Can an 8GB Disk be Formatted as a Single NTFS Partition?

Posted on 1998-06-08
Last Modified: 2013-12-14
I would like to install NT Workstation v4.0 on a *single* 8GB partition.  (I know that smaller parititions are more efficient, but for my purposes I would prefer to have one large partition.)  The largest partition that I can format during the install of NT is 4GB, and I think that this is because the installer automatically creates a FAT partition which can't be larger than 4GB and then converts it to NTFS if necessary.  

So, what I was planning to do was to attach the disk to an existing NT machine and then format it as a single 8GB NTFS partition, and then reattach the disk to the original machine and then install NT on it without reformatting the partition.  Will this work? Is there an easier way?
Question by:magenta
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Author Comment

ID: 1768294

Yes, I need more info.  How do I *increase* the partition from the Disk Administrator?  I don't see this option/command anywhere.  


Expert Comment

ID: 1768295

You can't increase the partition size.  The only way round this is to create the NTFS partition before you install NT. NT will install to precreated partitions of any size.

If you have another disk in the machine, do a temporary (minimum) install to this disk.  Then use DA to create and format your 8GB partition on the first disk.  Then install NT again to the newly created 8GB partition.  Finally delete the temporary install of NT.

Alternatively, if you have another NT machine that you could temporarily move the hard disk into to format the 8GB then do it that way.

Another alternative would not give all the 8GB, but during install create a 7.8GB partition then a 200MB partition.  Install a temporary copy of NT to the 200MB partition.  Format the 7.8GB to NTFS.  Then reinstall NT to the 7.8, and delete the temporary NT on the 200MB.

Simple eh!
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1768296
The commercially-available software named
Partition Magic (
can "resize" partitions.
Be sure to download the patches
to upgrade to the Version 3.05 level,
if you are going to manipulate an NT partition.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1768297
The maximum partition size for FAT is 4.29 GB whereas the maximum size for NTFS
is 1.84E10 GB. If you could partition the drive first, then you could install NT onto
the partition size of your choice.

Try Partition Magic

Accepted Solution

jmcguir earned 50 total points
ID: 1768298
In answer to your question, yes the format then installation will work. However, I agree with everyone else. Partition Magic would make it easier. Keep in mind though, the latest version of this package that I've used must be run while booted from a DOS diskette. Read the documentation regarding NTFS partitions before spending money on this product. Otherwise, go with your first proposal.

Expert Comment

ID: 1768299
I agree with you solution of having it on a second machine, and installing NT there however there are several things to be wary of.

If you try to install NT on the drive AFTER moving it then you
will be in a loop. NT needs a small MS-DOS partition to start
with for working files and intial install. So I'd try to install
NT on the drive just after formating it on the temporary machine.

You should also be able to make the drive active at this
time. However you will have two NT entries when you reboot this
machine from this time on. This can be fixed by editing the file
boot.ini on the machine. Before removing the disk make sure the
new drive also has the files boot.ini, NTDETECT.COM and ntldr available.

The only problem you can have is one of the machines may not
boot because one of the drives are not active. Just get out
your bootable floppy with fdisk on it and make it active if
you have to. If you don't have a bootable floppy with fdisk
and format on it (I also have a few other programs for emergencies) now is a good time to make one.

This new version of boot.ini will need to be checked before
the drive is removed. It should be similar to the first one.
If the drive is to be the primary drive on an IDE chain the
values should 0,0,0,1 for the menu options.

Then its a matter of just moving the drive across. This gets
around needing partition magic and other third party programs
and keeps to a straight NT solution.


Author Comment

ID: 1768300
Here is what I did.  


Author Comment

ID: 1768301
Here is what I did and what happened:

  1. Installed the new 8GB drive into a PC running NT
  2. Formatted the drive as a single 8GB NTFS partition
  3. Installed the drive into a new PC
  4. Installed NT into the 8GB partition, leaving the
     partition/format as is.

However, when NT rebooted during the install process, the PC would not boot!  I went through all the BIOS settings but I couldn't figure it out.  Could there be some kind of limitation on how big a drive can be for a PC to boot from it?  If I have to make the partition "active", why didn't NT make it active if it is the only partition?

I finally ended up doing what carmine suggested.  I installed NT on a 200MB partition.  I then formatted the rest as a single NTFS ~7.75GB partition and reinstalled NT onto it.  However, all of the boot files (boot.ini and are on the 200MB partition, which I cannot delete because then I probably won't be able to boot the machine---even if I move them to the larger partition.

Any suggestions?
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 1768302
> However, when NT rebooted during the install process,
> the PC would not boot! I went through all the BIOS settings
> but I couldn't figure it out. Could there be some kind of
> limitation on how big a drive can be for a PC to boot from it?

Yes, I've seen a BIOS which was limited to 2GB.
Another BIOS was limited to booting a disk
which contained no more than 1024 cylinders.
(LBA support in the BIOS can make most disks
appear to have fewer than 1024 cylinders.)

> If I have to make the partition "active", why didn't NT make
> it active if it is the only partition?

It probably did, but the BIOS couldn't handle it.

> I then formatted the rest as a single NTFS ~7.75GB partition
> and reinstalled NT onto it. However, all of the boot files
> (boot.ini and are on the 200MB partition,
> which I cannot delete because then I probably won't be able
> to boot the machine---even if I move them to the larger partition.

Boot the NT Installation Diskettes, and choose "repair"
(i.e., repair the boot-drive).

You're probably going to be "stuck" with a small C: drive,
and a 7.99 GB drive as the D: drive.
Your BIOS will "boot" from the small drive,
and NT will initialize itself from the D: drive.

Author Comment

ID: 1768303
Thanks everyone!  I appreciate all of your comments.


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