HD formatting utils for DOS

Jim Leonard trixter at oldskool.org
Tue Jun 27 19:18:20 CDT 2006

Teo Zenios wrote:
> I was wondering if there were any drivers or utils available that would allow a DOS or Win3.1 machine to have drive partitions over 2GB? I know old IDE controller had hardware limitations to the drive size they can read (BIOS issues also) but would there be a problem with raiding SCSI drives on say an old Adaptec card to give you 20GB of space that DOS could read and write to (non booting)? I am not worried about DOS being modified so that the individual file size can be extended, just the available partition size so I don't have a dozen 2GB partitions.

I've been an owner of System Commander since about 1995.  It won't let 
you exceed problems that are built-in to DOS, but it makes life easier 
all around.  It can resize partitions and filesystems, so you don't lose 
data repartitioning; it can store several DOS OSes in a single FAT16 
partition (I have MSDOS 6.22, IBM DOS 2000, and Caldera 7.03 in the same 
FAT16 2G partition), and other neat stuff.

MSDOS 6.22 boots from a single 2G or smaller primary partition 0 -- 
that's it, there's no way of getting around it.  SCSI or IDE, doesn't 
matter:  Must be primary partition 0, and smaller than 2 gig.  Later 
versions are a little more flexible; I believe IBM PC DOS 2000 can boot 
from any primary partition, for example, but don't quote me on that. 
FreeDOS might be more flexible in that area as well.

Now, if all you want is more drive space, just create an extended 
partition and create as many 2G logical drives as you like.  Depending 
on your BIOS and drive, you may run out of drive letters before space :-)

If you need partitions/drives over 2G, you'll need to run something 
other than FAT16 DOS.  Win9x FAT32 (shows up as "MS-DOS 7", whatever 
that is) allows for extended partition sizes up to 127G I think, again, 
don't quote me on that.
Jim Leonard (trixter at oldskool.org)            http://www.oldskool.org/
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A child borne of the home computer wars: http://trixter.wordpress.com/

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