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cannot format 200gb IDE Drive on Sunblade

Just purchased Maxtor 200gb IDE drive and trying to format it, on a Sunblade 100. Format will not format it. Any ideas appreciated.
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1 Solution
Which version of Solaris are you using ?

When you use "format" command, what size of the HD does
the system tell you?

Solaris 7 can only handle up to 32 GB IDE HD. I have install Solaris 8 on an IBM 60 GB HD, no problem.

Have a look at this doc:


Sun doesn't officially support disks bigger than those they ship.  The reason being is they have not tested these with their systems. Solaris has been known to recognise non-sun disks tho.

The best option you have is to take all the disk geometry info from the disk guide, or the label on the disk and enter these manually in "type" submenu of format.  This way you can tell Solaris what it needs to know about the disk, like cylinders, heads, sectors etc etc.

Until Solaris knows this info, it won't know what to do and thus will show the disk as "unknown".

You should now be able to partition the disk, label it, and then use newfs to put a filesystem on the disk.

One word of warning, Solaris 8 (without SDS) and lower do not support more than 8 partitions.  If you need more, then you will need to have the at least Sol 8 04/02 with SDS 4.2.1 and patches to use soft partitioning, or alternatively Solaris 9, which has support for soft partitioning (with the aid of SVM, aka SDS).

You can also use Veritas Volume Manager to partition up the disk.
j2ecdeanAuthor Commented:
Here is the environment and result of format
# showrev
Release: 5.8
Kernel architecture: sun4u
Application architecture: sparc
Hardware provider: Sun_Microsystems
Kernel version: SunOS 5.8 Generic 108528-18 November 2002

       0. c0t0d0 <ST320011A cyl 38790 alt 2 hd 16 sec 63>
       1. c0t2d0 <Maxtor 6Y200P0 cyl 255 alt 2 hd 16 sec 255>
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j2ecdeanAuthor Commented:
Direct from Sun:

"We don't support anything greater than 20gb on a Sun Blade, goodbye"....
Well, 20GB is not the limit of Solaris UNIX. I have installed a lot of sytem use 40 GB IDE HD. I have install a 60 GB IMB disk on a Sun blade, they all works fine for me.

Try the followings when you format the HD,

format -> type -> Other

then manuly fill in all the details about your IDE HD see if it work.

(I have never try any 200 GB IDE yet !)

Good luck!

Go with what yuzh and I have suggested (in my previous posting).  It may not be supported, but it has been known to work.  The only reason it isn't supported is because it's never been tested... remember, Sun's tested kit is more reliable than non-tested, so it only makes sense that they only support their own.

Looking at your output from format, it looks like Solaris has just picked up the disk geometry incorrectly.  As you can see on http://www.maxtor.com/en/support/products/ata/desktop/diamondmax_plus_9/index.htm (Quick specs PDF) the correct disk geometry is as follows:

cyl: 395136
alt: 2     (I am guessing here cos Maxtor don't say)
hd:  16
sec: 63

Simply go to format -> type -> 1 and specify the correct details for that disk.

You should now be able use the disk as you want.
j2ecdeanAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all the suggestions, sorry to say they did not work. An additional suggestion I got from other sources suggested I edit the format.dat. I did not try this but did manage to install and configure an 80gb drive instead of the 200gb......

I'm having the same problem with a Wester Digitar WD2000BB 200GB disk to an SUN-SPARC Ultra-5. I put the geometry on the type option within format utility and I just can see 30GB:

Enter number of data cylinders: 16383
Enter number of alternate cylinders[2]:
Enter number of physical cylinders[16385]:
Enter number of heads: 16
Enter number of data sectors/track: 63
Enter rpm of drive[3600]: 7200
Enter format time[default]:
Enter cylinder skew[default]:
Enter track skew[default]:
Enter tracks per zone[default]:
Enter alternate tracks[default]:
Enter alternate sectors[default]:
Enter cache control[default]:
Enter prefetch threshold[default]:
Enter minimum prefetch[default]:
Enter maximum prefetch[default]:

WD says that "All EIDE drivers 8,4GB and larger use 16383 cylinders, 16 heads and 63 SPT". What other parameter determines the disk size?

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