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Can't seem to run Win XP on C: when partition is FAT32?

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August 15, 2010 11:45:54 AM

Not sure if I'm asking in the correct place here but I'll give it a go...


I have an Acer rebranded netbook and have wiped the existing partition on the hard disk.

It was NTFS with Windows XP Home, and I have deleted it and recreated as 2 partitions both as FAT32.



The netbook still has a hidden partition at the beginning of the disk called PQSERVICE which contains the restore data for everything.

So I ran this to test it, and it restored everything back to default, BUT the restoration process automatically changed the first partition back to NTFS. It didn't effect the 2nd partition which remained as FAT32.



I had considered using something like Partition Magic to convert the filesystem of this first partition back to FAT32, but am worried in case later down the line I would end up with data corruption due to this - can anyone confirm?


So scratch those ideas for now, not what I wanted. Deleted the partition again and recreated it as FAT32.


Reinstalled my own Windows XP Professional onto the FAT32 partition.

Everything was setup and installed etc. but on first reboot, I don't even get to the Windows XP logo screen - all I get is a black screen which flashing white cursor in the top left.




My thoughts:

(a) The netbook doesn't like the first partition being FAT32?
(b) The hidden PQSERVICE partition maybe has its own Master Boot Record which is over-riding the MBR on the Windows XP partition and for some reason it won't allow it to be FAT32?
(c) I have tried switching between both IDE and AHCI in BIOS as thought this may make a difference, but seems to have no effect on this?
(d) The netbook doesn't like me installing my own Win XP. This doesn't hold up though because if I install Windows 7 first, I can install XP as a Dual-Boot (on D: drive) and it works fine.



Never encountered this problem before so wondering if its something unique to Acer netbooks/laptops because of the PQSERVICE partition?


Anyone got any solutions that would allow me to use drive C: as FAT32?
August 15, 2010 2:16:46 PM

unidentified2010 said:
Not sure if I'm asking in the correct place here but I'll give it a go...


I have an Acer rebranded netbook and have wiped the existing partition on the hard disk.

It was NTFS with Windows XP Home, and I have deleted it and recreated as 2 partitions both as FAT32.



The netbook still has a hidden partition at the beginning of the disk called PQSERVICE which contains the restore data for everything.

So I ran this to test it, and it restored everything back to default, BUT the restoration process automatically changed the first partition back to NTFS. It didn't effect the 2nd partition which remained as FAT32.



I had considered using something like Partition Magic to convert the filesystem of this first partition back to FAT32, but am worried in case later down the line I would end up with data corruption due to this - can anyone confirm?


So scratch those ideas for now, not what I wanted. Deleted the partition again and recreated it as FAT32.


Reinstalled my own Windows XP Professional onto the FAT32 partition.

Everything was setup and installed etc. but on first reboot, I don't even get to the Windows XP logo screen - all I get is a black screen which flashing white cursor in the top left.




My thoughts:

(a) The netbook doesn't like the first partition being FAT32?
(b) The hidden PQSERVICE partition maybe has its own Master Boot Record which is over-riding the MBR on the Windows XP partition and for some reason it won't allow it to be FAT32?
(c) I have tried switching between both IDE and AHCI in BIOS as thought this may make a difference, but seems to have no effect on this?
(d) The netbook doesn't like me installing my own Win XP. This doesn't hold up though because if I install Windows 7 first, I can install XP as a Dual-Boot (on D: drive) and it works fine.



Never encountered this problem before so wondering if its something unique to Acer netbooks/laptops because of the PQSERVICE partition?


Anyone got any solutions that would allow me to use drive C: as FAT32?



XP will just about work in a FAT 32 setup but its native system is NTFS as the name suggests - XP is NT5.0. If you're sure you aren't going to want to revert to those factory settings, you could take the disk out and format the whole bang shoot as one drive - no partitions - format it in NTFS and install XP Professional on to it. The BIOS may still be tattooed by the OEM and could yet prevent you from installing from a non-OEM disk but someone else may have an answer to that.
August 15, 2010 4:16:47 PM

Why would you want to make the partitions FAT32? It has several disadvantages over NTFS and is not as resiliant.
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August 16, 2010 1:10:21 AM

Thanks for the responses guys, but obviously fans of NTFS.

I am not, so will still wait on an answer regarding how to get the FAT32 aspect working.
August 16, 2010 2:17:25 AM

the problem here is that the netbook is too new, XP doesn't have the setup drivers to run on this computer, especially if it has an atom processor or newer video, you have to rely on windows xp native drivers to install and it may not have them, you may have to make a custom install disc for this to work.
August 16, 2010 4:10:41 AM

Quote:
the problem here is that the netbook is too new, XP doesn't have the setup drivers to run on this computer, especially if it has an atom processor or newer video, you have to rely on windows xp native drivers to install and it may not have them, you may have to make a custom install disc for this to work.


But XP Home is installed by default, so that doesn't make any sense.

I can go one of 2 routes:

(a) wipe the drive completely, use FAT32 as filesystem and install XP Pro from my own disc
or
(b) use the Upgrade option and upgrade my XP Home to XP Pro.
I tried this and by using this method, the C: partition is already NTFS (because that was what the netbook restore process made it), so the upgrade does work fine, but this isn't what I want, because I want the C: drive to start out as FAT32. (I could use Partition Magic to convert the existing installation to FAT32, but am worried about the future problems this may cause).

Because (b) works, this makes me think it is a conflict with the hidden partition, which is also NTFS and so maybe it is expecting to see C: as NTFS.

^How can I correct this though?



Also, if I put Windows 7 on C: drive (Win 7 demands NTFS) and dual boot Windows XP Pro on D: (and I've made D: FAT32), this works.

Confused :S
August 16, 2010 6:14:11 AM

unidentified2010 said:
Thanks for the responses guys, but obviously fans of NTFS.

I am not, so will still wait on an answer regarding how to get the FAT32 aspect working.

I would be really interested to know what you have against NTFS. It is a much more modern fs than FAT32; it's only disadvantage is that Windows 98 and previous don't support it. In every other way - performance, resiliance, security it is a far superior fs.

It really is a bit short-sighted to be "not a fan" of NTFS without good reason.
August 16, 2010 6:32:44 AM

unidentified2010 said:
Quote:


^How can I correct this though?



Also, if I put Windows 7 on C: drive (Win 7 demands NTFS) and dual boot Windows XP Pro on D: (and I've made D: FAT32), this works.

Confused :S
Quote:


[#0005ff]Seems to me the only way to lose that hidden partition is to do what I suggested before - pull the disk and format it outside its own environment. Are you actually sure that Partition exists - does the arithmetic add up?

By the way, I'm not a "fan" of NTFS - merely a realist after nine years of using it with few problems.
[/#000ff]
August 16, 2010 3:49:19 PM

Quote:
Seems to me the only way to lose that hidden partition is to do what I suggested before - pull the disk and format it outside its own environment. Are you actually sure that Partition exists - does the arithmetic add up?

By the way, I'm not a "fan" of NTFS - merely a realist after nine years of using it with few problems.


It definitely exists as I've already pulled the disk, I used a caddy to format it as FAT32 as you can't use the Windows disc to format as FAT32 (it won't allow it).

Used Partition Magic and EaseUs and shows up in both as a Hidden Partition of type NTFS. I even made a backup so I can see what exactly is on it too - compressed Win XP installation (.wif file I think?)

My next thoughts were to make my own (.wif?) and replace the one that's on the hidden partition, though didn't want to risk this. Also considered remaking the hidden partition as FAT32 as well to see if this made a difference - again haven't tried this.



Anyone know a fix for this to make the Windows XP setup disc allow you to format as FAT32?




Quote:
I would be really interested to know what you have against NTFS. It is a much more modern fs than FAT32; it's only disadvantage is that Windows 98 and previous don't support it. In every other way - performance, resiliance, security it is a far superior fs.

It really is a bit short-sighted to be "not a fan" of NTFS without good reason.


I will agree that when it works, it is a better filesystem - that is without question. It when it doesn't however that concerns me and in that case I find prevention better than cure.

Even such a minor thing as a bad shutdown or power cut with NTFS I have found can cause data corruption.



As for FAT32, I use it where possible since Windows allowed it and have had next to no problems with it except its a little slower, but I can live with that.

NTFS on the other hand, if something ever becomes corrupted (by whatever means) and you need to recover, may as well forget it and start over. Yes the files can be found to appear with random numbers and letters but as for any structure, I may as well forget it!

Unless I've been using the wrong recovery programs?

Generally only ever had partial success with recovering anything from an NTFS system, usually found it better to cut your losses and begin all over again, but for getting data back, I'll stick with FAT32.

And those are my reasons.
August 16, 2010 6:49:59 PM

unidentified2010 said:
Quote:

Unless I've been using the wrong recovery programs?

Generally only ever had partial success with recovering anything from an NTFS system, usually found it better to cut your losses and begin all over again, but for getting data back, I'll stick with FAT32.

And those are my reasons.
Quote:



All I use as recovery programmes are the latest crop of Linux OS, which can write to the NTFS as well as just read from it and I've rescued several Terrabytes of peoples' personal files thus. I can't try this on a laptop hard disk at the moment but using Windows last evening to format a flash drive, I was offered the chance to format in FAT32 and even plain old FAT. Have you tried Control Panel>Computer Management>Disk Management? I can't think how a hard drive could be told apart from a flash drive if it's plugged in a caddy through USB.


August 16, 2010 7:45:39 PM

unidentified2010 said:
NTFS on the other hand, if something ever becomes corrupted (by whatever means) and you need to recover, may as well forget it and start over. Yes the files can be found to appear with random numbers and letters but as for any structure, I may as well forget it!

Well, I'd have to say that must be doing something wrong. NTFS, being a journaled file system, is far more resilient against problems caused by improper shutdown than FAT32. It can recreate lost data by replaying the journal.

I spent 17 years supporting a network with about (at the end) 750 Windows users and 20 or 30 Windows servers. In the early days of Windows 3, 95, and 98 data corruption of the sort that you describe was very common, but I can honestly say that I could count the number of such problems on NTFS machines on the fingers of two hands at the most. I can't remember ever ending up with an unrecoverable disk.

You really should need no recovery software other than chkdsk. A disk that is so corrupted that it can't be recovered by chkdsk would also be toast if it was a FAT system; but the chances of the disk ending up that way in the first place are very much less with NTFS.

It really would be surprising if a modern file system was less robust than one that has it's origins in the very birth of PCs! Just my experience.

Still - whatever suits you. (Although, it seems, in this instance it doesn't suit you.)
August 16, 2010 11:18:01 PM

Quote:
Well, I'd have to say that must be doing something wrong. NTFS, being a journaled file system, is far more resilient against problems caused by improper shutdown than FAT32. It can recreate lost data by replaying the journal.


I understand where you're coming from too, but only up to a point.

Any time I have had to undergo personal data recovery using NTFS, the journal was almost always corrupt, which caused recovery to be a complete nightmare. This almost always happened because the journal was being written to when the improper shutdown took place. I have never yet had a 100% successful NTFS recovery (ie. rebuilding the file structure and putting the files back exactly as they were).

With FAT32 though, it seems that even if the FAT table has been partially damaged, the majority of files can still be recovered as they were and those that don't appear in the correct place at least still appear in folders rather than as loose files.

Quote:
using Windows last evening to format a flash drive, I was offered the chance to format in FAT32 and even plain old FAT. Have you tried Control Panel>Computer Management>Disk Management? I can't think how a hard drive could be told apart from a flash drive if it's plugged in a caddy through USB.


Yes, Windows will allow the reformat of flash drives as FAT. But once a drive exceeds (I think 32gb or is it 40gb?) Windows INSISTS that it formats as NTFS.

Stupid Windows.
!