Large Disk Solutions

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 06/14/00

Third-Party Solutions

In the previous article we looked at the reasons behind most of the problems caused by modern large disk drives. In this article we shall look at some of the solutions to these problems.

Since IBM has not updated FDISK and Boot Manager for large hard drives, users have been forced to search elsewhere for solutions to their partitioning and multiple-operating system needs. This article does not attempt to present a complete list of vendors who have solutions OS/2 users might find useful. A more complete discussion of that topic can be found one of my earlier series Boot Manager Shootout. The discussion here will be limited to two products and combinations thereof that I have found particularly successful in dealing with the problems outlined in the previous section.

  1. Partition Magic Although I stated earlier that the current versions of Partition Magic (the only versions that support large hard drives) no longer have OS/2 code, they still are quite useful to knowledgeable OS/2 users. Partition Magic 5.0, the current version, has three important features that contribute to this usefulness: HPFS support, a fully functional DOS GUI version of Partition Magic 5.0, and a DOS utility called PTEDIT, about which more will be said later.

    1. HPFS Support HPFS Support remains unchanged from previous versions of Partition Magic, except that logical drives are not displayed in the PM menus.

    2. The DOS version of PM 5.0 has all the functionality of the Windows version. Moreover it can be started by booting from a special pair of diskettes.

      1. Most of the time the DOS version avoids creating the dreaded ExtendedX partition described earlier. However, to be safe, always select the extended partition and click on the blue Information Tool, and verify that the Partition Type is Extended (05) just before exiting Partition Magic.

      2. I strongly recommend wherever possible you avoid the Windows version of Partition Magic 5.0 because in my testing it always tries to create (or convert the existing Extended to) an ExtendedX partition, and therefore can cause serious problems for OS/2.

    3. PTEDIT

      1. If in spite of all your care, you find your Extended Partition (Type 05) has become the dreaded ExtendedX (Type 0F) partition, all is not lost. You can use the utility PTEDIT (Partition Edit) to convert the Type 0F partition into the normal Type 05 (Extended) partition by the following this procedure:

        1. Select the Type column of the Type 0F partition; verify that the Partition Information box says "Extended X".

        2. Click on the Set Type button.

        3. Highlight "05 Extended" from the pop-up list.

        4. Click on "OK", and then click on "Save Changes".

        5. If you are sure you have done everything correctly, click on "Yes".

        6. Once you have carefully verified your changes, exit the utility by clicking on the "X" at the top right of the window.

        NOTE: It cannot be stressed enough that you must be VERY CAREFUL when using PTEDIT. When using this utility, you are directly editing the Master Boot Partition, and one mistake could easily render your ENTIRE HARD DRIVE unusable! Properly used, however, PTEDIT is a valuable tool. If you have the CD version, you will find it in the \UTILITY\DOS directory. After Partition Magic 5 has been installed you can also find it in the "\UTILITY\DOS" subdirectory of the directory containing Partition Magic 5.

  2. Recommended Strategy

    Because the OS/2 drivers have been been kept up-to-date, I recommend that when you first get you get your new large hard drive, you partition it with FDISK for OS/2 and then format it under OS/2. Among other things, this avoids certain limitations within Partition Magic for DOS such as a maximum partition size. After that use Partition Magic for DOS to resize and move partitions. (Note: Because of the maximum partition size limitation mentioned above, it is a good idea to keep your partition sizes a reasonable size--say under 3 GB.

Next week we'll look at several products that successfully handle boot menus under in multi-operating system environment. Be sure to check back then!

Walter Metcalf

Next week: Boot menus under Diverse Operating Systems, Part 3

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