ok, I have a 250GB harddrive in some noname USB2.0 case. My objective is to create a stable and truely portable hard drive.
now here is the thing to be truly portable I require the following:
1> Physically portable (of course)
2> logically portable:
a>can be read and written to under linux, windows, and MAC
b>no permissions issues under the same OSs
3> Stable under all the above condidions (ie no risk to loseing data)
4> must use one partition not several.
I have figgured it out and based on what I have seen there are alot of other people wanting to do the same so here is what I did.
NOTE: this will only work for IDE based harddrives for now I do not know if it will work with SATA harddrives because it requires windows 98 to see the drive to work. I will look into it later but for now this will do.
step 1: remove the hard drive from the USB enclosure, and attach it to any available IDE port on the MOTHERBOARD controller. promise controllers sometimes are not seen by the win98 dos drivers.
step2: boot to a windows 98 boot floppy (can be found at www.bootdisk.com
) or boot to a windows 98se installation cd. (if booting to the cd, remember to select "boot to cdrom" then "start computer with cdrom support")
step3: once at the A: type "fdisk" [enter], "Y" [enter]. now you need to confirm your drive is seen, if you only have 4 options and you have 2 harddrives attached then chances are it is not, make sure you can see the drive in bios and try again. if you have 2 drives and see 5 options then select option 5 and select the drive you want other wise it is a good idea to only have one drive attached when doing this. once you are sure your drive is seen and selected then continue... dont worry if your drive is not showing the correct size, fdisk has troubles with any drive over 60 gigs, my 250 gig drive shows as being a 41.14GB drive. just slect option "1" then "1" again to "create a Primary DOS Partition" it will verify your drive integrity to 100% large drives take a while so grab a cup of joe and wait. then it will ask you if you want to use the max drive space, hit "y" [enter] and it will scan again to 100%. then it will tell you to reboot. do so, hit "esc" then the good ol' three finger salute (ctrl+alt+del)
step3b: repeat step2. if you booted to a floppy procede to step4. if you booted to cd then you need to switch to the cdrom drive to continue, try "d:" first then try each drive letter untill you find the cdrom drive. once you find it, "cd win98"[enter] and procede to step 4
step4: now we need to format the drive, here is where it would be a good idea to only have one harddrive in the system. type "format c:"[enter] then "y"[enter]. then go watch tv or something because an drive over 80 gigs will take over an hour to format. my 250 took two.
step5: now that the drive is formatted you can reattach the drive to the USB case and close it up!
now you have a drive that can easily be read in *nix, Windows98/me/2k/XP, and even most MAC systems. cool huh?
a word of warning. the drive will have a monsterous partition table, this means initial detection under any os will take longer than normal. my 250 takes a good 30 seconds under XP to be seen and read, and 25 to 30 in linux to mount so relax. additionally when moveing large files onto the drive I recommend useing command line over gui as errors can be generated. the large partition table slows the process down so rule of thumb: if it is bigger than 100MB do it from command line if it is smaller: no problem in gui. copying from the drive will be just as fast as you'd expect as modifying the partition table is not necessary.
next: most of you know that fat32 has no permitions, I didnt at first so for those who dont know what I am talking about, a fat32 drive has only 2 permitions to worrie about
: hidden and read only. there are no user specific permitions but linux says there is and shows them to you, attempts to change them will result in an error, even in root. dont worry about it leave the permitions alone. and forget about them.
and finally: disk scanning. if you should ever reach a point where you are seeing corrupted data on the drive, like virus or bad download or whatever, and you end up in a senerio where you cant delete the corupted files, DO NOT RUN SCANDISK OR CHKDSK IN XP!!!.
this will cause the partition table to be rewritten in a file system useing LBA48, this is bad. your data will become corrupted and in many cases will be unreadable. if you must scan the drive remove it and reattach it to an ide channel like before and run scandisk from a windows98 cd or floppy.