Still celebrating National IT Professionals Day with 3 months of free Premium Membership. Use Code ITDAY17


cannot format 200gb IDE Drive on Sunblade

Posted on 2003-02-06
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-27
Just purchased Maxtor 200gb IDE drive and trying to format it, on a Sunblade 100. Format will not format it. Any ideas appreciated.
Question by:j2ecdean
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • +3
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 7900865
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:


Expert Comment

ID: 7903716
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.

Author Comment

ID: 7905042
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>
What does it mean to be "Always On"?

Is your cloud always on? With an Always On cloud you won't have to worry about downtime for maintenance or software application code updates, ensuring that your bottom line isn't affected.


Author Comment

ID: 7906495
Direct from Sun:

"We don't support anything greater than 20gb on a Sun Blade, goodbye"....
LVL 38

Expert Comment

ID: 7912294
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!

Expert Comment

ID: 7912590

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 (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.

Author Comment

ID: 7926083
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......


Expert Comment

ID: 8158639
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?

LVL 18

Expert Comment

ID: 10424608
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:

PAQ and refund

Please leave any comments here within the next four days.


EE Cleanup Volunteer

Accepted Solution

modulo earned 0 total points
ID: 10461498
PAQed, with points refunded (75)

Community Support Moderator

Featured Post

On Demand Webinar: Networking for the Cloud Era

Did you know SD-WANs can improve network connectivity? Check out this webinar to learn how an SD-WAN simplified, one-click tool can help you migrate and manage data in the cloud.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

Attention: This article will no longer be maintained. If you have any questions, please feel free to mail me. Please see for the updated article. It is avail…
Using libpcap/Jpcap to capture and send packets on Solaris version (10/11) Library used: 1.      Libpcap ( Version 1.2 2.      Jpcap( Version 0.6 Prerequisite: 1.      GCC …
Learn how to navigate the file tree with the shell. Use pwd to print the current working directory: Use ls to list a directory's contents: Use cd to change to a new directory: Use wildcards instead of typing out long directory names: Use ../ to move…
In a previous video, we went over how to export a DynamoDB table into Amazon S3.  In this video, we show how to load the export from S3 into a DynamoDB table.
Suggested Courses

704 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question