DISK PARTITIONING, FORMATTING, BACKUP + RECOVERY TOOLS
- FDISK.EXE is a 16-bit DOS based command line driven tool, the "de facto" Microsoft partitioning utility, located in %winbootdir%\COMMAND (default is C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND) [Windows 95/98/ME, a.k.a. MS-DOS 7.00/7.10/8.00] or in the MS-DOS 6.00/6.20/6.21/6.22 directory (default is C:\DOS or C:\MSDOS).
Its purpose is to display boot, disk and partition information, modify existing partitions, create new ones and/or delete the ones you want on all installed fixed hard disk(s), but ONLY WITH COMPLETE DATA LOSS! :(
Starting with Windows 95B OSR 2.0 FDISK has the capability of creating FAT32 partitions of minimum 512 MB on existent drive(s), and of converting your current FAT16 partitions to FAT32, but NOT the other way around WITHOUT COMPLETE DATA LOSS!
IMPORTANT: To become familiar with the FDISK.EXE command line switches (the documented ones anyway), run one of these commands from any DOS prompt:
to display the FDISK.EXE help screen.
Install fixed FDISK.EXE for Windows 98/98 SP1/98 SE(U) to properly detect hard disks larger then 64 GB [U.S. English patch].
LIMITATION: MS-DOS 5/6 + Windows 95/98/ME FDISK does NOT recognize hard disks larger than 137 GB (48-bit LBA function).
More FDISK details:
- Another Windows 95B/95C OSR 2.x, 98 and ME FAT32 conversion DOS mode 16-bit tool comes also from Microsoft: CVT.EXE [62 KB, free, unsupported].
CVT.EXE preserves disk data integrity. Requires to specify the drive letter to convert. Running CVT without command line parameters displays the help screen.
Windows 98/ME users can find CVT.EXE in %winbootdir%\COMMAND (usually C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND).
The Win98/98 SE version of CVT.EXE may NOT work from native MS-DOS! In this case use the Windows GUI version (Cvt1.exe = see below).
The little known /CVT32 parameter works ONLY with the Win98/98 SP1/98 SE(U) version of CVT.EXE and allows FAT32 conversion in native MS-DOS mode. Example:
CVT.EXE D: /CVT32
This MS TechNet article details all available CVT.EXE parameters.
How to use the WinME version of CVT.EXE.
[Thank you ERPMan!]
You canNOT convert a FAT32 partition back to FAT16 using CVT.EXE!
CVT requires a minimum of 500 KB of free DOS memory. To avoid error messages like:
"Not enough memory (system) resources"
while running CVT, disable the loading of some of your DOS mode devices/TSRs, by adding REM in front of the respective lines in your CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT, or use an upper memory manager (like MS EMM386.EXE or UMBPCI.SYS) to load them all "high", in upper memory (UMA). Edit your startup files using EDIT.COM in DOS or Notepad/Sysedit in Windows. Reboot when done.
- Windows 98, 98 SE(U) and ME include a graphical FAT32 conversion tool (Cvt1.exe, located in %windir% = default is C:\WINDOWS), capable of converting your existing FAT16 partitions to FAT32 (528 MB minimum size), but NOT the other way around!
Cvt1.exe actually provides a front end (GUI) to running the CVT.EXE DOS mode tool (see above), also included with Win98/98 SE(U)/ME (in C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND), but adds extensive help to guide you through the entire process.
To access the FAT32 conversion tool: click the Start button -> Programs -> Accessories -> System Tools -> FAT32 Converter.
- To create FAT32 partitions smaller than 528 MB or to convert FAT16 partitions to FAT32 and BACK:
- WITH data loss: see the UNDOCUMENTED FDISK page.
- WITHOUT data loss: get a 3rd party [free(ware)] utility like:
- Ranish Partition Manager v2.44 Beta 16-bit for DOS creates, deletes, resizes and formats FAT16/FAT32 hard disk partitions, includes Advanced Boot Manager.
Direct download [136 KB, postcardware].
- Partition Resizer v1.3.4 16-bit for DOS + Windows 9x/ME (re)partitions/resizes FAT16/FAT32 hard disk partitions up to 2 TB (TeraBytes) without data loss, supports advanced command line options.
Direct download [97 KB, freeware].
- FIPS v2.0 16-bit for DOS FAT32 dynamic nondestructive hard disk (re)partitioner.
Direct download [158 KB, free GPL].
Courtesy of Tony.
- Free FDISK v1.3.0 16-bit [also part of FreeDOS] improved Microsoft FDISK.EXE replacement for DOS partitions/resizes hard disks up to 180 GB, supports Microsoft's FDISK undocumented parameters, FAT32 and non-DOS partitions, extended command line for batch disk cloning, includes BootEasy compact multiboot loader, highly customizable.
Direct download [195 KB, free GPL].
Courtesy of Brian, author of Free FDISK.
- XFDisk v0.9.3 Beta 16-bit for DOS, Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003, Linux and OS/2 partitions/resizes hard disks up to 1 TB, includes Boot Manager.
Direct download [41 KB, free GPL, English].
- Symantec GDISK.EXE v22.214.171.124 16-bit improved Microsoft FDISK.EXE replacement for MS-DOS 5/6, Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003 and Unix/Linux creates/deletes, (un)hides and (un)formats hard disk partitions, supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS and ext2.
Direct download [259 KB, free].
- TestDisk v5.5 32 + 16 bit for DOS, Windows 3.x/9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003, Linux, BeOS, FreeBSD and NetWare checks/undeletes deleted/lost hard disk partitions (free GPL):
- Symantec Partition Magic v8.0 32 + 16 bit for Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003, MS-DOS 5/6, OS/2 + Linux is the ultimate hard disk partitioning tool (retail): creates, deletes, moves, resizes, copies, merges, formats, converts, restores "on-the-fly" ANY hard disk partitions up to 2 TB (TeraBytes) without data loss, from an intuitive interface. You can even safely copy entire partitions to the destination of your choice, provided you have enough disk space. :)
Includes PQ Boot Manager for Windows.
Supports: FAT16 [Win9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003 + DOS], FAT32 [Win98/OSR2/2000/ME/XP/2003], NTFS [WinNT/2000/XP/2003], NTFS5 [Win2000/XP/2003], HPFS [OS/2] + ext2/ext3 [Linux].
- PowerQuest Partition Table + Boot Record Info + Editing tools 16 + 32 bit (free):
- BootPart v2.50 32-bit for Windows NT/2000/XP adds extra/hidden OS/2 + Linux partitions to the Boot Menu by creating boot sector files in C:\ root (which MUST be FAT16!).
Direct download [27 KB, freeware, English].
- SavePart v2.80 16-bit partition copy/save/restore tool for DOS, saves entire partitions as files provided enough free space, supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, ext2, ext3, highly customizable.
Direct download [362 KB, freeware, English].
- Microsoft DelPart 16-bit [part of Windows NT 3.1 Resource Kit (RK)] for Windows NT/2000/XP + DOS deletes (hidden) NTFS drives/partitions.
Direct download [4 MB, free].
- MBRWork v1.07b 16-bit MBR/EMBR save/restore tool for MS-DOS 5/6 + Windows 9x/ME.
Direct download [16 KB, freeware].
- SRC Tools R5 16-bit boot/MBR/FAT16/FAT32 save/restore tools for MS-DOS 5/6 + Windows 9x/ME [9 KB, freeware].
- FORMAT.EXE v0.91 16-bit [also part of FreeDOS] improved Microsoft FORMAT.COM replacement for MS-DOS 5/6 + Windows 9x/ME [86 KB, free GPL].
- DRVEXCH.COM v0.4.2 16-bit TSR for MS-DOS 5/6 + Windows 9x/ME reassigns/swaps drive/partition letters according to physical hard disk numbers.
Direct download [14 KB, free GPL].
- Drive Rescue v1.9d 32-bit [discontinued :(] for Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP/2003 hard drive data recovery tool and disk editor, supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, highly customizable.
Direct download [985 KB, freeware].
Recovery Tips DOC [100 KB, free].
- Restorer2000 Free DEMO v2.0 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP restores deleted files < 64 KB, supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, highly customizable.
Direct download [1.31 MB, freeware].
- PC Inspector File Recovery v3.0 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 data recovery tool supports FAT12/16/32 + NTFS, finds FAT (not NTFS) partitions automatically even if boot sector or FAT erased/damaged, recovers files with original time/date stamp, supports saving recovered files on network drives, recovers files even if header entry not available, includes Special Recovery Function for many file types, highly customizable.
Direct download [2.81 MB, freeware].
- Restoration v2.5.14 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 restores deleted files even if removed from Recycle Bin, supports FAT16, FAT32, NTFS, highly customizable.
Direct download [164 KB, freeware].
- HDCopy v2.104 16-bit DOS tool for Windows 9x/ME copies entire fixed drive/partition to any other available FAT16/FAT32 formatted fixed drive/partition only if target drive equal to or larger than source drive.
Direct download [121 KB, freeware].
- Ontrack Data Advisor v5.0 16-bit DOS hard disk low level diagnostic and recovery tool for MS-DOS 5/6 and Windows 9x/NT/2000/ME/XP.
Direct download [1.9 MB, free].
- Disk Investigator v1.2 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP displays all hidden hard disk info by bypassing the OS: true contents, raw sectors, directories, files, clusters + system sectors, undeletes previously deleted files, highly customizable.
Direct download [535 KB, freeware].
- Stats 2000 v1.8 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP displays detailed hard disk statistics in 3D graphical format, highly customizable.
Direct download [772 KB, freeware].
- EyeDrives v3.4 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP displays free, used + total disk space on all installed floppy, hard, CD/DVD, optical, removable, backup, network etc drives/partitions, memory and resource usage.
Direct download [1.12 MB, freeware].
- Drive Scanner v2.6 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP displays files + directories usage on all installed floppy, hard, CD/DVD, optical, removable, backup, network etc drives/partitions in a pie chart.
Direct download [162 KB, freeware].
- HDClone Free Edition v2.0 16-bit for Windows 3.x/9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003, MS-DOS 5/6/7/8 + Linux/Unix duplicates entire HD contents to another (which must be of equal or larger capacity) at physical level, includes proprietary Sphere SP Operating System, works independent of existing OS(es), fits on a floppy.
Direct download [495 KB, freeware].
Requires IDE/SCSI Hard Disk Controller + bootable floppy/CD/DVD drive.
- SyncBack v3.2.7 32-bit for Windows 98/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 backs up, synchronizes + restores disks, folders or files to same or different/removable media, ZIP archive or network, highly customizable.
Direct download [1.9 MB, freeware].
- Backup4All v1.3.0 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 is one of the most powerful disk + file backup + restore tools: Backup Wizard, Backup Scheduler, multiple file filter sets, incremental backups, multiple scheduled backups, customizable ZIP compression levels, customizable restores also supported by standard unzipping tools, supports all local and mapped network drive letters, UNC paths and removable media, CD-R(W)/DVD-R(W) etc, highly customizable.
Direct download [2.08 MB, freeware].
- Cobian Backup v126.96.36.199 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 multi-threaded backup tool: backup scheduler, backup file sets, integrated ZIP compression, multilanguage support, password protection, supports all local and mapped network drive letters, UNC paths, removable media and FTP, runs as app or service (WinNT4/2000/XP/2003 only), highly customizable.
Direct download [4.17 MB, free].
- SyncBack Freeware v3.2.3 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 backup + synchronization tool: Easy Mode + Expert Mode, backup to same/different drive, supports CD-R(W), DVD-R(W), CompactFlash, FTP server, Network, ZIP archive, highly customizable.
Direct download [1.68 MB, freeware].
- ImageMaker v1.1 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 backs up/restores hard drives/partitions by creating disk images independent of file system/OS, target drive must be equal to or larger than source drive, includes Disk Management Control Panel applet, highly customizable.
Direct download [495 KB, freeware].
- Replicator v2.2.3 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 automatically/periodically backs up local/remote/network files, directories and/or drives/partitions, highly customizable.
Direct download [1.36 MB, freeware].
- Eraser v5.7 32-bit for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003 safely and completely deletes sensitive data by securely overwriting it with unrecoverable patterns.
Direct download [2.68 MB, free GPL].
- Recover CHK Files tools (free GPL).
IMPORTANT: Run ANY DOS based partitioning/formatting tool ONLY from the native/real/true MS-DOS mode OUTSIDE Windows GUI, NOT from a DOS box/session/window INSIDE Windows, even full screen!
- 3rd party disk partitioning tools that provide support for FAT32X (retail):
FAT32/FAT32X partitions are NOT compatible with the Microsoft Drvspace/Dblspace compression scheme! The ONLY disk compression tool that recognizes (but does NOT compress) FAT32/FAT32X partitions/disks is included on the MS Windows 98/ME Setup cd-roms!
So far there is NO disk compression scheme (software) able to compress/double FAT32/FAT32X partitions.
- Microsoft FAT32 Evaluation Tool [part of Windows 98 Resource Kit (RK)] included on the MS Windows 98 Setup CD-ROM [97 KB, free] works also with Windows 95B/95C OSR 2.x, 98 SP1, 98 SE(U) and ME. Shows all your drives/partitions specs, sizes and the disk space saved should you decide to convert existing FAT16 partition(s)/disk(s) to FAT32.