Access external USB / firewire storage from dos

Hi-
I have a Maxtor 160GB Onetouch external USB/firewire drive formatted with NTFS.

I want to assign a drive letter to it so I can access with dos commands

Doing some research, I see that panasonic makes a usb driver that I can try (although it seems to be on a japanese web site)

I also see that I can create a ghost boot disk that loads some usb and firewire drivers to access the external drive

And then I realized that my bios recognizes the drive when it is plugged into a usb port without any drivers required! (I haven't tried firewire connection yet)

SO - I tried NTFSDOS to assign a drive letter - but I have about 10 partitions and I think it is running out of memory during the drive letter assignment.  Error message:
        Memory allocation error
        Cannot load COMMAND, system halted

If I unplug the USB drive and reboot, I have enough memory to assign drive letters to the 9 partitions remaining.  Or, if I eliminate some of the drivers being loaded in config.sys and autoexec.bat, then I can get all drive letters assigned for the 10 partitions (including the external usb drive).  However, I need the drivers that I eliminated...

My questions:
1) How to I get around this?  I really don't need drive letters assigned for all the partitions, but with the free version of ntfsdos, it seems I don't have a choice - all or nothing...  
2) Does ntfsdos pro allow me to select which partition to assign drive letters to?
3) Are there other solutions instead of using ntfsdos to assign drive letters?
Thanks-
SAbboushiAsked:
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rindiCommented:
There probably is no easy way to do this. DOS has this 640 KB limit of usable memory, and each of those drivers you are loading needs some of that space. In the end you have used so much space for loading drivers, you won't have any memory left to run programs in.

You might be able to load some of those drivers into the high memory area (The processor can, under DOS, address some parts of the memory between 640 KB and 1024 KB, using a memorymanager. Have you loaded emm368 and himem.sys in in config.sys?

If so you can try loading some drivers "high". If I remember correctly you do this by adding the "loadhigh" command in front of the drivername in autoexec.bat, or "devicehigh" instead of "device" in config.sys. So try changing those 2 files by adding these to commands and do a reboot. Look for error messages hen booting, and remove those commands againfor those drivers which brought up an errormessage. Reboot again. Maybe you can tickle some more unused conventional DOS memory out of your system that way.

I suspect that this has already been done, though, and therefore I don't think you'll have too much luck.

Why don't you format your USB device for fat32? You wouldn't need ntfsdos, which uses plenty of memory.

Are you sure you really need all those drivers at once? maybe you can do things in stages, by first booting and doing 1, then rebooting differently and doing 2....
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icemanwolCommented:
For what purpose are you doing this?  If it is something like mirroring drives for backups or some other issue.  I would suggest you use BartPE.  BartPE is a stripped down version of windows XP that runs COMPLETLY off  the CD (it's freeware) . Some features are:
Full Read/write access of NTFS drives
USB mass storage support  (like you externel HDD)
Network support
Plugin support (they have a plugin for norton ghost and lots of other programs)
Command line and 16-bit dos program support
CHKDSK
Much more

All you need to use it is a windows XP CD (home or pro) with SP1 or SP2 slipsteamed into it and a cd-burner. if you do not have a service pack slipstreamed into your cd, they have instuctions on how to do this too on there site

Here is the website: http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/
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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:

I know I wrote a response here last week - I must have done something stupid since it didn't post...

Anyway:

rindi:
>> I suspect that this has already been done,
Yes - I have already taken advantage of loading high

I want NTFS - for ACL and encryption
I want all the drivers at once... ; )

icemanwol:
I have been a fan of Bart for almost a year now.  He offers some GREAT stuff.
In this case, I need to access the external drive from DOS

My questions remain:
My questions:
1) How to I get around this?  I really don't need drive letters assigned for all the partitions, but with the free version of ntfsdos, it seems I don't have a choice - all or nothing...  
2) Does ntfsdos pro allow me to select which partition to assign drive letters to?
3) Are there other solutions instead of using ntfsdos to assign drive letters?
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rindiCommented:
With DOS, there's no chance. What exactly do you need this for? Is it some kind of backup solution? If so, why don't you try it with fat32 as filesystem. You could get some kind of security if you use a program like 7-zip to make archives of the files and password protecting those archives.

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SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
rindi-

>> With DOS, there's no chance.
I'm sorry if my post was unclear.  I am already able to access the drive from dos if I disable some of the drivers...

>> What exactly do you need this for?
It is not that I need it - I want to be able to do this (for various reasons, including it would be one more solution in my arsenal).  I appreciate your suggesting alternatives - however, I am looking for a a way to do it as I have described.
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rindiCommented:
You still can't do it with DOS, not all at once. As i mentioned before, it has to do with all the drivers which have to be loaded and the OS just can't load that much into memory, DOS was built for processors that imposed such boundaries.

There might be alternatives, like using another OS. Have you thought of using Linux instead of DOS?
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