Hard drive format compatibility - what am I missing?

Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.

There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's not capable
of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP SP2.

The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to get both
backups on to the one external drive.

I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one humongous
FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and write either NTFS or
FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(

I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop (Win Me),
let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up the laptop. Everything
OK so far.

I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I couldn't see
the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows XP thought the drive was
all unallocated space.

I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact, formatted
that on the laptop and backed it up again without a problem. Switched the
external drive to the XP machine, expecting to be able to create another
partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I looked at the drive in the disk
administrator, once again it saw the whole 80GB as unallocated space.

Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I was under the impression that XP
could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is there some kind of size limit
for the FAT32 partition? Does it all need to be formatted on the XP box?

Thanks for any assistance,

Brian.
10 answers Last reply
More about hard drive format compatibility missing
  1. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:31:13 -0400, Brian Meadows <brian@meadows.pair.com>
    wrote:


    Sorry for the omission - that's Windows XP HE. Hardly use it myself, I forgot
    about the two versions.

    >
    >I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.
    >
    >There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's not capable
    >of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP SP2.
    >
    >The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to get both
    >backups on to the one external drive.
    >
    >I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one humongous
    >FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and write either NTFS or
    >FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(
    >
    >I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop (Win Me),
    >let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up the laptop. Everything
    >OK so far.
    >
    >I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I couldn't see
    >the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows XP thought the drive was
    >all unallocated space.
    >
    >I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact, formatted
    >that on the laptop and backed it up again without a problem. Switched the
    >external drive to the XP machine, expecting to be able to create another
    >partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I looked at the drive in the disk
    >administrator, once again it saw the whole 80GB as unallocated space.
    >
    >Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I was under the impression that XP
    >could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is there some kind of size limit
    >for the FAT32 partition? Does it all need to be formatted on the XP box?
    >
    >Thanks for any assistance,
    >
    >Brian.
  2. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    Your general assumptions are correct.
    XP can handle all File Formats: Me cannot handle formats above FAT32.

    Try these 2 Options [if you have Norton Ghost].
    Create the Ghost start disk and accomodate USB device support during the
    creation process, then on the XP system, boot from the start disk and create
    the Backup: given that the external drive should be recognised by Ghost as it
    loads its own Caldera DOS and you are not running any XP operating system
    elements.

    Or you could attempt to format the drive under XP and allocate a drive letter.
    Then take the drive across to the Me system and see if that one can access
    the drive. If so create your backup [are you using Ghost?] of the Me System.
    Then take it to XP system and create the backup of that one.


    "Brian Meadows" wrote:

    > On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:31:13 -0400, Brian Meadows <brian@meadows.pair.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    >
    > Sorry for the omission - that's Windows XP HE. Hardly use it myself, I forgot
    > about the two versions.
    >
    > >
    > >I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.
    > >
    > >There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's not capable
    > >of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP SP2.
    > >
    > >The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to get both
    > >backups on to the one external drive.
    > >
    > >I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one humongous
    > >FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and write either NTFS or
    > >FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(
    > >
    > >I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop (Win Me),
    > >let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up the laptop. Everything
    > >OK so far.
    > >
    > >I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I couldn't see
    > >the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows XP thought the drive was
    > >all unallocated space.
    > >
    > >I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact, formatted
    > >that on the laptop and backed it up again without a problem. Switched the
    > >external drive to the XP machine, expecting to be able to create another
    > >partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I looked at the drive in the disk
    > >administrator, once again it saw the whole 80GB as unallocated space.
    > >
    > >Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I was under the impression that XP
    > >could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is there some kind of size limit
    > >for the FAT32 partition? Does it all need to be formatted on the XP box?
    > >
    > >Thanks for any assistance,
    > >
    > >Brian.
    >
    >
  3. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 21:46:33 -0400, Trent© <trentsauder@hotmail.com> wrote:

    >On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:31:13 -0400, Brian Meadows
    ><brian@meadows.pair.com> wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.
    >>
    >>There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's not capable
    >>of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP SP2.
    >>
    >>The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to get both
    >>backups on to the one external drive.
    >>
    >>I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one humongous
    >>FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and write either NTFS or
    >>FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(
    >>
    >>I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop (Win Me),
    >>let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up the laptop. Everything
    >>OK so far.
    >
    >What program did you use to do the backup?
    >

    XCOPY ;-)

    >>I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I couldn't see
    >>the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows XP thought the drive was
    >>all unallocated space.
    >>
    >>I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact, formatted
    >>that on the laptop and backed it up again without a problem. Switched the
    >>external drive to the XP machine, expecting to be able to create another
    >>partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I looked at the drive in the disk
    >>administrator, once again it saw the whole 80GB as unallocated space.
    >>
    >>Does anyone have any idea what's going on?
    >
    >Not really! lol
    >
    >Try formatting with the desktop machine first...then see how the
    >laptop handles it. Actually, try creating 2 partitions with the
    >desktop machine.
    >

    That was the last option I had to try, didn't get chance to try that yesterday,
    I was working on the basis of let the older OS have first attempt, which seems
    logically to be the correct way around.

    >> I was under the impression that XP
    >>could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is there some kind of size limit
    >>for the FAT32 partition? Does it all need to be formatted on the XP box?
    >
    >But here's what I'd do...
    >
    >If yer just gonna use the drive for backups, boot into the floppy of
    >the program you want to use. For instance, you could boot into a
    >Ghost floppy...and then clone the partition on the desktop machine to
    >the first partition on the backup drive...then clone the laptop to the
    >second partition on the backup drive.
    >

    Unfortunately he doesn't have Norton - that might be an option if I can't solve
    it any other way.

    >Good luck...let us know how you make out.
    >

    If I solve it, I'll post the answer.


    Brian.
  4. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 16:23:01 -0700, BAR <BAR@discussions.microsoft.com> wrote:

    >Your general assumptions are correct.
    >XP can handle all File Formats: Me cannot handle formats above FAT32.
    >
    >Try these 2 Options [if you have Norton Ghost].

    Afraid not. All I have to work with is standard XP HE. As in reply to another
    message, the "backup program" is good old XCOPY.


    >Create the Ghost start disk and accomodate USB device support during the
    >creation process, then on the XP system, boot from the start disk and create
    >the Backup: given that the external drive should be recognised by Ghost as it
    >loads its own Caldera DOS and you are not running any XP operating system
    >elements.
    >
    >Or you could attempt to format the drive under XP and allocate a drive letter.
    >Then take the drive across to the Me system and see if that one can access
    >the drive. If so create your backup [are you using Ghost?] of the Me System.
    >Then take it to XP system and create the backup of that one.
    >

    The idea of letting the XP system have first try at formatting the drive is
    counter-intuitive, but maybe that will work. It's certainly something to try
    before I tell him he has to buy Ghost or something similar.

    Brian.
  5. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    Here is a few thing that XP can not do with FAT32.

    1) Can not format any hard drive greater than 32 GB. However, can read any
    size of FAT32 drive.

    2) Can not copy a file to/from a FAT 32 drive that is greater than 4GB.

    3) Drives greater than 127Gb must be formatted with NTFS (XP) in order for
    the drive to work correctly.


    "Brian Meadows" <brian@meadows.pair.com> wrote in message
    news:i7tvn0htrn5uhk7oo32smm20a1dd20u8ii@4ax.com...
    >
    > I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.
    >
    > There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's not
    > capable
    > of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP SP2.
    >
    > The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to get
    > both
    > backups on to the one external drive.
    >
    > I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one
    > humongous
    > FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and write either
    > NTFS or
    > FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(
    >
    > I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop (Win
    > Me),
    > let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up the laptop.
    > Everything
    > OK so far.
    >
    > I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I couldn't
    > see
    > the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows XP thought the
    > drive was
    > all unallocated space.
    >
    > I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact,
    > formatted
    > that on the laptop and backed it up again without a problem. Switched the
    > external drive to the XP machine, expecting to be able to create another
    > partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I looked at the drive in the disk
    > administrator, once again it saw the whole 80GB as unallocated space.
    >
    > Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I was under the impression that
    > XP
    > could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is there some kind of size
    > limit
    > for the FAT32 partition? Does it all need to be formatted on the XP box?
    >
    > Thanks for any assistance,
    >
    > Brian.
    >
  6. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    For anyone still interested in this, the problem is solved, but things got
    really weird.

    I brought the external drive home and tried it on my XP box, and everything
    worked perfectly. Huh??

    So I went back with the drive and tried it on the original PC, just to be sure I
    wasn't hallucinating. Nope. ;-) What my XP box saw as a FAT32 volume, his XP box
    saw as unallocated space.

    Clutching at straws, I decided to reinstall SP2 on his machine, see whether that
    could possibly make a difference. It did. One service pack later, and now I
    could see the FAT32 partition on his XP box too. Fortunately I had a copy of the
    full pack on CD, all ~300 MB worth.

    As regards the underlying problem, I have no idea whatever. It beggars belief
    that his operating system had become just sufficiently corrupted that the only
    noticeable problem was not being able to read FAT32 drives, but unless and until
    another answer comes along that fits the facts...

    Thanks for the attempts to help, folks.

    Brian.

    On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:31:13 -0400, I wrote:

    >
    >I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.
    >
    >There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's not capable
    >of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP SP2.
    >
    >The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to get both
    >backups on to the one external drive.
    >
    >I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one humongous
    >FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and write either NTFS or
    >FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(
    >
    >I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop (Win Me),
    >let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up the laptop. Everything
    >OK so far.
    >
    >I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I couldn't see
    >the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows XP thought the drive was
    >all unallocated space.
    >
    >I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact, formatted
    >that on the laptop and backed it up again without a problem. Switched the
    >external drive to the XP machine, expecting to be able to create another
    >partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I looked at the drive in the disk
    >administrator, once again it saw the whole 80GB as unallocated space.
    >
    >Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I was under the impression that XP
    >could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is there some kind of size limit
    >for the FAT32 partition? Does it all need to be formatted on the XP box?
    >
    >Thanks for any assistance,
    >
    >Brian.
  7. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    On Thu, 28 Oct 2004 12:57:17 -0500, "R. C. White" <rc@corridor.net> wrote:

    >Microsoft decided to limit WinXP's ability to FORMAT FAT32 to drives no
    >larger than 32 GB. However, Win9x/ME can format volumes up to at least 127
    >GB as FAT32. Once formatted by another operating system, WinXP (either Home
    >or Professional Edition) will happily USE the whole thing.
    >

    That was what I expected, and that was what *didn't* happen.

    >The only reason to make any part of the new drive FAT32 is if the
    >backup/restore program runs under Win9x/ME, which cannot read or write to
    >NTFS without third-party help.
    >

    The backup/restore program was XCOPY. You know, that dinosaur from the DOS
    days... ;-)

    >
    >I don't understand this, but maybe it's in your phrase, "the disk
    >administrator". Do you mean Disk Management, the utility built into WinXP?

    Yes. My memory for names is horrendous. I was combining up Disk Management and
    Administrative Tools, one of the "parent" icons.

    >Or is this a part of the backup software you are using? Perhaps something
    >that came with the USB drive? Maybe I should ask what software you are
    >using (on both machines) to do the backup and restore?
    >
    As above, plain old XCOPY. No third-party software involved. Anyway, as you'll
    see from another posting I've just made, reinstalling XP SP2 seemed to solve the
    problem.

    Thanks anyway,

    Brian.
  8. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    Brian Meadows wrote:
    > For anyone still interested in this, the problem is solved, but
    > things got really weird.
    >
    > I brought the external drive home and tried it on my XP box, and
    > everything worked perfectly. Huh??
    >
    > So I went back with the drive and tried it on the original PC, just
    > to be sure I wasn't hallucinating. Nope. ;-) What my XP box saw as a
    > FAT32 volume, his XP box saw as unallocated space.
    >
    > Clutching at straws, I decided to reinstall SP2 on his machine, see
    > whether that could possibly make a difference. It did. One service
    > pack later, and now I could see the FAT32 partition on his XP box
    > too. Fortunately I had a copy of the full pack on CD, all ~300 MB
    > worth.
    >
    > As regards the underlying problem, I have no idea whatever. It
    > beggars belief that his operating system had become just sufficiently
    > corrupted that the only noticeable problem was not being able to read
    > FAT32 drives, but unless and until another answer comes along that
    > fits the facts...
    >
    > Thanks for the attempts to help, folks.
    >
    > Brian.
    >

    SP 1 would probably fixed the problem also.

    --
    Michael Stevens MS-MVP XP
    xpnews@bogusmichaelstevenstech.com
    http://michaelstevenstech.com
    For a better newsgroup experience. Setup a newsreader.
    http://michaelstevenstech.com/outlookexpressnewreader.htm


    > On Wed, 27 Oct 2004 15:31:13 -0400, I wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> I'm trying to help out someone with setting up a backup procedure.
    >>
    >> There are two PCs to be backed up, a laptop running Windows Me (it's
    >> not capable of running 2000 or XP) and a desktop running Windows XP
    >> SP2.
    >>
    >> The backup device is an 80 GB external USB drive, and the aim is to
    >> get both backups on to the one external drive.
    >>
    >> I was under the impression that formatting the whole drive as one
    >> humongous FAT32 partition would work, that Windows XP would read and
    >> write either NTFS or FAT32. Seems it isn't that simple. :-(
    >>
    >> I created a primary partition on the external drive using the laptop
    >> (Win Me), let it take the whole 80 GB, formatted it and backed up
    >> the laptop. Everything OK so far.
    >>
    >> I then switched the external drive to the XP desktop, and found I
    >> couldn't see the drive. Fired up the disk administrator, and Windows
    >> XP thought the drive was all unallocated space.
    >>
    >> I then tried creating a smaller FAT32 partition, 20 GB to be exact,
    >> formatted that on the laptop and backed it up again without a
    >> problem. Switched the external drive to the XP machine, expecting to
    >> be able to create another partition to hold the XP backup. Nope. I
    >> looked at the drive in the disk administrator, once again it saw the
    >> whole 80GB as unallocated space.
    >>
    >> Does anyone have any idea what's going on? I was under the
    >> impression that XP could handle both NTFS and FAT32 partitions. Is
    >> there some kind of size limit for the FAT32 partition? Does it all
    >> need to be formatted on the XP box?
    >>
    >> Thanks for any assistance,
    >>
    >> Brian.
  9. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 20:27:02 -0800, "Michael Stevens" <mstevens@bogusmvps.org>
    wrote:

    >Brian Meadows wrote:
    >> For anyone still interested in this, the problem is solved, but
    >> things got really weird.
    >>
    >> I brought the external drive home and tried it on my XP box, and
    >> everything worked perfectly. Huh??
    >>
    >> So I went back with the drive and tried it on the original PC, just
    >> to be sure I wasn't hallucinating. Nope. ;-) What my XP box saw as a
    >> FAT32 volume, his XP box saw as unallocated space.
    >>
    >> Clutching at straws, I decided to reinstall SP2 on his machine, see
    >> whether that could possibly make a difference. It did. One service
    >> pack later, and now I could see the FAT32 partition on his XP box
    >> too. Fortunately I had a copy of the full pack on CD, all ~300 MB
    >> worth.
    >>
    >> As regards the underlying problem, I have no idea whatever. It
    >> beggars belief that his operating system had become just sufficiently
    >> corrupted that the only noticeable problem was not being able to read
    >> FAT32 drives, but unless and until another answer comes along that
    >> fits the facts...
    >>
    >> Thanks for the attempts to help, folks.
    >>
    >> Brian.
    >>
    >
    >SP 1 would probably fixed the problem also.


    Quite possibly - but since he already had SP2 installed, that seemed the more
    obvious choice.

    Brian.
  10. Archived from groups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.hardware (More info?)

    Brian Meadows wrote:
    > On Mon, 1 Nov 2004 20:27:02 -0800, "Michael Stevens"
    > <mstevens@bogusmvps.org> wrote:
    >
    >> Brian Meadows wrote:
    >>> For anyone still interested in this, the problem is solved, but
    >>> things got really weird.
    >>>
    >>> I brought the external drive home and tried it on my XP box, and
    >>> everything worked perfectly. Huh??
    >>>
    >>> So I went back with the drive and tried it on the original PC, just
    >>> to be sure I wasn't hallucinating. Nope. ;-) What my XP box saw as a
    >>> FAT32 volume, his XP box saw as unallocated space.
    >>>
    >>> Clutching at straws, I decided to reinstall SP2 on his machine, see
    >>> whether that could possibly make a difference. It did. One service
    >>> pack later, and now I could see the FAT32 partition on his XP box
    >>> too. Fortunately I had a copy of the full pack on CD, all ~300 MB
    >>> worth.
    >>>
    >>> As regards the underlying problem, I have no idea whatever. It
    >>> beggars belief that his operating system had become just
    >>> sufficiently corrupted that the only noticeable problem was not
    >>> being able to read FAT32 drives, but unless and until another
    >>> answer comes along that fits the facts...
    >>>
    >>> Thanks for the attempts to help, folks.
    >>>
    >>> Brian.
    >>>
    >>
    >> SP 1 would probably fixed the problem also.
    >
    >
    > Quite possibly - but since he already had SP2 installed, that seemed
    > the more obvious choice.
    >
    > Brian.

    I agree, but for the systems that SP2 breaks, SP 1 is an option. Just adding
    to your info.
    --
    Michael Stevens MS-MVP XP
    xpnews@bogusmichaelstevenstech.com
    http://michaelstevenstech.com
    For a better newsgroup experience. Setup a newsreader.
    http://michaelstevenstech.com/outlookexpressnewreader.htm
Ask a new question

Read More

External Drive Windows XP