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October 2001

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Partitioning Harddrives under OS/2 - Part 1

By Eric Baerwaldt © October 2001, Translation: Christian Hennecke

Editor's note: This article does not give consideration to potential problems, which can result from the use of LVM. If you use LVM for the Partitionng of your fixed disks, you should also read Eirik Overbys article LVM, FDISK and Partition Magic as well as A Short Introduction to LVM and JFS by Michal Necasek, before you make modifications with PartitionMagic.

In times of more and more complex and powerful operating systems, permanently growing masses of data, and fast-paced development in the area of mass storage, especially harddrive technology, maintenance tools for harddrives become more and more important.

Let's recall the fact that in the second half of the eighties you could have been proud to own a harddisk with the fantastic capacity of 30MBs; back then even computers with two floppy drives but without a harddisk were sold. The whole operating system, mostly DOS 3.3 or DR-DOS 3.41 at that time, fit on a single floppy with 720KB capacity. If you didn't by chance work with a UNIX machine, you probably knew only the FAT filesystem, which is still used for DOS today.

Not long ago the first harddrives with a capacity of 180GB have been introduced. These drives can store about 6140 times more data than a 30MB drive.

Since the early nineties with the rise of graphical user interfaces in the PC sector (the Apple Macintosh introduced such an interface several years earlier) and especially since 1995, we have seen the resource demand of software grow at increasing speed. Mainly certain operating systems, but also the accompanying software packages, have tried to deceive users with animated tittle-tattle and awful and useless "Clippy" assistants about seemingly user-friendliness. Besides the disgusting need to update a machine's hardware with each software update, this waste of resources causing the systems' overall performance and stability to degrade also has another undesired side-effect: The enormous amounts of data decrease the system's transparency and confront the non-expert user with ever-growing problems in case of crashes, as often the lack of a clearly identifiable error cause results in the need to re-install the complete system including all applications. Happy he who has made complete backups of his harddrives or - even better - who has invested in maintaining his pool of data.

On OS/2 Warp such crashes are quite uncommon and even more rarely result in a re-installation of the operating system and all applications, but anyway any user, who works with OS/2 Warp or eComStation, should make himself acquainted with the partitioning and the filesystem of his harddrives to achieve optimum performance and cure some weaknesses that are described below.

FAT versus HPFS

Out of the box OS/2 Warp supports two filesystems for harddrives, FAT (File Allocation Table) and HPFS (High Performance File System). The latter was introduced in 1989 together with OS/2 version 1.2, after the realization that FAT isn't suitable for professional data administration due to its many weaknesses and disadvantages. For the record, I will sum up the most important disadvantages in the following:

  1. Due to the FAT file system's positioning of files, the data on the harddrive becomes fragmented in a short time, which results in performance degradation unless there are regular defragmentation runs applied. Those defragmentation runs done via certain tools that have to be run under DOS require more and more time as the harddisk size grows. This is also applicable for the proprietary FAT32 file system that have been introduced by Microsoft with their several kinds of Windows 9x and ME operating systems.
  2. Since the number of administrable clusters is limited to 65536 under DOS, the cluster size increases proportionally to the increasing capacity of the harddrives and more and more room for storage is wasted. In case of large cluster sizes many kilobytes remain unused if only a small file is stored. On large harddrives this effect can easily result in several hundred megabytes of wasted space.
  3. The FAT file system only allows for filenames of eight plus three characters, separated by a dot, while spaces and certain special characters may not be used for filenames.
  4. DOS only knows a few attributes for its files and no descriptive names. The capability of recognizing extended attributes of other file systems can only be added via special tools - which are mostly only available as shareware. Adding such attributes under DOS is only possible in a few special cases - also with the need for special tools.

HPFS, which has been available in all OS/2 versions since 1.2, fully takes account for the heavy demands made to a professional operating system and eradicates the disadvantages of the FAT file system. As with other modern technologies introduced by IBM, the use of HPFS comes with a price: It is incompatible to FAT, HPFS partitions won't be detected by DOS without the use of special tools, a number of which are available as shareware. [Editor's note: Most of which are not supported and cannot be registered any longer.] Files that adhere to the HPFS standards (e.g. the use of long filenames with up to 254 characters) are not accessible from DOS in all cases.1

Because of the limitations of FAT it seems advisable to use HPFS exclusively on OS/2 Warp, if larger and larger harddisks are in the system. Those who already run eComStation should apply JFS (Journaling File System), which is well-known from OS/2 Warp Server for e-business and included in eComStation and offers some more advantages over HPFS.

Some users may want or have to get back on running old DOS applications though, which can not or only partially be run successfully on HPFS. It is also a good idea to divide a harddisk of several gigabytes into a number of partitions to test new applications on a separate partition or to store a backup in an own partition, for instance. Those who also run different versions of OS/2 Warp, e.g. to be able to test-drive their newly developed applications, are forced to use several partitions anyway.

Several vendors offer very useful and convenient tools for creating new partitions on a harddrive, saving, enlarging or shrinking existing ones, installing different file systems or maintaining harddisks. In the following I will describe their basic options and features using the market-leaders PartitionMagic and DriveImage from PowerQuest as an example.


DriveImage from PowerQuest is an extremely useful tool for saving everything from single partitions to whole harddisks. Meanwhile it has arrived at version 4.0 and I recommend it as a safe, stable and flexible backup solution if you need to partition existing harddrives anew or want to avoid data loss and severe problems arising from the spites of the Windows operating systems.

Features list

DriveImage is a DOS-based tool. Besides FAT, also HPFS is supported, as are the Windows file systems VFAT, FAT32B, FAT32X and NTFS. Furthermore, there is some support for Linux, UNIX and NetWare. Regarding the latter three, note the following limitations: Data is copied by sector and there will be no links to harddisk-internal addresses modified on the target data carrier. As a result, these partitions won't be bootable.

On OS/2 Warp the named limitations don't exist. Among other things DriveImage offers speeding up the data carrier's replication several times compared to other sector-copy tools with the patented »Smart- Sector« technology. This is achieved by scanning the source data carrier and only copying the sectors that actually contain data to the target. Besides being a time saver, this innovative way of file handling has another big advantage: valuable harddisk space is saved. Moreover, also removable media can be used with DriveImage. The tool already comes with the required drivers for the widely-used ZIP and JAZ drives from Iomega as well as for SyQuest tape drives with both SCSI and parallel interfaces kinds being supported.

Besides the copy and backup tools DriveImage also contains "MagicMover" and "DriveMapper", which are also part of PartitionMagic and are described in the related section of this article.

How to make it work

There are two ways for OS/2 users to use DriveImage: If the harddisks in question only contain one or more OS/2 partitions, create the two diskettes according to the manual, on which DriveImage installs a basic, bootable DOS (disk one) and itself (disk two).

If you have a native, bootable DOS partition on a source harddisk, DriveImage can be install to it and operate from there.

Caution is advisable for all users of later IBM PS/2 systems (types 9556/57, 9576/77, 9585, 9590, 9595), some IBM ThinkPad models like 750, 755, 760 and 765, and of high-end IBM PC servers, mostly the 95, 500, 520 and 720 series: Those who use an ED floppy disk drive, which is common with the above mentioned systems, have to work around a bug in the installation routine of DriveImage and also of Partitions Magic which is described in detail below: Both tools format the floppies intended for installation at first. Since they both don't check the media and the drive, the HD-disks which are required for the installation will be formatted with a capacity of 2,88MB and usually be unusable. To work around this, you need to format both disks elsewhere using the parameter /F:1440KB before executing the DriveImage installer. After calling the DriveImage installer from the subdirectory OS2DOS of the CD-ROM by issuing MAKEDISK A:, the formatting routine must be cancelled immediately by pressing <CTRL-C>. Then DriveImage starts copying the system and program files.

It will explicitly ask you, if you wish to install driver support for ZIP, JAZ or SyQuest drives. If you - like most users - only want to use harddrives as both source and target drives, you can disallow the installation of drivers for removable media.

If you want to install DriveImage to a harddrive with an existing, bootable DOS partition, then just enter:

makedisk c:
. The installer will detect that the target drive is a harddisk and switches over to installing the main programs without calling the formatter.

Unfortunately, neither the well-done and in-depth manual nor the READMEs deal with these installation options and the problems with ED floppy drives.

There are further potential problems with installing DriveImage and SCSI controllers and SCSI harddisks. The README.TXT file on the DriveImage CD-ROM lists a larger number of compatible SCSI controllers and their ASPI drivers. This list is not complete, unfortunately. For MCA systems only a few Adaptec and Trantor controllers are listed, RAID controllers are completely ignored, the widely-used Future Domain SCSI controllers don't show up either - independent from the supported bus system -, and also other manufacturers that are mostly known in Germany like Dawi Control are only mentioned in the margin. Exotics like e.g. CE Infosystems, who are known for their close cooperation with IBM and who have also distributed SCSI cache controllers, have been dropped. In principle, every SCSI controller that supports software interrupt 13h is compatible with DriveImage. During my tests on several machines, for which I used - among others - an IBM PS/2 77s system with a Future Domain SCSI-II controller with three SCSI harddrives of different standards attached, I didn't encounter any problems.

Mixed use of IDE and SCSI media is also no problem. For testing purposes, I installed a mixed configuration of one IDE harddrive and three SCSI drives on the above mentioned IBM PS/2 77s, which worked flawlessly without crashes or technical problems for a longer duration. The IDE drive slowed down the system considerably due to lacks in this system's technical design. Meanwhile the EIDE-UDMA interfaces specifications have come very close to those of current SCSI systems speedwise. But reality shows that - also due to the better hardware of harddrives - the SCSI technology is still some steps ahead, especially when a larger number of devices is connected..

After successful installation, DriveImage creates images of the existing partitions or the whole selected harddisk according to the users preferences and saves them to an image file from which the content can be restored should any problems arise. For this image file a FAT partition is mandatory as the target drive. Luckily, DriveImage also accepts a FAT partition in a logical drive, so one hasn't to sacrifice a primary partition for the image files.

Upon startup DriveImage spends a short time on analyzing the mass storage configuration and then the main display shows up, which only has three main options: Create image, Restore image, and Media to media. The last item is only of interest for users who have more than one harddrive and wish to create an image of a whole drive (and any partition on it). Those who want to only mirror selected partitions, which are located on the same drive, use item Create image. The next screen prompts you to select the source partition(s) and after advancing you can enter the image file's filename, using the complete drive and path. Invalid names (e.g. if the target partition has not been formatted yet) are detected and the user is notified. The user has to ensure that a free partition with a driveletter exists. Copying the image file to the active partition is impossible. The next screen allows to select the rate of compression for the image file: If you have only a little free space, you should select High. After that, all selected options are displayed again and you can enter a new window by clicking on Special options that offers setup for some special cases. A password can be applied to the image file to protect it against unwanted access. You can also divide it up into several files, which is very useful if you want to use removable media.

One click on the Finish button and the file is created. A large window shows the copying process's progress. The image file's creating can take some time as the system is also going to verify the data carrier's integrity - unless you have de-activated this option in the Special options screen. The required time will also increase if you have selected a High compression rate. The rate varies between 25 and 60 percent depending on whether the partition contains only data or also executables.

Restoring image files works the other way round. DriveImage will restore bootable partitions as such again.

As a conclusion I can honestly say that DriveImage is not only a power- and useful tool, but also quite intuitive to use. If you have to backup large amounts of data or even whole drives regularly, you won't find anything better on the market and the roughly US$50 are invested well. PowerQuest also offers a so-called professional version that includes Partitions Magic as well as an own script language to ease automating backups in larger networks considerably. The professional version can be used on an unlimited number of workstations.

PowerQuest PartitionMagic

PartitionMagic is the "oldie" and at the same time the most feature-rich tool for partitioning and maintenance of harddrives and meanwhile available as version 6.0. [Editor's note: The latest is 7.0, but support for HPFS has been dropped.]

Originally, Partitionmagic had been developed as a native OS/2 application and up to version 3.xx it offered an OS/2-compliant user-interface. Unfortunately, development of the OS/2 version was cancelled with version 4.xx due to the pressure in the operating system market. Starting with version 4.0 PartitionMagic didn't offer OS/2 programs anymore, but a number of DOS tools with a new graphical user interface that was very similar to the one of Microsoft Windows. Besides the shortcomings in usability these versions offered a number of advantages over the older versions as well as a some feature extensions, so we ought to have a look at version 6.0 of PartitionMagic, also. To enable a comparison with the best native OS/2 version, I will first describe PartitionMagic 3.04, which is not sold anymore. Except for a few submenu items the user interface has the same structure as the current version.

Version 3.04

Version 3.04 of PartitionMagic, which had been introduced in 1997 and was available until 1999, was the last version of PartitionMagic to include a collection of native OS/2 programs with the respective GUI. After starting the installer from the \OS2 folder on the CD-ROM, a folder with the same name is created on the desktop and contains the very package plus the tools PQBoot and PartInfo besides the README.

PQBoot is a text-mode DOS program for switching between primary partitions on harddrives without a bootmanager installed. PQBoot can be called with several options. Administrators will find the interactive mode's possibility to check if the selected harddrive really contains several primary and bootable partitions of advantage. PartInfo is a commandline tool and provides and overview of the harddrive's structure. The programs detects the physical status of all data carriers in the system, i.e. number of partitions, installed file systems, partition sizes, boot capability, etc. The detected values can be printed so you can save them for later.

The main program is much more complex of course: The main display (see figure 1) of Partition Magic includes all necessary information about the existing data carriers. At the top left you can find the total size of the first physical data carrier. If the system has more harddrives, you can have all data for a drive displayed by selecting the respective drive.

Partition Magic 3
Fig.1: Partition Magic 3.04 main display

The bar graph in the middle of the main display shows the partitions on the drive and their basic attributes like primary or extended partition and logical drive. By using different colors, the user is able to immediately see which file system the partitions have been formatted with.

If you click on either one of the displayed bars or on the data displayed below (partition type and size, file system, usage, name), you can invoke detailed information on the lower left of the window under Options or, if you select the size field, change the partition size. Furthermore, besides information on drive and partition usage you can also start a physical error check via the submenu item Details. PartitionMagic does this reliably for both FAT and HPFS partitions.

PartitionMagic's real strengths are accessed via the submenus Options and Special. Options includes not only the widely used items Check, Copy, Create, Delete, Format, Details and Name, but also Cluster analysis and Move.

The Cluster analysis feature (see figure 2), which is only available for the DOS file system FAT, provides the user with detailed information on the used size of single harddisk clusters and the alternatives that are displayed in an easy to read bar graph depending on the overall size of the data carrier. This clearly shows the often overlooked waste of harddisk space of the FAT file system (and also of its incompatible successors VFAT, FAT32B und FAT32X) that increases with growing harddisk size.

Partition Magic 3 - Cluster analysis
Fig.2: Partition Magic 3 - Cluster analysis

The Move feature is capable of moving a partition on a running machine's data carrier without data loss. This is an incredible useful feature, e.g. if you have to create a bootable DOS partition on an existing harddrive for whatever reason, since a bootable DOS partition can only be created in the physically first 1024 cylinders of a harddrive. Using the Move option in connection with Size, you can shrink an existing partition and then move it more to the end of the harddrive to gain more space for the primary DOS partition in the first 1024 cylinders.

Note that the native OS/2 version of PartitionMagic has a real disadvantage when using this features: Modifications to the size as well as moving existing partitions are only possible with inactive partitions. If the user intends to move an active Warp partition he/she is currently working with as described above, this has to be done with the help of manually created DOS boot disks as OS/2 doesn't grant PartitionMagic full access to active partitions because of open files and running processes to ensure data integrity. Because of this usage of the native OS/2 version of PartitionMagic for modifying existing structures is only advisable if you have more than one bootable partition.

If you have only a single OS/2 partition, creating bootable DOS disks cannot be avoided, and due to the missing installer and the need to use the commandline this is a bit tedious. Also, using the DOS programs is anything but convenient: One may feel like back in the times where you sat in front of a bad monochrome monitor and you had to enter cryptic commands - nicely put. This should be reason enough to create a second, small OS/2 partition on your harddrive for maintenance.

The Special menu item offers some more highlights. The options Hide partition and Convert to HPFS are especially interesting here. Using Hide partition you can hide a partition that you don't want other users to see or that is intended only for maintenance by setting a special attribute (and of course unhide it again). Convert to HPFS should be of interest for users who have used their OS/2 system with FAT so far. If you are fed up with endless regular defragmentation runs, wasted harddisk space - often in the 100MB category -, lost clusters and the related data loss and the limitations of file names and attributes, but the enormous effort for installation and configuration of not only the operating system, but also the applications, has prevented you from changing to HPFS, you can now apply this change without any data loss nearly instantly by using the converting feature. But beware: There are some old programs which only run on FAT and other that need a native, bootable DOS and won't cooperate with a logical DOS drive. Personally, I only know of one such program, but the possibility is there, so you'd better check if you are using such an application before the conversion. You can however use the above mentioned features Move, Create and Size to set up a small logical drive in an extended FAT partition or a primary partition to be able to run the offending application again.

Finally, the item Boot-Manager is able to install the IBM Bootmanager, which PowerQuest has licensed from IBM, or to add and delete entries from an existing bootmanager. Existing entries can also be modified.

I would like to point out that the inexperienced user should fall for the temptation to modify the structure of a harddrive without real need just to try out the enormous possibilities that Partitionmagic offers in all versions. The cardinal rule for modifications in the sensitive hardware area is: Always make a complete backup before doing anything! Even though PartitionMagic showed rock-solid stability in the tests I did over several months and under most different circumstances, it is easy to do more damage than good if you lack detailed knowledge about the OS/2 Warp's disk administration concepts.

If you create logical drives in extended partitions carrying different versions of OS/2 Warp which are listed in the bootmanager, for instance, and then modify those in size or move them to create additional logical drives or add a primary DOS drive at the beginning of the drive, you are going to be unpleasantly surprised by the system coming to a complete halt, because the drives have been assigned different drive letters and the old installations are not able to cope with them. PartitionMagic does offer a tool for adapting drive letter assignments called DriveMapper in this version 3.04 already, but first it can only be run on Windows and second it is not always capable of detecting and modifying changed drives letters due to OS/2's flexibility and PowerQuest explicitly discourages the use of DriveMapper with OS/2 Warp. DriveMapper obviously is more intended for the simpler drive systems mentioned above.

Before adding a new harddrive to an existing system, you also should think very closely about how you want to divide it up to avoid potential problems with drive letter assignment. This is especially true for SCSI systems, on which the setup of SCSI IDs can cause additional problems.

Something to note on the positive side is PartitionMagic 3.xx's manual of roughly 250 pages. In times where it is common to include a mostly bad and in many cases confusing online help instead of a good manual, the handbook deserves special attention - especially regarding the fact that the reviewed package can quickly and irreversibly destroy large amounts of data in case of accidental misuse. Because of this the manual describes all data-extensive steps using many figures. I would like to point your attention especially to chapter four (Basics), in which 40 pages of information on harddisks and partitioning them are presented in a way that is both precise and easy to understand for beginners. There, also the different file systems of the more widely used operating systems are reviewed and sensible ways of harddisk partitioning are shown using several example configurations.

A shortage of the manual, which can be forgiven looking at the wealth of information that is presented, is the illogical arrangement of the chapters. The »Basics« chapter would be more suitable as the beginning and not as the last chapter before the appendix. Also, the chapter »Product features« could be expected after the basic introduction to present an overview of the collection of tools.

Another positive thing I would like to emphasize is the large number of examples that are quite suitable for explaining the complicated facts of harddisk partitioning in an easy to understandable way. The manual is also remarkable for its appendix that covers typical causes for errors in the process of disk partitioning in depth and describes the program's error codes that are returned in case of problems. Finally, the glossary is also a useful help.

Alas, since version 5.0 these most instructive tips have become a victim of the IT world's "microsoftishment", which leaves the user more and more out in the cold by introducing unproven technologies and at the same time dropping printed documentation. So any interested person should inform him/herself about possible results of his/her actions before actually using hardware-sensitive programs.

PartitionMagic 6.0

For OS/2 users, the last version of PartitionMagic that supports HPFS, version 6.0, has drawbacks in some areas "thanks" to the product's close orientation at Windows. The package is not installable as native OS/2 application anymore. In spite of the package's increased functionality, the manual has lost considerable amounts of its size and content: about a hundred pages became a victim of the shrinking process. Obviously, the manual has also been made under pressure to get it done in time. Especially users of the Linux operating system are not likely to find the trite hints friendly.

PartitionMagic 6.0 provides only few features that are useful for OS/2 users. One notable feature is the possibility to convert a logical to a primary drive and vice versa. Extreme caution is advisable when using this feature though, since the assignment of drive letters may render the existing OS/2 partitions unusable - at least temporary. Another innovation of PartitionMagic 6.0 is the option to melt two neighboring partitions into one. This is only available for FAT partitions though and of limited use for OS/2 users. The DriveMapper tool of version 6.0 has the same limitations as described for version 3.04. PartitionMagic also includes the BootMagic tool, a visually revamped bootmanager that doesn't offer any significant improvement over the old IBM bootmanager.

The bugs of version 6.0 and version 5.0, the rest of which is still available on the market, are only the more annoying: Though the existing DOS version has undergone dramatic development to not leave non-Windows users out in the cold, the half-hearted programming that obviously has been done under great time pressure becomes apparent in the mass of partially severe bugs. Under certain conditions installation of PartitionMagic will fail. PowerQuest has licensed the aging DR-DOS 7.02 from Caldera. When installation of Partition Magic under DOS only two emergency disks are created. The first contains the operating system and some utilities and the second the main parts of PartitionMagic. DR-DOS formats the diskettes upon creation. Due to a bug (the program doesn't check the media) those who use ED floppy disk drives - factually all users of IBM PS/2 systems and PC servers of the first two generations and compatibles, mainly large customers like banks and insurance companies - will have the more widely-spread HD disks formatted as 2.88 MB which will render them unusable in most cases. If installation of both disks is successful in spite of the problems, OS/2 users are going to face a deja-vu: The main display has hardly changed since the times of native OS/2 versions, except for regularly occurring errors in dialog boxes and help texts and the new Windows-like look and feel. The submenus haven't changed much either. Those who have already used the previous version 5.0 won't need any help and will be able to use the new version immediately.

It is of advantage for OS/2 users that PartitionMagic now is operated from diskettes exclusively and therefore can also be used on an OS/2 system that only has one partition completely, without the need of using the inconvenient commandline and instead with the well-known interface and - another positive point - a wealth of features, which in comparison to the Windows version isn't limited considerably - if you neglect the lack of wizards. The DOS version's stability is quite ok and so PartitionMagic 6.0 can be rated useful for old hands. Those who are new to OS/2 Warp and haven't acquired any deeper knowledge of the operating system's basic mass storage concepts can easily lose track and the motivation to learn more about it, since OS/2's better engineered file system concepts that have been followed through for about ten years now don't receive the adequate coverage.

The graphical user interface that is now available already on diskettes will probably make the maintenance work of network administrators much easier, since they don't have to install the program on each machine now and can use them independently.

In the light of today's harddrive capacities, home users may want to create at least two partitions on their system. If an older version of PartitionMagic is used, a second OS/2 partition is advisable (no matter if it is a logical one in an extended partition or a primary one). If versions 5.0 or 6.0 are to be used, it is a good choice to create a small primary, bootable DOS partition at the beginning of the harddrive (in the first 1024 cylinders) and install PartitionMagic on that. That way the full feature range of PartitionMagic's features is also ensured for the OS/2 partition, independent from the file system.

Potential error sources when using PartitionMagic under OS/2 Warp

Basically, the tested versions of PartitionMagic have proven to be extremely stable with all kinds of hardware configurations. Crashes and data loss haven't occurred on any system. This stability is very remarkable for a program this hardware-sensitive and probably results from the fact that on one side PartitionMagic has been on the market for a long time and hence has been developed continuously, and on the other side that it has a very good code base, which is well-known from earlier versions and is the result of extensive and careful testing.

PartitionMagic executes all steps with all kinds of verifications. Before any modifications are applied to the harddisk structure, everything is checked thrice. In the process of moving a partition, for instance, a sector check is run first. During this process the system does not respond to user interaction as an abort by the user could result in severe data loss. PartitionMagic also executes a sector integrity check before changing partition sizes. Depending on the data carriers capacity and the size of the partition to be modified these verification runs of course lengthen the whole process a lot, but they also ensure high system integrity.

It is advisable to run the OS/2 tool CHKDSK from the commandline of an inactive partition in all cases before using PartitionMagic anyway. Do this two times: For the first run use the /F:3 option. This will have the system working for a long time (while increasing CPU load considerably), but corrupt files are reconstructed and invalid attributes, which may lead to PartitionMagic being interrupted, are deleted. After this run many a user will be surprised by the large mass of garbage CHKDSK has restored, especially if you haven't checked your harddrives integrity for a long time or you are using an EIDE system. The garbage is placed in several subdirectories and files with the name FOUNDxxx. You can safely delete these files. After that you should run CHKDSK a second time for safety, this time using the /F option. Now the partition should be error-free and PartitionMagic should run without error messages that may be caused by corrupt extended attributes or incomplete sector allocation information.

Another problem may be caused by OS/2's FDISK. Under certain conditions FDISK, which is executed automatically during each user-defined installation of OS/2 Warp, allows two partitions on a drive to overlap. PartitionMagic will show an error message and abort any verification or modifying process. First, the user has to create an error-free partition table, something which usually can only be achieved by invoking FDISK again and then deleting and creating the old partitions anew. Of course you should make complete and recent backups of all data on all partitions before re-partitioning (see the description of DriveImage) as deleting and creating partitions anew will also destroy any data on the drive!2 Some basic knowledge of file systems and the related possibilities to divide up a harddrive wouldn't hurt either.

Today's harddrive capacities resulting from the fast-paced development of mass storage media are another source for potential problems: Any version of PartitionMagic prior to 5.0 is not capable of dealing with large harddisks with capacities of over 8GB. During my tests with IBM DDYS, DDRS and DNES harddrives the correct capacity has never been detected. In extreme cases usage of older versions of PartitionMagic can result in completely wrong capacities being used and in errors during the installation and configuration of the operating system. The effort spent in partitioning will be in vain as partitions won't be bootable as a defective partition table is created due to wrong allocation information. PartInfo will show the errors in the data carrier's structure correctly, but they can only be corrected with later versions of PartitionMagic. And you will have to re-partition the harddrive completely.3


PartitionMagic and DriveImage are very useful tools for harddrive maintenance. The user also gets extremely handy hints on usage of different file systems. The manual of version 5.0 and 6.0 doesn't come up to the expectations though. Because of the software's high potential danger in case of misuse, this is inexcusable. Dedicated OS/2 users also won't like that they have to use a DOS application with the look and feel of Windows as there is no native OS/2 version available. I had hoped that the most severe bugs wouldn't persist in the next version, but PartitionMagic 7.0 dropped HPFS support. Due to the relatively few new features that are of any use for OS/2 users, those who have been working with OS/2 Warp for a longer period, already own an older version of PartitionMagic and don't have really large drives should think very closely about whether approximately US$40 for an update or about US$60 for the full version wouldn't be invested better elsewhere.


1 For HPFS see: Dorle Hecker/Hans-Jürgen Götz: OS/2 WARP Version 3 Integrationsplattform, Franzis-Verlag, Poing, 1995, S. 335.
2 For error codes and their meaning see the manuals of all Partition Magic versions which contain good advice for locating and solving problems.
3 See Walter Metcalf: Notes on OS/2 Disk Usage, Formally on; Walter's articles will soon appear on the Warp Doctor site -; same: Large Disk Problems and Solutions, same location; same: Large Disk Solutions, Third-Party Solutions, same location.

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