Improve company productivity with a Business Account.Sign Up

  • Status: Solved
  • Priority: Medium
  • Security: Public
  • Views: 415
  • Last Modified:

Upgrade won't recognized partitioned drive

I just upgraded from Win. 3.1 to Win. 98.  It went real smooth except Win. 98 won't recognized my partitioned hard drive.  I have a 7.0 G hard drive that I had to partition into drives C through F when I was using Win. 3.1.  Now that I have made the upgrade, C drive works fine.  When I try to access the other drives I get the following error:  D:  not accessabile--a device attached to the system is not functioning.  On the resource tab it says:  D, E, & F are using MS-DOS compatibility mode file ststem.  This is greek to me.  Can anyone help?  One thing I did see in help was something about using the Drive Converter (FAT32) Would this help make one 7.0 G drive instead of the partioned drives?

This is worth a lot of point to me if someone can answer the question & get me back in business.


  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • +8
1 Solution

   I think it would be a good idea to convert your entire drive to FAT32.  Fat32 can recognize up to 7.8 GB and handles the drive more efficiently. Converting to the FAT32 file system is one of the biggest performance enhancements you can
    make to your Windows 98-based computer.  This is how you should do it:
    To convert a drive to the FAT32 file system, use the following steps.

    NOTE: Before you convert to the FAT32 file system, uninstall any utilities or tools that protect or
    encrypt the Master Boot Record (MBR) or partition table (for example, uninstall Bootlock included
    with Symantec Norton Your Eyes Only).

      1.Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, click Drive
        Converter (FAT32), and then click Next.

      2.In the Drives box, click the drive you want to convert to the FAT32 file system.

      3.Click Next, and then click OK.

      4.Click Next, click Next, and then click Next.

      5.When the conversion is complete, click Finish.

NOTE: A drive must be at least 512 megabytes (MB) in size to be converted to the FAT32 file

Also, you can use Fdisk to convert the drive into one partition:

In OSR2 and Windows 98, if you run the FDISK tool on a system with a drive over 512 MB, it
    asks whether to enable large disk support. If you answer Yes, any partition you create that is
    larger than 512 MB is marked as a FAT32 partition.
bfineAuthor Commented:
This didn't work.  It converted to fat 32, but it didn't take out the partitions.  C drive is still 1.9 G & I can't get to D, D or F drives.  So I have lost the space in those drives.  Can I unpartition these drives without loosing the data in C drive?
Please read from my page at

"Windows 98 Section"
"About FAT32"
About FAT32

A new version of the file allocation table (FAT) available in Windows 95 OSR 2 and
Windows 98. FAT32 increases the number of bits used to address clusters and also
reduces the size of each cluster. The result is that it can support larger disks (up to 2
terabytes) and better storage efficiency (less slack space).

If you upgraded a Windows 95 system to Windows 98, chances are your hard drive still
uses the FAT16 file system. Now that you're using Windows 98, you have the option of
converting that drive to the new-and-improved FAT32 system. FAT32 stores the data on
your hard drive in smaller clusters than the older FAT16 system, so you end up with less
wasted space.  Before you do, you may want to know exactly how much space you'll
regain upon conversion. The Windows 98 installation CD offers the FAT32 Conversion
Utility to calculate this information for you.

Put the installation CD into your CD-ROM drive, and if the Windows 98 CD-ROM window
doesn't appear on its own, open up My Computer and double-click your CD-ROM drive.
Point and click where it says Browse This CD, then navigate your way to the
tools\reskit\config folder. To run the utility, double-click the Fat32win.exe file, select a
drive, and click Scan. You'll see some numbers that look very good. Maybe,  maybe not.
FAT32 isn't for eveybody.

The FAT32 Conversion Utility is also available for download from Microsoft's Web site at 

Chances are your hard drive still uses the FAT16 file system. Now that you're using
Windows 98, you have the option of converting that drive to the new-and-improved FAT32

Convertion may take up to three hours. Save anything you may be working on and close all
open programs. Select Start, Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Drive Converter
(FAT32). Be sure to click Details and read all the warnings about converting. For example,
you can't convert a compressed drive.
Click Next, select the drive you want to convert, then click Next again. You'll need to wait
as the wizard checks to see if you have any incompatible programs installed. If it finds any,
you may wish to exit the wizard, uninstall these programs, and come back to the converter.

Click Next, and you'll be presented with an option to back up your files. Click Create
Backup to invoke Microsoft Backup and complete a backup operation, or click Next.
Click Next and watch W98FAT32.EXE work.

                    The Downside to FAT32

Problems with the FAT File System

Despite its popularity, the FATFS is not a perfect file system. It suffers from three major

The first problem is fragmentation. As the computer accesses files in a FATFS it becomes
less efficient. Adjacent files in a directory and even the contents of individual large files can
get spread across the disk media. This causes a larger number of disk seek operations to
occur and increases the amount of time that is required to access a file on the disk. The
routine use of a defragmentation program, such as DEFRAG, will 'clean house' and keep
the disk running at peak performance.

The second problem is storage efficiency. The storage efficiency of the FATFS degrades
for larger partitions. This is a result of the clustering added in DOS 4.0. The FATFS can
only address about 65,518 units (or clusters) of storage on a disk regardless of the size of
the disk. For small disks, a cluster of storage is 512 bytes, but for larger disks it can be
8192 bytes or more. The FATFS allocates storage to files in whole clusters, and no two
files ever share a cluster. So what does this mean? It means that your 500 byte memo can
take 8192 or more bytes of storage on the disk. For larger disks, this wasted space
becomes a significant portion of the disk capacity. Microsoft is expected to introduce
another improvement to the FATFS, called FAT32, which addresses this problem in the

The third problem with the FATFS is that it is not fault tolerant. The FATFS is a
corruptible file system where a computer crash, a hardware malfunction, or a
programming glitch can destroy the file system and ruin your day. (This is where
FileRecovery steps in and earns its keep).

This is from Leong Peck Yoke's URL found below.

An Enhanced File System for Windows 95 
PC Magazine tutorial article on what FAT32 does to solve problems with the old FAT, and
other advantages and disadvantages of the new file system. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

Partitioning Your Hard Disks 
PC Magazine tutorial article on how to squeeze extra storage out of large capacity drives
with more efficient partitions. Provides very good background information as well as an
explanation of FAT32. Updated on Aug 2, 1998

FAT32 Resource Page 
This site explains all the options and specifications of the new FAT32 file system for
Windows. This page has been created to help answer some of the questions and
confusions about FAT32 and its new features. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

Everything you need to know about OSR2 and FAT32 
Detailed FAQ about OSR2 and FAT32. The page is maintained by Sean Erwin. Updated on
Aug 5, 1998

How to safely take advantage of large FAT32 hard Drive Disks 

The FAT32 File System 
A Microsoft Knowledge Base article on FAT32.


FAT and FAT32 

FAT 32 For Windows NT 

People are always asking where I hang out: 
If you can convert from FAT32 to FAT16 without lossing data.
I don't know yet??? So far I have the following conflicting answers. I hope to be able to
prove it successful soon.

1. "Actually, you CAN convert back to FAT, but it requires a reformat of the drive. Run
FDISK and when it asks if you want to enable large disk support, say NO, and then
reformat the drive. That will convert back. However, there is no way to do it AND retain
your data."?????

What barnd of HDD is it.? We may have to get there Formatting and Fdisking software to fix this. Let me know.

I would re-open the question for other techs to help. FAT32 IS touchy.

Free Tool: Subnet Calculator

The subnet calculator helps you design networks by taking an IP address and network mask and returning information such as network, broadcast address, and host range.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

bfineAuthor Commented:
I tried the Fat-32 conversion & it didn't do what I was needing it to do.  I still can only get to drive C (1.9 G)  I have no access to drives D, E or F (the other partion of my 7.0 G hard drive).
Tell me about you bios??
What's it seeing??
What barnd of HDD is it.? We may have to get there Formatting and Fdisking software to fix this. Let me know.

Please read the links from my post.

bfineAuthor Commented:
Since upgrading I cannot get into the setup of my computer by pressing F10.  Where do I go to tell you about the BIOS since I can't access Setup?  The hard drive is a Maxtor 7.0 GB DiamondMax.  
At bootup, as soon as your system starts counting the ram [usually you can hear the ticking] press Delete; this will take you into setup.
Unless your stuck with a Compaq.


  If you want to create one FAT32 partition, you are going to have to FDISK.  I don't think there is any way around this.  Since you have a Maxtor, i would use their EZ-Max diskette to partition their drive.  You should of gotten an Max-Blast diskette with the drive.  If not, you can download the utility here:

Select Infor about the Max-Blast software.

Also, select the FAQ option and it will give you detailed instructions on how to install FAT32 in the Windows 95B section.


I have a Maxtor 8.4 and have 4 partitions and Win98. I do not recommend you use the EZ-Drive BIOS Overlay if you can avoid it. Win98 wants to work directly with your system's BIOS. If you can get a BIOS upgrade (check with your PC mfg. or check the motherboard for mfg. -- usually labeled along one edge), DO THAT FIRST!

It sounds like you've already used EZ-DRIVE (that's why D:E:F: are using real-mode drivers). You can get an uninstall utility from Maxtor. Do not uninstall unless you've got a BIOS that can handle the large drive. If you are using an OLDER copy of EZ-DRIVE, you may simply have to do a low-level format and start again.

I'm sorry to hear that you've already done the FAT32 conversion. It's a real pain to undo... Usually, it requires a low-level format of the drive (Maxtor's website offers the utility to do it). If you've got data on the system, you might be able to restore the FAT16 using a third-party util such as Partition Magic.

I disagree with my dear friend, dankh. A single, LARGE drive is not a blessing when it comes to file management. Imagine having one 10-foot deep file drawer instead of a four-drawer file cabinet. Backing up data is much easier if it is segregated from your systems/applications files.

For instance, on my C: drive, I have the OS and all of my primary applications; on D:, I have utility apps, spare fonts (2,000 of them), clip art and everything else I can restore from CD or disk. On E: I have class exercise files (I teach software), my e-mail folders, and zipped applications (stuff I've d/l'd from the Internet and wouldn't want to have to d/l again). On F: I have scanned graphics, data files, and websites I'm building/managing. I occasionally run a full system backup and backup EVERYTHING. More frequently, I backup the E: and F: drives. Each partition is 2Gb. On C: I still have 600Mb free, on all the rest, I've got about 1Gb free on each.

Just some food for thought about how to organize this thing before you build it. Sounds like you'll be working from the ground up anyway. I'm not using FAT32. I'm contemplating doing a dual boot system with NT.


Keep us posted...


1)  Did you partition your drive before or after you installed Win98?

2)  What speed CD drive do you have?

3)  Did you copy the Win98 CD to your HDD before installing?

I think you should first update your motherboard's bios just to make sure it supports newer large drives.  Then with Win98's boot disk, go into fdisk and delete all extended Dos partitions and/or logical drives, leaving only the active primary partition, and re-create the extended partition with Win98's fdisk.  If you already convented to FAT32 and wanted to go back to FAT16, simply say NO when ask if you want large disk support.  But then, all newly created extended partitions need to be format before use, so backup you data before trying this.  Good luck.
James ElliottManaging DirectorCommented:
I normal cases u can't unpartition ur drives without losing all present data. Try buying a program called partition provides utilities for multi-partitioned drives including removal of partitions.
            Have u tried re-fdisk(ing) the drive into one primary dos partition making it active?

Go to start->settings->control panel->system->device manager tab double click on hard disk controller.  Please tell me what type of hard disk controller your computer is using.
May I know, how you upgrade your win 98? Direct upgrade or destroy your harddisk by formatting it. Before you do the installation, win 98 always checks all your harddisk, if there's an error, win 98 installation will be stopped.
I look something strange in this case, and I have never found such this case before.
But I still have an opinion that you may try:
1. Boot your computer from drive A: (DOS 6.22 or Win 95 or Win3.1)
2. Run FDISK and check your logical partition.
3. If needed, format the logical partition

The worst you can do is reformatting or reinstalling your Harddisk. If you do reinstalling, delete any files in drive C:.
The most important thing you must do is looking how win 98 check all your drive.
I recommend you to still make your harddisk into more than 2 partition. The more partitions you make, the more files you can save.
Wish you success, Nancy :)

As mentionned above, you probably used a overlay manager to access the large harddisk under DOS (Win3.1). Win98 does not like this.
At startup, you should see some lines when this manager is loaded.
If the overlay manager has disappeared, I'm afraid all data will be lost. If not, try booting in DOS (command prompt only) and see if you can see the other drives. If so, you could try to move all data to another disk-drive (maybe your retailer can help you with this), get rid of the overlay manager and start all over again (reformat, repartition, reinstall win98 and move all data from the second harddisk back to your first).
It's a lot of work, I know; maybe someone else has a faster way.
All this FAF! The best and most certain way is to get PQ Magic. (partition Magic). This allows you to change partition sizes dynamicly and convert to FAT32 and FAT16 without loosing data. Get this prog. (from WAREZ if you have to) convert the other drives to FAT32. Boot into DOS, copy  data from drives D,E,F to C:. Use PQ Magic to remove Partitions DEF and increase C partition to maximum size. That is the only sure way to do it without lossing data on any drive.

    Man, a lot has changed when you are gone for a couple of days.  I am in the process of upgrading my mobo and chip and it has be hellish!  However, it looks like i got the thing running now.  

Colleen:  It wasn't my suggestion to format the drive into one partition.  I got the impression that Bfine wanted that.  
And i agree with you, partitions are much better than one fat drive.  I am currently working with 4 partitions myself.  Since Bfine hasn't posted any replies and i don't feel like reading all the comments, i will wait until he/she speaks before i continue with this thread.
You're right, dankh. I gotta read things forward and backwards twice before what I think the question is agrees with what the question is....

Glad you're back!


bfineAuthor Commented:
I haven't posted a reply because my machine has been out of commission.  I ended up taking my machine to a tech person.  After spending about 20 hours he says that my machine cannot use this hard drive.  I don't know enough about this to give you an educated reply as to why, but I will try.  It has to do with my machine which is a Compaq, Presario CDS 774.  There is a conflect between the CMOS on my machine & the EZBIOS of the new Maxtor hard drive.

The original setup was with Win. 3.1 & a 729 MB hard drive.  What I wanted was to transfer my information to the new hard drive & then install the Windows 98 upgrade.  Since the original operating system was Win 3.1 the new hard drive had to be partitioned.  After I installed Win. 98, the operating system wouldn't recognize the partitions.

Well anyway, thank you to all that replied.  I guess it is back to the store for me. I hope they take returns!:)
Bummer! Before surrendering, have you checked at the Compaq website to see if there might be a BIOS upgrade available???


Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

Join & Write a Comment

Featured Post

Free Tool: Path Explorer

An intuitive utility to help find the CSS path to UI elements on a webpage. These paths are used frequently in a variety of front-end development and QA automation tasks.

One of a set of tools we're offering as a way of saying thank you for being a part of the community.

  • 4
  • 3
  • 3
  • +8
Tackle projects and never again get stuck behind a technical roadblock.
Join Now