FREEware Windows Disk Partitioning, Formatting,Backup & Restore Toolss

  1. 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:
    FDISK /?
    or:
    HELP FDISK
    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 than 64 GB [English patch].
    More info.
    LIMITATIONS:

    More FDISK details:

     

  2. 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].
    More info.
    Newest and most compatible CVT.EXE is found on Windows ME setup CD.
    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).
    Run CVT.EXE from a floppy/CD/DVD boot disk or from a hard disk/partition other than the one you want to convert, because if the conversion ends with errors, data on respective disk will be lost.
    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.
    More info.
    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. 

  3. 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
  4. To create FAT32 partitions smaller than 528 MB or to convert FAT16 partitions to FAT32 and BACK:

 

  • Eraser v6.0.8 for Windows 9x/NT4/2000/ME/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7 + 16-bit for DOS safely and completely deletes sensitive data by securely overwriting it with unrecoverable patterns:
    Direct download [8.8 MB, free GPL]. 

    IMPORTANT: Run ANY DOS based partitioning/formatting tool ONLY from the native/real/true/pure 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 Microsoft DrvSpace/DblSpace compression scheme! The ONLY disk compression tool that recognizes (but does NOT compress) FAT32/FAT32X partitions/disks is included on the 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 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.
  •  

    UPDATE: “Thanks for the FAT32 analysis – very comprehensive and understandable. I have only one suggestion:
    You might consider a mention of users with Compressed Hard Drives who cannot use FAT32 and for whom Partition Magic is of little use. Of course, this applies to older machines with their small hard drives, but I read that the average age of PCs in use is about 3 years with many machines well past the 5 year mark. Many of these probably can’t or don’t run Win9x for various reasons, but for those that do, the substitute to FAT32 is DriveSpace which comes with Microsoft Plus! for Win95 [the Desktop Themes and Pinball game are just space wasting fluff to those with small hard drives]. As a result of using DriveSpace [on a 250 MB hard drive] the cluster size on C: is 8,192 bytes and on H: [the C: Host drive] is 4,096 bytes. The other caveat: minimize cluster waste by deleting unused files, zip several files together if appropriate and send files/programs off to portable drives if possible. If stuck with a small hard drive, apply a “worthy to keep” test to every file that is added.”
    [Thank you Ojatex!]

    – Source: http://www.mdgx.com/

    One thought on “FREEware Windows Disk Partitioning, Formatting,Backup & Restore Toolss

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