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Jim
Working Member

44 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2007 :  08:16:20  Show Profile
How do I access all drives in MS DOS? When I boot to DOS I can’t access my internal drive D:\. I tried Lastdrive = in config.sys, no help. I would try Device =, except I can’t find drivers. So I think if I need drivers, I couldn’t access c:\. I need help. Can anyone advise?

Jim

Mick
Administrator

1496 Posts

Posted - 02/21/2007 :  13:53:50  Show Profile  Visit Mick's Homepage
Jim, why on earth are you "booting to DOS". DOS cannot see NTFS drives, and likely cannot see the whole thing on any drives larger than a certain few Gigabytes in size. On the other hand, I have never seen a drive visible in windows that did not work in the Command window. Why not try just opening a command ("DOS") window, and typing "D:" (Without the quotes)

Mick



-----------
'Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.'
—André Gide

or

'No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.' - Mignon McLaughlin
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Jim
Working Member

44 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2007 :  08:13:23  Show Profile
All drives are aavailable in the "Command DOS" window, but not when I boot from MS DOS.

What is a NTFS drive?
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Mick
Administrator

1496 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2007 :  20:04:58  Show Profile  Visit Mick's Homepage
Sorry, let me try again. Hard drives, before they can have data put on them have to be "formatted". This is where the operating system (like windows) cleans the drive, and puts little pre-prepared bins on the HD ready to hold the data. DOS used a formatting style called FAT-12 and FAT-16, maybe even FAT-32 where "FAT" stands for "File Allocation Table". This is all old style stuff, that just allows for putting data on the drive, and then later getting it back. It has no support for file-system security, and lots of things that are good for managing your data (file creation date, file access date,...) These systems were used with Windows3.x, Windows9x, Windows ME,...

NTFS is a formatting style, and was introduced with Windows NT (New Technology) Stands for New Technology FIle System, and it is the preferred disk formatting method on all WinNT, Win2000, and XP and (I think) Vista.

NT, 2000, XP etc have the ability to convert FAT to NTFS, while keeping the data intact, but there is no way I know of to convert back.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/maintain/convertfat.mspx

There are some utilities to allow DOS to read NTFS, these guys here:
http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/NtfsDos.html have a really good reputation.

Good luck.

So, again, why do you want to boot to DOS?
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Jim
Working Member

44 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2007 :  09:17:42  Show Profile
Mick,

Thanks for the explanation of NTFS.

The answer you your question, “why do you want to boot to DOS?” simply, when windows breaks, or more precisely when I unable to boot to windows, and I find that the only way out of the mess is to reinstall Windows I don’t want to loose the data or programs that I have not yet backed-up.

We all know, windows will break, or we will do something to allow it to no longer run, or a various will consume data, or infest the operating system. When this happens, I want my data.

To help prevent data loss, and the wording is always help prevent data loss; a good backup system should be in place. I know that. On my computer a pretty good backup system is in place. But, I don’t do a continuous redundant data save, nor do I want to, I simply can’t afford it. Even with redundant systems, my computer will eventually crash; they all do, or will.
Anyone who has not experienced loss of data or loss of programming on a computer either does not use the computer, or should be betting on the horses rather than using the computer.

My experience also is: the backup programs on the market like Ghost, Recover lost data, etc. work pretty well, but when stuff is broken, like a damaged drive, or, processors, Windows will not start.

Is there a scaled down version of windows that will fit on a 3 1/5 floppy that I can use to copy data when I crash XP?


Edited by - Jim on 02/24/2007 15:36:30
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Mick
Administrator

1496 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2007 :  17:18:28  Show Profile  Visit Mick's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Jim

Mick,

Thanks for the explanation of NTFS.

The answer you your question, “why do you want to boot to DOS?” simply, when windows breaks, or more precisely when I unable to boot to windows, and I find that the only way out of the mess is to reinstall Windows I don’t want to loose the data or programs that I have not yet backed-up.


But, as I recall, you have (at least) 2 partitions anyway. I am always reluctant to start this topic, because it requires fairly serious efforts when the computer is new, or expensive utilities, or risking your data to free-ware utilities...

But here goes. When your computer is new, (or totally hosed, ready to reinstall the OS) you can partition the hard drive during the installation of windows. This allows you to keep ALL your OS stuff, and ALL your installed programs on one drive letter, and ALL your data (documents, music, downloaded stuff...) on another drive. This means that you can reinstall windows, and all your programs (you DO have the disks right?) without touching the data. It also means that you can just copy your data drive to an external drive, and check it out, to make sure it is a good copy. If you fiddle with it a little, you can have the copying program copy only the files that are newer than the earlier backup, so your backups will not take more than 10-20 minutes.

quote:

We all know, windows will break, or we will do something to allow it to no longer run, or a various will consume data, or infest the operating system. When this happens, I want my data.


It should be safely there on your data partition. (or the data drive if you have two hard drives).
quote:

To help prevent data loss, and the wording is always help prevent data loss; a good backup system should be in place. I know that. On my computer a pretty good backup system is in place. But, I don’t do a continuous redundant data save, nor do I want to, I simply can’t afford it. Even with redundant systems, my computer will eventually crash; they all do, or will.


Well, it is possible that you can avoid mechanical failure crashes, with good equipment, good luck, and good maintenance. But the mal-ware failures could contaminate the most robust mirroring, raid-enabled, redundant system. Also, just one little lightning strike, and poof. That is why I like the external drives. (and why I only run my backup on nice days)
quote:

Anyone who has not experienced loss of data or loss of programming on a computer either does not use the computer, or should be betting on the horses rather than using the computer.

My experience also is: the backup programs on the market like Ghost, Recover lost data, etc. work pretty well, but when stuff is broken, like a damaged drive, or, processors, Windows will not start.


As mentioned earlier, you dont need windows to start, you can just reinstall it on the C: drive without hurting your data over on D: If the computer dies hard, you will have an excuse to get a new one, and there is your data on the external drive, and the other partition on the old drive, which more than likely can be accessed by the new computer--either by installing it there, or getting an external cable adapter.
quote:

Is there a scaled down version of windows that will fit on a 3 1/5 floppy that I can use to copy data when I crash XP?


Not to my knowledge. In any case, you would likely want it to access large HDs, USB ports, CD burners, none of which would be in DOS, or in a trimmed-down version of windows.
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Jim
Working Member

44 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2007 :  17:05:37  Show Profile
Mick,

I am only using one partition meaning that when I formatted I only have one partition on my "System drive, but it might be a better idea to reformat with two. One reason I didn't do that I really didn’t want to do a lot of disk management, meaning I for the most part taught that as I installed software I would just use the default location for installation and data, but I don’t always use default locations anyway. You are right a reinstallation of XP with system set-up and installation of the 50+ other programs I have is a real pain.
Well, I have something to think about.

Thanks
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Mick
Administrator

1496 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2007 :  00:56:41  Show Profile  Visit Mick's Homepage
I could have sworn... yep, you originally wrote "...can’t access my internal drive D:\..." I thought you had a second drive in there, or another partition. Are you saying that the "D:\" drive is the one that you want to use as a destination for back up?

As to "having to do a lot of disk management", that is mostly an issue only when you are installing the system. after that, all added software installs normally on C: in the default position, and otherwise, you never look at C:. The data, therefore all your workday activities go to D: If you fiddle with it a little, you can even move "MyDocuments" to D:

Mick



-----------
'Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again.'
—André Gide

or

'No one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a while you'll see why.' - Mignon McLaughlin
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Jim
Working Member

44 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2007 :  07:27:23  Show Profile
Mick,

In total I have six (6) drives in my machine as follows: A:\-3 1/2" Floppy, C:\- 80 internal Gig system, D:|- 80 Gig Internal System back-up, E:\- 10 Gig Internal data backup, F:|- CD R/W, G:|- DVD R/W.

So, what is your scheme for disk usage? I think I understand you suggesting putting XP on dive D:\ which is the second petition of C:\ and using C:\ for data and daily R/W, Is that correct?

I was, and sometimes am always, confused, DOS renames E:\ to c:\ when it boots therefore I am looking at E:|, not C:|.
As it turns out, I can't access C:\, or D:\ under MSDOS, but I can see the Directory of E:\ under DOS, the reason being it was formatted using FAT. I haven't tried doing any data access under Dos, but I R/W under XP without any problem.

Jim


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Mick
Administrator

1496 Posts

Posted - 02/28/2007 :  16:32:22  Show Profile  Visit Mick's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by Jim

Mick,

In total I have six (6) drives in my machine as follows: A:\-3 1/2" Floppy, C:\- 80 internal Gig system, D:|- 80 Gig Internal System back-up, E:\- 10 Gig Internal data backup, F:|- CD R/W, G:|- DVD R/W.

So, what is your scheme for disk usage? I think I understand you suggesting putting XP on dive D:\ which is the second petition of C:\ and using C:\ for data and daily R/W, Is that correct?


Negative! The OS and programs on the primary drive partition is what I always use. It is just one less thing to go wrong, or get confused about. Anytime you install, the default assumption is C:, so I leave it that way. Also, it is easy to mis-type, but try to avoid using words like "second partition of C:\... " The Drive letter terms like C:, D:, E:, etc, ARE partitions. The partitions are sub-divisions of a physical hard drive, like "Drive-0" or "Drive-1" or "External Drive-1".
quote:


I was, and sometimes am always, confused, DOS renames E:\ to c:\ when it boots therefore I am looking at E:|, not C:|.
As it turns out, I can't access C:\, or D:\ under MSDOS, but I can see the Directory of E:\ under DOS, the reason being it was formatted using FAT. I haven't tried doing any data access under Dos, but I R/W under XP without any problem.

Jim


DOS renames the only drives it can "see" to C,D,E... It cannot "see" the NTFS drives on your system, so they are ignored.

I dont know all the problems, it has been too long since DOS. But I recall very nasty issues with drive letters being reassigned, and long ago, I reformatted a disk by mistake on that very reason. I think using DOS to try to do a system backup is not something I would recommend. If you are going to continue this risky business, your may want a txt file on the root directory of each partition, describing its contents so you can confirm what you are looking at.

And anyway, Copying is not enough. A bootable system is NOT just all the files that makeup a bootable system, some of the files MUST go in particular places, like the "boot sector" the "boot Record", where your computer initially goes, as it starts, looking for an operating system--a particular area of the disk, which DOS (or even a Linux copying utility) is not likely to understand when copying files over there--DOS would think you are just copying files, which can go anywhere. Boot files cant go just anywhere!

It is possible that you can find a free solution, but I have never used any--Norton Ghost, Drive Image, True Image are recommended pay solutions... There are some folks working on the free end of the problem, like
http://partitionlogic.org.uk/ but you are going out on a limb by yourself there.

Here are my priorities:
1) Keep the data safe! At least 3 copies on various HDs, CDs and PCs.
2) Keep all your system and software CDs handy, dont buy PCs without real system CDs
3) Keep copies of all my downloaded software, along with my data
4) Keep a working secondary PC with most data ready to go on it.
5) Be prepared to reinstall (run "files and settings transfer wizard")
6) Now and then run Drive Image to save a copy of everything.

Later...

Edited by - Mick on 02/28/2007 16:35:02
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