Hi Ron,

> The only dangerous tool from a LiveCD...
> is Fdisk as it can change/ruin
> the master boot record (MBR), which contains information
> about your harddisk layout...
> Format ought to do a number on you also

Well Bernd meant you can only format drives which have a
drive letter in DOS. Because Windows XP and similar often
use NTFS drives (not FAT), their drives are often simply
invisible to DOS without extra drivers, so you cannot
format them accidentally. You cannot even modify files.
Of course you CAN accidentally damage files or format
drives if they use FAT, as used in Win98 and similar.

The limit for FAT16 partition size is ca 2 Gigabyte,
unless you use less compatible larger clusters of
more than 32 kilobyte. Limit of FAT32 is more or
less arbitrary. Windows 98 had a limit of 4 mio
clusters because it could only handle FAT tables
of 16 MB in RAM. It also had a limit of 128 GB
harddisk size, as it did not support LBA48...

FreeDOS does not have those FAT32 limitations,
but you can expect that it will be very slow
and that defrag or dosfsck (chkdsk) will take
lots of time and/or memory if you have too
many clusters. Limitations for harddisk size
in FreeDOS are: At most 2 Terabytes because we
only read classical MBR / partition tables, but
if your BIOS cannot do LBA48, then FreeDOS has
a 128 GB limit like Win98. With very old BIOSes,
you could even have limits like 32 GB, 8 GB, or
even less. However, you can often install extra
tools like Ontrack in the MBR to help the BIOS.

[...Windows Fax software broken on any normal Vista...]
> only way to get fax capabilities in vista was upgrade to Ultimate

Or maybe to install a Linux as second operating system... ;-)
Would have taken less than the 2 days to install your Ultimate...
But it is interesting that any Vista internally is Ultimate, just
with some features blocked depending on which Vista you bought.

As far as I understand, Spinrite can recover (possibly deleted)
files from (possibly damaged) FAT and now also NTFS filesystems,
probably by copying them to other drives or repairing the errors.
That is a different story compared to make the NTFS drive look
like a normal DOS drive, and I assume Spinrite is more a tool
than a driver... Anyway, information on how to access NTFS even
for writing is available by reading code and docs from the Linux
NTFS 3G drivers. The developers were very careful to make those
drivers clean wrt license and origins of technical information.

Eric :-)

PS: Could you configure your email client to quote things
by putting ">" in front of the quoted lines (not mixing
quoted and unquoted text in one line) ? Thanks ;-)

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