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Need help.  Win2k installation question.

There is something that I have been putting off, and wonder what the answer is.

I have Win2k installed on my computer in the first 2 GB of the C drive partition.  It is essentially a DOS 16 bit partition.

Once I tried to extend it beyond 2GB and it didn't work, and also could not be converted back.

I re-installed it, may have had two choices (on the FAT type, but it said it intially must install as FAT [did not specify FAT16 or Fat32] but chose the wrong one (cryptic DOS screen) ?

So for the last half-year I lived with about 100 MB less than 2GB on my C drive.  My assumption was that BIOS can only see the first 2 GB before an OS is loaded.

Please tell me I am a dork, and there is a way around this.  I remember a teacher saying that Linux had to be booted on the first 2 GB, but that can be gotten around more easily if true. 

Any advice? 

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

What  I presume has happened is that the disk was not formatted so the first time you installed W2K it formattted the first 2GB only, so in effect you've probably got a hard disk with one 2GB partition, and the rest as unformatted space.

There are BIOS or other  limits, all of which are normally overcome, and none of them ocurr at 2GB. They ocurr at 512MB, 8GB, 32GB and 112GB, if my memory serves me right, and there are easy round all of them. To check what the BIOS sees, press the correct key at start up, it will normally be DEL but the message will flash on the screen. Enter standard CMOS set up and you will see it, though in fact you should be able to see the disk capacity on the screenanyway when the machine boots up on.

My advice is to get Partition Magic and repartition using that. There are freeware utilities that will do the same but they require some expertise and somehow I don't thik this is your forte.

If you can get your data off easily, or don't care about it, you can save money by simply wiping the disk clean using a DOS boot disk (get one from http://www.bootdisk.com ) and running fdisk and then reformatting to FAT32, or I think you can leave the disk unformatted and let Win2K fomrat it to NTFS when it installs).

One last thing. Please say you are a programmer.

We are so used to adivice on this thread that goes "Well if you can't get a developer job there is always cleaning out the toilets at Macdonalds, or if you aren't qualified for that then you can do hardware support or develop Access databases", that it would really do the ego good to know that once in our life we have been of use to one of the Gods.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Thanks for the quick reply, Stephen.  I will try the FAT32 format w/system commander.  I may have left it as FAT16.

I didn't wan't NTFS because I don't understand how, If I save something as NTFS, it will work on, say Win '98.  Is this true?

"One last thing. Please say you are a programmer."

You are right on the money there.  I like languages and rule-systems, but when it comes to mechanical and structural/technical, I can get stuck easily.  Which is why I decided to buy .net studio today.  I can try out some architectural things in the easiest environment possible, before switching to an open source way of doing it.

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

If you are going to be using a boot partition with linux, it needs to be before cylinder 1024.

punter
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Partition Magic is a great program and the documentation is wonderful as well.

I believe one of the BIOS limitations was 6gb... I believe it may be 2gb and 6gb beyond which certain OS's won't install. If it's an old computer, it may be 2gb.

You can split your partition into, say, 1.5gb and .5 gb and use the .5 as a secondary drive, reclaiming your space.... but for a hundred megabytes it might not be worth it.

www.marktaw.com
Thursday, May 22, 2003

As far as I remember the limit was only an NT 4 installer routine restriction, since it first formatted as FAT and only afterwards converted to NTFS. Even then you could have larger boot volumes by formatting the drive as NTFS first, e.g. in a differnt machine.
The Win2K installer has no such limitation.
Do not worry about your file "not working" on Win98. Files are logical constructs and abstract away from the actual physical storage. The only reason to keep using FAT on Win2K is for dual boot scenarios, but there are now also NTFS filesystems for 98.
http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/freeware/ntfswin98.shtml
Since FAT has no support for ACL's you loose all security.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, May 22, 2003

---" didn't wan't NTFS because I don't understand how, If I save something as NTFS, it will work on, say Win '98.  Is this true?"---

Win 98 cannot access a NTFS partition on  a local machine. Linux can read one, but I don't know  if you can write to it reliably yet. Over a network the file format is irrelevant since it is the network protocol that matters.

If you save a file on an NTFS partition and then transfer it to the other machine you will normally lose the NTFS permissions but the file will be perfectly readable as it will have been converted in order to make the transfer (to FAT12 if on a flloppy, to CDFS if on a CD, and to UDF if on a CD/RW).

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 22, 2003

"If you are going to be using a boot partition with linux, it needs to be before cylinder 1024. "----

LBA deals with this by ensuring that the number oF a cylinder never goes above 1023.

You may need to have the boot manager at the beginning of the disk, but the actual Linux installation can be anywhere you want. And I've always used a boot floppy to access Linux anyway.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Before you shell out on Partition Magic beware that it won't run on a system that (only?) has Win2k installed -- for that you need Server Magic.

Duncan Smart
Thursday, May 22, 2003

A floppy is FAT12, get out!  I never knew that.

Good replies, as always.  Here are some more details/lessons I picked up.

First of all, you are right (good point) about NTFS not really mattering.

I should Windows to try and convert to an NTFS (and then make a FAT16 or FAT32 partition somewhere else for my data that I want to share).

I have a small/tiny DOS partition on the first primary partition.  Win2k is on my second primary partition - system commander chose it to be FAT16 by default when I selected Win2k.

System Commander is on the boot partition's partition table at the very beginning of the hard drive.

The second route I will take will be to wipe the HD and NOT put DOS on the first partition (although it shouldn't matter) and put DOS on another primary or extended partition closer to the end of the HD.

A minor dissapointment is that DOS doesn't see the Win2k even though they are in the same first 2GB of HD space and both FAT16.

I will think more about what you guys said.  Yes, I came up w/the same thought about how a network could make the file system agnostic.  I never thought about a file being logical and not a physical concept. 

But then I assume the network operating system has to convert file formats to SMB (or NFS on Unix ) and then back again.  Or the Network File System is a separate idea and doesn't convert files whatsoever, but is just a format to send them in?!

You guys are the experts.  I always wonder about stuff like this.  I suppose it's somewhere out on the net already, but books seem to all be geared for newbies and the most basic basic material.

Sorry, if I am pestering you guys. :)

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

It sounds like you need to repartition/reformat using a FAT32 partition. So you need to answer a couple of questions:

How many GB is the drive?

How old is the BIOS and is it up to date?

How many OS's are you booting off the drive?

(I'm assuming you are working from a boot disk here)

The first step is to partition your drive using fdisk.

I use fdisk (Of course you can use the linux utilities also).  Fdisk is pretty intuitive. simply delete your old partition and create a new one of the size you want.  Fdisk will also inform you if the partition can use FAT32 or FAT16 according to it's size (make sure it's fat32).

( If you ever need to restore the master boot record because you have lilo or some other os loader installed just type fdisk /mbr. )

Now from a boot disk DOS prompt type: format /fs:fat32 /u

The /fs tells the format command to create a FAT32 file system and the /u tells the format command to format unconditionally (i.e. you will lose all of your data)

You should now be able to install Win2k.  Though everything I told you should be able to be accomplished within the Win2k installation.

Also note that when you create a partition its total size may not be what you specify due to sector/cylinder sizes and such.  For example when I format my 20GB hard disk with a fat32 partition approx. 8MB of the 20GB will be unused.

Also you I don't believe that when you convert a fat16 drive to a fat32 drive that it can be converted back.

If you still can't get it to work.  Check that your disk information in the BIOS is configured correctly.  Auto-detect is probably best.  Check that your BIOS is up to date and older than say ?1995/6/7?  Check that your hard drive is in fact bigger than 2GB. 

Anyway just my $0.02.

Dave B.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Marktaw,

.net alone says it needs a whopping 500MB, or half a gig, of system drive space.  That would be ouch.  I use an L lettered drive for most stuff, but somethings (.ini files) need to be on the WINNT folder of the C drive.

I know that DOS has an 8 GB partition maximum.  But I can stick that 8 GB partition anywhere, I figure, since system commander is my boot loader and well w/in any first 540MB or 2GB limit.

Whoa, okay I am reading your replies more carefully now. You answered my questions already.  Thanks! :))

That's weird, but interesting.  I'll format the whole drive in NTFS first, and install WIN2k on top.  Wow, clever thinking on your part.

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Dave B.,

I am using a 40 GB drive w/a 667 MHZ Pentium.

"Also you I don't believe that when you convert a fat16 drive to a fat32 drive that it can be converted back."

Thanks for the warning.  I would add that twice I let system commander convert the Win2k partition from FAT16 to FAT32.  Then System commander could no longer boot.  So I converted it back to FAT16 and it no longer worked, as you said, although the manual said it would work (oops).

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

"I'll format the whole drive in NTFS first, and install WIN2k on top."

If you are just going to run W2K, the installer can do that for you. No need to prepare, just boot of the CD.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, May 22, 2003

That was some cool stuff, Mark B.  If I am reading you correctly, I can format a FAT32 partition from Linux DOS. 

Cleaning out the boot record, now that is handy (to clean out System Commander, or a virus, or my KVM switch)

I never knew those things before.  Interesting!

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Partition Magic 7.0 works fine in W2K as long as you don't have a dynamic disk.

According to my Partition Magic 7.0 manual it will work with disks up to 80GB.

If you have an LBA enabled MBR, then you can install Win Me/2K/XP on a partiton larger than 8GB, that is to say the 1024 cylinder limit does not apply. I am not too sure with Linux, particularly since the HD manufacturers provide their own utilties for getting past the 8GB limit.

Lilo incidentally can be installed either in a Primary partition or the first logical drive on an extended partition.

If you have the Windows version of PM and wish to use it on a Linux machine, then you should create Rescue Discs to work from DOS. It is a good idea to do that anyway.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Brian,
          Why do you need to have a DOS partition in the first place? If you're just running 2K use the command shell, and use a floppy when you need to use real mode Dos.

            The 8GB limit is the boot sector limit, not the size of the partition. DOS 6.22 and earlier will only run on FAT16, and thus has a limit of 2GB, though you'd be pushed to fill it with DOS utilities. Later versions of DOS are not installable separately.

              Partition Magic 7.0 allows you to convert back from FAT32 to FAT16. I can think of few circumstances when you would want to now, and wouldn't wish to test it out, but it is do-abl, in theory. PM 7.0 even allows you to convert back from NTFS to FAT32 or FAT16, though with many caveats.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 22, 2003

"If you are just going to run W2K, the installer can do that for you. No need to prepare, just boot of the CD."

Thanks, Just Me.  I feel dumb now.  I was installing the Win2k boot disks first (System Commander wanted it that way), then the CD-ROM, and was puzzled why it wanted Win'98 since it's not supposed to be an upgrad version.

Now I can see that I should just wipe the drive and boot up from the win2k CD.  If it eat's up all the first 2GB, then I will have no place to put LiLo.  Although, technically, I have been using Linux on my other computer, and not also on this one, but it's an idea!

I like all of the important nuances you guys have found out.  I will consider it, and think it through.

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

"I have a small/tiny DOS partition on the first primary partition.  Win2k is on my second primary partition - system commander chose it to be FAT16 by default when I selected Win2k."

[...]

"A minor dissapointment is that DOS doesn't see the Win2k even though they are in the same first 2GB of HD space and both FAT16."

Right, because DOS can only see one primary partition at a time. If you wanted to be able to see the Win2K drive from DOS, it should've been put onto an extended partition.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Stephen,

Partition Magic and System Commander sound exacty alike.  Although I got my copy at a computer faire for only $12!

Brian R.
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Brian,

maybe http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/ntwrkstn/reskit/diskdesc.asp
can help you choose.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Sorry, I meant http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000pro/reskit/part3/proch17.asp?frame=true

The one above is the NT4 one.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, May 22, 2003

Ssytem Commander is a boot manager I thought. The equivalent Powerquest program is called Boot Magic.

Do beware of what you buy at computer fairs. You can see pirated stuff there passed off as genuine, so you break the law and get screwed into the bargain. However with the crazy pricing mechanism most software houses have you can find excellent "gray" market stuff.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, May 22, 2003

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