Format /s under XP

October 13, 2010 at 21:07:58
Specs: Windows XP
Hi,

Where can I get detailed information about what the DOS command "format /s" does to a disk ?

I want to implement it under XP with no startup diskette.

Thanks.


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#1
October 13, 2010 at 22:00:16
The command "format /s" copies DOS system files to the disk. This has absolutely no relevance to XP or any other member of the NT platform. XP never boots into DOS but uses an entirely different boot process. The format command in XP does not support this switch.

What are you trying to accomplish?


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#2
October 14, 2010 at 07:49:50
I'm aware that there is no "format /s" under XP

I want to deveope a utility that works under XP and does "format /s" to a CF media connected to the PC via CF card reader.

The CF is used to boot DOS 6.22 on embedded PC104.

Thanks.


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#3
October 14, 2010 at 08:34:48
Seems like you have not GOOGLED...

http://www.aetherwide.com/vignettes...


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#4
October 14, 2010 at 11:05:04
Hi,

I read the article 2 weeks ago. I used the HP utility to do "format /s" on a CF media connected to the PC with USB card reader.

Then I connected the CF to the embedded PC104. DOS 6.22 booted OK. But after DOS boots, PSOS 2.2.7 boots. The PSOS application looks for a file on the CF and does not find it.

The MBR created with the HP utlity is not like an MBR of a working CF. The 16 bytes of the first partition is different starting from byte 8 which is the LBA of first absolute sector in the partition.

I tried to burn the MBR of a working CF on the new CF and then copied 3 files: MSDOS.sys. IO.sys, COMMAND.com. But DOS boot failed.

I'm aware I can do ghost. But I want to build the CF from scratch. I admit I'm not a ghost fan.

Can someone tell what does format /s do beside copying the 3 files ?

Thanks.


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#5
October 14, 2010 at 11:21:49
Besides formatting the disk and copying the necessary files, format /s also make the disk bootable by writing a block of code to the boot sector and changing a byte in the boot header.

Because of this format /s can only be run and expected to work from a drive that is already bootable, usually a floppy disk with MS-DOS on it. Consequently the computer has to be booted to MS-DOS for Format /s to work.

Stuart


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#6
October 14, 2010 at 15:09:41
Hi,

Thank you for your reply. But I need further details.

What do you mean by "boot sector" ? Is it the MBR (first 512 bytes) ?

What is the "byte changed in the boot header" ? Is it the status byte (bootable / not bootable) in a partition entry ? (offset 0x1BE in case of one partition)

Does "format /s" writes something (besides the 3 files) to other sectors in the media ?

I want to write a utility that runs under XP.

After running "format Drive: /FS:FAT" I want to run my utility to make the CF media DOS 6.22 bootable.

Thanks.


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#7
October 14, 2010 at 16:00:10
There are at least two boot sectors on a hard disk and at least one on a floppy

Every hard disk has a Master boot record. Each partition on the disk has a volume boot record. This is the same as the boot record you find on a floppy disk formatted to FAT12. It is this boot sector that is created by Format /s. Format usual gets the information to create this boot record from the system it is running on, that is MS-DOS.

If you have a floppy drive in your computer you can create a DOS Boot floppy within XP. There information to do that is stored in a DLL. The actually creates a floppy disk in Windows ME format which is based on MS-DOS the same as Windows 95/98

You are going to have to work out the details off how to do that yourself; it is a long time since I have used MS-DOS. What you are trying to do can be done, Windows XP does it with floppy disks, but it is not a trivial task,

Basically, Format /s is an MS-DOS command and has no relevance to Windows XP in the normal course of things. I would think of writing you own format command that will run under Windows XP.

Stuart


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#8
October 15, 2010 at 15:38:52
Hi,

I wonder is there is a way to get full information from Microsoft of what is done to the disk in the DOS command "format /s"

Thanks.


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