to use ATMs. and they watched black-and-white TV's until 1992. I myself am a COBOL programmer. I really don't know why we need screens and mouses, anyway. Those keypunches had a nice, loud, definite sound to them. You felt powerful at each keystroke. But then, I'm getting carried away. NTFS it is!! Thanks guys. I feel a sense of cosmic relief.

Hey, if you like nice loud keyboards with good feedback, get an IBM Model M keyboard (or a Trackpoint II like I have). I guarantee you won't be disappointed. :)

PS. A Win98se boot disk works wonders for FDISK/FORMAT of FAT32 partitons. Don't be afraid of FAT32, and don't listen to the MS proprietary-filesystem propegandists. If (or more likely, when) Windows' screws up, FAT32 is much easier to repair by hand, if need be.
 

Nothinman

Elite Member
Sep 14, 2001
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Don't be afraid of FAT32, and don't listen to the MS proprietary-filesystem propegandists

It's no propaganda, FAT sucks.

If (or more likely, when) Windows' screws up, FAT32 is much easier to repair by hand, if need be.

And when it screws up FAT is much more likely to lose your data completely.
 

VirtualLarry

No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
56,329
10,042
126
Originally posted by: Nothinman
Don't be afraid of FAT32, and don't listen to the MS proprietary-filesystem propegandists

It's no propaganda, FAT sucks.

This is true. But, from a manual-repair perspective, it "sucks less" than a proprietary filesystem.

Originally posted by: Nothinman
If (or more likely, when) Windows' screws up, FAT32 is much easier to repair by hand, if need be.

And when it screws up FAT is much more likely to lose your data completely.

Not true, it's actually quite recoverable, as long as you don't have something that did a bulk-overwrite of user data sectors on the disk, in which case your data would be hosed no matter what filesystem was used.

Granted, my perspective on this may be slightly biased, because I prefer to keep my data in "open" (well, at least documented) filesystem formats (no matter how crappy they may be). I've had to (and have sucessfully) recovered corrupted FAT32 volumes, on my own machine and others. If they were NTFS volumes, I'm not sure where to begin. Plus, FAT32 is far more flexible. You can store Ghost image chunks on a FAT32 volume, and access them via a Ghost boot floppy. You can't do that with an NTFS volume.

I'm just trying to point out that FAT32:
1) Does not universally suck, although it has its limitations on security and performance, and
2) Has its advantages as well, especially in a multi-boot or data-recovery situation.

FAT is not nearly as obsolete as people might be trained by MS to think it is, for example, many digital cameras use FAT as the filesystem on their memory cards. USB memory sticks too. (Although I think that W2K/XP can also format those as NTFS if needed.)
 

Nothinman

Elite Member
Sep 14, 2001
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Not true, it's actually quite recoverable, as long as you don't have something that did a bulk-overwrite of user data sectors on the disk, in which case your data would be hosed no matter what filesystem was used.

The fact still remains that a journaled filesystem is much less likely to have problems at all.

You can store Ghost image chunks on a FAT32 volume, and access them via a Ghost boot floppy. You can't do that with an NTFS volume.

Sure you can, if you do it right.

FAT is not nearly as obsolete as people might be trained by MS to think it is, for example, many digital cameras use FAT as the filesystem on their memory cards. USB memory sticks too. (Although I think that W2K/XP can also format those as NTFS if needed.)

Of course they use FAT for those, the devices are so small that using NTFS would waste 10% of the filesystem because of the size of the MFT and journal.
 

EeyoreX

Platinum Member
Oct 27, 2002
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FAT is not nearly as obsolete as people might be trained by MS to think it is, for example, many digital cameras use FAT as the filesystem on their memory cards. USB memory sticks too. (Although I think that W2K/XP can also format those as NTFS if needed.)
I don't think anyone said FAT was obsolete. They did say FAT was not as good as NTFS. And it isn't a good number of times. And there is an exceedingly simple reason why memory cards, USB thumb drives and the like are formatted in FAT vs NTFS. Removable media can not be formatted using the NTFS file system.

\Dan
 

n0cmonkey

Elite Member
Jun 10, 2001
42,936
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Originally posted by: EeyoreX
FAT is not nearly as obsolete as people might be trained by MS to think it is, for example, many digital cameras use FAT as the filesystem on their memory cards. USB memory sticks too. (Although I think that W2K/XP can also format those as NTFS if needed.)
I don't think anyone said FAT was obsolete. They did say FAT was not as good as NTFS. And it isn't a good number of times. And there is an exceedingly simple reason why memory cards, USB thumb drives and the like are formatted in FAT vs NTFS. Removable media can not be formatted using the NTFS file system.

\Dan

I like to say FAT is obsolete. :)

And with removable media, Windows isn't the only OS that uses them. I'm not sure if Mac OS X reads NTFS yet or not.