By: Walter Metcalf
Revision Date: 08/16/00
A maintenance partition is a very useful, bordering on essential, item to have
on your hard drive, but all too few people seem to have one. Maintenance partitions
have been of such useful service to me over the years that I wouldn't be without one.
The purpose of this revision is to add some material about large drives (>8GB) and
especially to provide additional information necessary to successfully create maintenance
partitions with the OS/2 Warp v4.5 kernel created by Fixpak 13 and higher fixpaks.
What is a maintenance partition? A maintenance partition is a small bootable
partition of your hard drive that contains a very minimal OS/2 system, preferably
on a different physical drive from your main OS/2 system. (When I say minimal, I
mean that 20 MB is more than enough hard drive space!) Its purpose is to perform
maintenance, from a simple chkdsk to a full restore, on the main system.
Neither of these functions can be performed while booted from the main system.
The purpose of this article is to show you how to make a maintenance partition,
something you'll use time and again.
To do this you'll need the free program BootOS/2. BootOS/2 is a program written
by IBM'er Ken Kahn and released as freeware under the IBM EWS (employee-written
software) program and designed to make bootable diskettes or partitions that are
customized to your hardware and software. Most of the files it uses are copied directly
from your boot drive. However, some are taken from your system CD, and a few are
contained in the BootOS/2 package itself. As mentioned earlier, it produces a very
small OS/2 system--one that will comfortably fit on any hard drive. It also has
a great many parameters to allow you to further customize your partition.1
The first step is to download BootOS/2. Next
create a new directory, and unzip BootOS/2 into it. You should spend a few minutes
looking over the documentation (BootOS2.doc), esp. the discussion of the parameters.
Even if you don't understand everything, it'll give you a feel for what the program
can do should you wish to customize your maintenance partition later.
The steps in creating a maintenance partition are:
Next Page > Customizing your Partition > Page 1 2
Using Partition Magic
(3.05 or higher), if you have it installed, or FDISK or DFSee if you don't, examine your hard drive(s) and determine where you want
to put it. If you have only one physical drive, it's simplest to put the maintenance partition
at the end of the drive. However, large drives (>8GB) require special considerations:
If you have more than one physical drive, it's better not to put it on the
same drive as your normal boot drive. On the other hand, putting it on the end of
the last drive means you won't have to change any drive letters in your system (except
for your cdrom). You decide which you prefer and which works out best in your system.
- All bootable partitions, including maintenance partitions, must lie within the first 2
GB of the physical drive.
- Partition Magic 3.0 will not work on large drives. You must upgrade to Partition Magic 4.0
or above, or use a different utility.
- You may encounter problems with FDISK.
- See my series on Large Disk Problems and Solutions
for more information.
(If you're going to use Fdisk, you MUST back up the complete physical drive on which
you're going to make the partition because the following procedure will destroy
all existing data!) Using Partition Magic or FDisk to create some free space
at the desired location by resizing (and possibly moving) existing partition(s)--25-30
MB is plenty. Create the partition--and this is important--add it to the Boot Manager
and give it a name. Shutdown and restart your system.
If you've used Fdisk, then reformat the existing partitions in the original formats
and restore the files you backed up in step 2 to the original existing partitions.
This step is NOT necessary if you've used Partition Magic 3.0. (BTW, I have no relationship
to PowerQuest, the manufacturer of Partition Magic.)
Now you need to use BootOS/2 to actually create the maintenance partition.
To create the simplest possible maintenance partition, with Fixpak 13 or 14
on your main system, type:
BOOTOS2 SOURCE=x:\OS2\INSTALL\BOOTDISK; TARGET=m FORMAT:HPFS
where x is your BOOT drive and m is the maintenance partition drive letter.2
The FORMAT:HPFS parameter is necessary to avoid any problems with boot drives above
1024 cylinders. (You may format the partition as FAT if the entire partition fits
under the 1024 cylinder boundary. Note: the specific location of this boundary will
depend on your computer's hardware and the software installed thereon.)
If, on the other hand you are running with Fixpak 12 or less on your main system,
put your OS/2 Warp CD in your cdrom drive replace the
SOURCE=x:\OS2\INSTALL\BOOTDISK in the above command with
SOURCE=y:\OS2IMAGE\DISK_0, where y: is the CDROM drive.