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fat32x on my win95 drive, can i convert it???

Posted on 1998-01-27
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
I have a compaq prolinia 4/50 system with a 1.2 GB Conner drive running Win95 OSR2.  When I set up that computer i used a Win95 OSR2 "dos" disk to FDISK and FORMAT the hard drive.  After installing Win95 and most apps I decided I wanted to partition the drive differently and my partiton magic (newest ver) says that partition is FAT32x and all of the options usually available to me are dimmed out.  Assuming everything I said is true, how did my drive get setup with a FAT32x partition and can I convert it to a different type of partition.  One more thing... I did re-fdisk/re-format the drive and it comes up the same way.  Could it have something to do with the 2MB compaq diagnostic partition?
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Question by:markf
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by:Future
ID: 1753887
When you Fdisked the drive, did you answer "yes" to "large disk support?"  This would set the drive format to FAT32.  The 2 MB compaq diagnostic partition should not faze Partition Magic at all.

Partition Magic should have an option to convert FAT32 to FAT16.  You can either use that, or try reformatting from scratch, but answer No to the first question that pops up when you run Fdisk.
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by:markf
ID: 1753888
partition magic does have an option to convert from fat32->fat16 but, even though it can "see" the fat32x partition, it does not allow any options to do anything with it.  And I have reformatted the drive, even re-fdisked it, but it's still seen as fat32x.
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by:aszure
ID: 1753889
Yes you can but it will cost a bit. The only way that I know of is use partition magic and go to (I think) the advanced options and DISABLE the fat 32 support. Then resize the clusters to 8K or 16K. There is a possibility that you have to reformat the partition. I was able to though with out reformatting. If you dont disable the FAT32 then it will always make the partition FAT32. The option is there but I cant remember exactly where it was. I think that it is under the advanced options though.
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by:markf
ID: 1753890
As mentioned in earlier post, most/all options are dimmed out including the advanced options.  It's as if partition magic doesn't know how to work with this partition so it won't give you options to do so either.
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by:dew_associates
ID: 1753891
Markf: Compaq uses a proprietary hard drive interface and a Bios mask. You can get behind that, but it's going to take some work, as Compaq used WD, Seagate and a few others for their drives. You'll need to pull the cover and look at the drive to determine which make and model. Once that's done, I can tell you where to get the low level formatter for it to blow out the mask and the partition. Make sure that that is what you want though as there's no turning back once it's done.

Now, there were some Prolinea models that were not proprietary and which can be changed easily. Insert the Windows startup disk in the floppy drive and boot to it.

At the dos prompt, type fdisk. Windows will ask you if you want LBA, your reply is no. Remove the partition and then reinsert one, then format the drive normally. If this works, you don't need the drive info. If it doesn't, let me know, provide the info and I'll post where to get the appropriate low level formatter.
Dennis
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by:markf
ID: 1753892
this particular drive is a newer one I installed.  Its a Conner CFS1275A (1.2 GB) drive that I partitioned into a C & D drive.  I also installed the compaq diagnostic partition as well.  I have re-fdisk/re-formatted twice in the past with the same results.
My main goal is to be able to convert what I have over to FAT32 now that everything is installed.

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by:dew_associates
ID: 1753893
Markf: As long as that diagnostic partition remains, you can't change the file allocation table. Aside from the fact that it is a diagnostic partition, it is also a Bios mask for the hard drive. I'm sorry I didn't make that more clear. To my knowledge there's no way to take that partition out without a low level formatter.
Dennis
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by:nebworth
ID: 1753894
  While we're on the subject, how different is FAT32x from FAT32?  (feeling like I'm asking stupid question)...
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by:nebworth
ID: 1753895
  As long as they're not too different, you can use Norton Diskedit to change the FAT32x partition to FAT32.  I did this once (on a whim)...  as far as I could tell, nothing happened.
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by:Christian_Wiehl
ID: 1753896
According to the Fat32 converter in Win98, you cannot convert from a FAT32 partition back to a FAT16. You'd have to backup your data, repartition, reformat, and restore your data. :\
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by:dew_associates
ID: 1753897
Guys, your not bothering to read markf's comments. He has partition magic, which should be able to convert either way, however the options are greyed out. According to a tech at powerquest, that mask has to come out!
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by:Future
ID: 1753898
Many HD manufacturers offer IDE low-level formatters, if markf is interested.  This would delete the Compaq partition and completely clean up his hard drive.  I believe what these "low level formatters" actually do is just write 0's to every byte of the disk on a sector by sector basis rather than on the basis of the DOS format.  I've used them before and they generally help when nothing else does.
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by:smeebud
ID: 1753899
markf,
 At this point a unconditional format I believe is requires for you to set your HD the way you want it.

Format /u will write 0's to your harddrive.

Then you can start from there.
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by:nebworth
ID: 1753900
 I was getting the impression that the problem was this:  Partition magic allows you to use all the options for FAT32, but not for FAT32x, so Markf was at least trying to go from one to the other...  Certainly you do not need to low-level format a drive to remove a partition.  FDISK will remove partitions just fine.
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by:nebworth
ID: 1753901
  No, this isn't about removing the data.  The partition type is actually set to FAT32x as opposed to being set to FAT32.  And whenever marfk repartions the drive, it still get set as FAT32x.
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by:nebworth
ID: 1753902
 How about this as a worst case.  Partition as FAT16, and then use Partition Magic to convert to FAT32?
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by:dew_associates
ID: 1753903
Geeez Nebworth, do you ever bother reading the posts!
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by:smeebud
ID: 1753904
Hey nebworth,
Partition Magic is all through this dialog:))
gotta read....gotta read

No fire just fun

Regards
Bud
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by:markf
ID: 1753905
I believe dew_associates intially answered this by saying I couldn't convert this and why not.  From what I've learned here and other places I now believe this to be true.  If dew_associates reanswers this I will award points to him first.
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by:nebworth
ID: 1753906
 I did read, that's why I said it!  If whenever markf uses fdisk to create a partition, it automatically creates a FAT32x partition, maybe by creating a FAT16 partition and converting it, Partition Magic will create a FAT32 (NOT FAT32x) partition.  Does that make any sense at all?  I was getting the impression that Partition Magic CAN perform the operations markf needs on a FAT32 partion but not on a FAT32x partition.
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dew_associates earned 200 total points
ID: 1753907
Thanks Markf! I'll post this as the answer rather than repeating everything.  Believe me, if there was a way of doing this without having to literally destroy your install, I would have found it. There is one possibility though, but you will need a second *empty* hard drive and you won't be able to install the diagnostic partition. Format a second drive and make a clean windows 95 backup to it. Blow out the partitions in the "C" drive and format it as Fat 16 and then install a very basic Windows 95 there with the backup feature installed. Then, restore your original settings from the backup.
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by:agr
ID: 1753908
Powerquest (the makers of Partition Magic) recognise there is a problem with their product and FAT32x althought they are being very slow at fixing it.

Fat32X refers to the boot record being placed at the end of the partition rather than the beginning. This provides support for large disk drives. Check out Dejanews for other comments
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by:gabriele
ID: 1753909
The truth about FAT32 and FAT32X:

FAT32 (Partition Number 0xB) and FAT32X (PN 0xC) differ in that FAT32 places the boot sector at the beginning of the partition, while FAT32X places it anywhere it feels like it, but the default is at the end of the partition. For MS fdisk, and Windows 95-98 installers, FAT32 is the default for partitions <7.9 GB and FAT32X for partitions >= 8 GB. The FAT32 (both flavors) support moving the boot sector, but if you have software that moves the boot sector from the from of the partition to anywhere else, you must change the PN from 0xB to 0xC so as to alert others of this.

PARTITION MAGIC:
Currently, PM does not support FAT32X. It should shortly, as powerquest has said. This means that you can only delete a FAT32X partition.

GHOST:
Currently does not support FAT32X. 5.0 which supposedly will come out shortly (a month or so) will theoretically support FAT32X and you should be able to image a FAT32X partition to a FAT16 and/or FAT32 partition (not sure of this).

TRANSFER EZ:
ITS System's "Transfer EZ" application supposedly allows interconversion of FAT32 and FAT32X. Never tried it, but who knows.

WINDWOS 98 DRIVE CONVERTER:
Currently a one-way street to FAT32. It decides whether to make it FAT32 or FAT32X. Not much flexibility. I have not heard of plans to change it even though a while back there was documentation which stated that it would be a two-way street. I think that that plan was abandoned.

YOUR OPTIONS:
Get Transfer EZ, change the partition to FAT32, use Partition Magic and shrink it down to size. (Please let me know if it works).

OR

Wait for an update to Partition Magic or Ghost and then just follow the instructions.

COMMENT:
Compaq Computer's Installer CD's are notoriously proprietary and inflexible. Unfortunately, if you have their proprietary hardware and/or main board, your installation choices are restricted because Compaq will not release drivers to users. Setting up a non-Compaq-OEM OS on your computer is possible, but be prepared to spend hours (I speak from experience).

DISCLAIMER:
I do not know anything. Everything I say is pure conjecture from the mouth of a fool. If you think I am right, verify it with another source prior to accepting it.
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by:jnkelly
ID: 1753910
You can find some interesting information about the purpose and implementation of FAT32X at http://lance.advantweb.com/fat32x/. Also available is a utility that reportedly converts FAT32X to FAT32; I have not (yet) tested this utility, so I can offer no assurances as to its safety or effectiveness.
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by:smeebud
ID: 1753911
Hi Dennis,
Ya never know where you're gonna show up:::))

Bud
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