my harddrive is too big for fat32??
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Thread: my harddrive is too big for fat32??

  1. #1
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    my harddrive is too big for fat32??

    i've broken my hard drive into two partitions- one with windows and i'd like to make the larger partition(110 gigs) FAT32 so i can access it from windows and linux, but i've tried to format it with windows and linux and it doesnt work.

    in linux, i downloaded dosfstools and used mkfs.vfat /dev/hda2 and it said "the filesystem is too large"

    in windows, i try to format the drive from "my computer" and it only gives me the option of formatting it NTFS, which is wierd cuz i've formatted my 30 gig drive to FAT32 a few times from windows this way.

    anybody know what i can do about this?

  2. #2
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    Yup, fat32 is restricted by a few parameters.

    http://support.microsoft.com/default...EN-US;Q184006&

    http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_d...e_barriers.htm
    This second link has more info, and I know personally volumes can be well over 32GB with FAT32 in WinXP if done properly, but the details escape me. I do something similar with my drives, but I usually only share about 10GB on the FAT32 partition.
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    you know that linux can read NTFS also right?
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    i want to read and write from linux. is there another filesystem that can handle large drives that i could use with both linux and windows? or maybe a way to format it with FAT32 anyway? that article said that windows couldnt format a drive more than 32 gigs, but it did mention that it's possible to have a FAT32 drive that's more than 32 gigs.

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    http://www.iamnotageek.com/a/24-p1.php this says FAT32 can go as big as 8 terabytes, i've also heard 2000 gigs, i'm not sure which is right. apparently microsoft just promotes(to the point of not giving any other options) using NTFS on large drives because it is said to waste less space: when a drive is over 32 gigs the cluster sizes go from being 16K to 32K and this is less efficient than NTFS somehow, but how much space could i really be loosing vs NTFS? also, how can i format my drive with FAT32 anyway? dosfstools wouldnt do it. any ideas?

  6. #6
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    It's not only the higher volume addressability. NTFS is a much more efficient file system. Current windows OS system will convert the drive for you through the OS. Couple of things... Fat32 with beat NTFS on small drives if you keep them defragged. FAT32 provides very little security in relation to NTFS. NTFS permission or more linux like. NTFS let's you compress folders on the fly if you like. NTFS created log files that makes corrupted areas more easily recoverable. It also dynamically remaps clusters that are found questionable. lets see what else...

    Fat 32 can be extended but it's a pain in the ass, what OS are you on? Linux reads NTFS since the 2.2 kernal but there are some limitations? I went and looked here just to be sure. Back to windows. You can allocate specific areas of the disk and reserve them for specific files. Now on to clusters..

    NTFS does a better job, period. In large volumes the FAT (file allocation table) of a FAT32 drive becomes a nightmare to manage and slows disk access tremendously. It's not just the cluster size it's the entire process of how individual clusters are located and processed. We could go deep into how this works but NTFS from my point of view is much better than FAT32. Of course if your OS won't support it then the point is mute. No matter what system you use FAT32 or NTFS the bigger the drive gets the bigger the cluster size gets, but these can be over ridden at format.

    If you just want to use it for a purely linux file service, you could just make smaller partitions.
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    ok, i guess i'll use NTFS. now, i've heard that linux can read NTFS but can it write to it? i thought it would destroy the filesystem if i tried to write to my NTFS drive from linux.

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    That is true, at first linux could not write to NTFS. That is no longer the case unless you are using an old kernal. If you don't believe me, chech this from the link I posted at Linux World:

    Since Linux 2.2.x, however, read-only and read-write NTFS support has been a standard part of the kernel (albeit still considered experimental).

    Unfortunately, that means it is not as easy to access Windows partitions under Linux as it is under Windows: You must first mount the partitions in order to access them. For example, if your hard disk is partitioned in the following way:

    /dev/hda1 -- Windows 9x filesystem
    /dev/hda2 -- Linux swap partition
    /dev/hda3 -- Linux root filesystem


    and you want to mount the Windows partition under /mnt/windows, use the command mount /dev/hda1 /mnt/windows.

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  9. #9
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    I still dont trust on Linux NTFS write support.
    Why you dont format with your preferred LINUX FS and share it with windows installing a NFS client on Windows? Or you can share it thru Samba...

    You will have a solid rock File server.
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  10. #10
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    yeah, i've read from my windows partitions plenty of times, i was just terrified to try writing to them. i guess the NFS client would be something that would allow me to read like ext2/3 and jfs in windows? i could do that. i dont know if samba would work because the two drives are part of the same box, so i dont think i could boot off of both simultaneously and use samba.

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