partitioning program for Atari ST computers
background: Easy to use
GUI program, which will make partition system on hard disks, Flash
storage cards, usable on
Atari ST computer serie and PCs under Windows, DOS and Linux. It will
allow easy data transfer between 2 machines, especially in case of
memory cards as CF and SD.
Atari ST serie and PC under DOS, Windows use same filesystem -
FAT16. So, in theory they can read each other's hard disks. In practice
it is not so. First reason is different partition table defined by AHDI
(Atari's official hard disk doc.) . Second reason is support of
different FAT16 partition parameters by 2 OS (TOS and DOS).
Using AHDI type partition system has not much sense, especially
not in 21st century - there is no any support for it in TOS. All work
about partition detecting and handling is on hard disk driver, so we
may choose DOS (PC) compatible partition table without need for any
Different partition parameters are bigger problem. With this
partitioning program it is overriden: it creates compatible FAT16
partitions for both OS. On PC it will work without any extra SW in DOS,
Windows, Linux. On Atari we just need driver which can handle such
partitions and translate parameters to TOS compatible ones. Driver is
part of this SW package - it goes with partitioning program.
Main features of disk
partitioned with this program and used with compatible driver:
max. 14 FAT16 partitions with size up to 512MB each. (in TOS 1.02
256MB is max. supported). Autoboot from drive, even if it is PC
compatible. No any special size restriction for boot partition.
Attach to PC and work with. Easy selection of active (part. from
which AUTO, desktop will run) by boot. Easy install of autoboot driver
- with small program for it.
Program is much different than existing partitioning programs
for Atari machines. Don't search options for drive format, driver
configuration and similar. We are in year 2007, and hard disks are not
same as 15 years ago. Focus is on easy usage and good overview -
all is visible and possible to set in only 1 dialog.
After starting program, it will ask for drive selection:
ACSI 0 will select drive attached on ACSI port, with # 0. It is usually
some SCSI drive via adapter or new Satandisk (SD card). May be modified
Mega STE ACSI-SCSI adapter, for work over 1GB (described on this site).
Program will autodetect it. By regular ACSI (adapters) size is max. 1GB.
Master or Slave is for IDE drives - Falcon for instance, or ST(E) with
add-on IDE adapter. Max supported drive size is 2048GB (this is limit
of 32-bit partition table actually).
After click, drive manufacturer and model will be shown down, drive
size (capacity) will be shown up, and used space by partitions
(C-P) if they
are detected. New drives and those with not regular PC partition table
have blank partition boxes.
After clicking Master,
this is shown on drive, partitioned on PC.
C and K is TOS-DOS compatible, what is
marked with boxes outlining (thinner, outer). FAT32 partitions are
marked with GB in size. ?: means unknown, unsupported
type. D is regular FAT16 for DOS, and will be not usable on Atari
without INIT (what will make compatible ones).
Note: compatible partitions are set 'by hand' - not by some
partitioning program on PC.
partitioning of 128MB Compact Flash card
We make here 2 partitions on drive. Shadowed drive box
means that it's size is updated/changed.
After setting partition sizes we need only to click on "PARTIT
and INIT all" button. Then all will be ready for usage. If no driver
installed, we need to do it with small program suplied. In any case,
must restart machine to install autoboot driver with new partition
Demo AVI - partitioning disk of
18GB - 650KB
Autoboot driver install - 200KB
Button "CLR seld. &>" is just for faster deleting of
partitions - it will clear all from selected upwards. Of course
it will clear only in dialog. Will not clear nothing on drive until we
click on some PART. button and confirm action. Before it we may set
sizes, add partitions...
FAT32 support: program can
create formatted (by PC terminology) or Initialized (Atari term.) FAT32
partitions. Detected FAT32 partitions are marked with GB instead MB in
their size edit box. To change from FAT16 to FAT32 type click "Part
type" button - selected part. type will toggle. FAT32 part. size may be
changed in steps of 0.1 GB (102MB). Minimal size is 65MB, maximal is
99.9GB. But recommended values are: min some 500MB (under it is better
to use FAT16, especially as we want to access it on Ataris). By my
experiences Mint works not good with FAT32 over 32GB, not to mention
slow work with very large partitions. So, better create couple smaller
FAT32 parts. In case of very large drives probably is best to use only
segment of drive for Atari accessible partitions. Init. of FAT32
partitions may take little more time - usually is about 25-45 sec per
partition (depending from it's size and drive speed). So, full
partitioning with several FAT32 partitions can take some minutes. (In
demo AVI it is cut out).
Usage of disks
partitioned with this program on PC:
In case of
non-removable drives (hard disks - IDE, SCSI) we need to connect them
to PC. Under Windows, DOS (some newer version required) and Linux we
will have access to all FAT partitions.
Removable drives: usually connect them via card reader to PC.
Easiest will be in some newer Linux: it will see all partitions.
Unfortunately, Windows XP will see only first partition on media. There
is a way to override it, but is not for beginners. Description here >LINK !< . Under
DOS we need USB support for card reader. Much depends from motherboard
and it's BIOS. By new ones it should work fine. Finally, under Win98 it
should work fine, just need driver for card reader. Probably will be
usable on MAC too (as it has support for FAT16 partitions).
Program will work without any extra drivers with IDE drives,
drives attached to ACSI port via some adapter, plus with modified Mega
STE ACSI-SCSI adapter (over 1GB) .
No support for ICD Pro type (also over 1GB) adapters and straight SCSI
as by Falcon and TT. In case of someone wants it, I can make version(s)
with support for such disk controllers/interfaces.
Disk editing programs: most of them is very old
(before 1991), and therefore have troubles with big sectors. Knife
will work good with smaller partitions, but by larger will report
non-standard BOOT sector . CHKDISK3 seems to be only one
fully usable - not best looking program, but everything works fine, and
is essential for testing conditions of partitions and do some fixes,
defragment (Called 'Compress disk' in prg. ). SED is
probably latest serious Atari disk editor. May serve as editor, just
don't use it's format, partition and disk statistic options -
they are obsolete.
May do partition checks on PC - Chkdsk and Scandisk
DOS programs for instance.
Mint will work fine - problems can happen by larger FAT32
partitions. It is not clear what are limits of Mint's FAT32 filesystem
handler. Probably it is 32GB, but depends from cluster size too. There
is some incompability between Mint and AHDI's PUN info structure
(buffer size). What I observed is that partition of 11GB worked fine.
Long filenames: when
adding files/directories under Windows we must avoid long filenames.
Otherwise Atari will show strange disk usage and some directories can
not be deleted.
One solution is usage of Total Commander with setting:
Configuration> Options> Display > Check off 'Use long lames' .
Then by copying we will get short filenames on target disk.
Of course may do copy in DOS mode...
Hardware compability: very old IDE drives without LBA are not
supported. Those are hard disks under ~100MB, from early 90-es. In case
of need, CHS support can be added.
P. Putnik Dec. 2007.