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fat32 cluster size too small

From: D. Hugh Redelmeier
Subject: fat32 cluster size too small
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 02:56:24 -0500 (EST)

I used parted to create a 60g fat32 partition on a hard disk.  When I
used MS Win98's scandisk on the partition, it said:

        ScanDisk could not continue because your computer does not have enough
        available memory

I was rather shocked since I wasn't running any other applications
(except the stuff that has managed to start itself) and I have 256M of

According to
the problem is that the cluster size is too small for this size of
partition.  The cluster sizes are supposed to be:

   Hard disk size     Cluster size
   512 MB to 8 GB      4 KB
   8 GB to 16 GB       8 KB
   16 GB to 32 GB     16 KB
   32 GB and larger   32 KB
I think that parted gave this partition a 4k cluster size.

I didn't actually check.  For one thing, I don't know how to check.
For another, I immediately broke the partition into three of 20g to
avoid the problem (before I found the MS Knowledge Base article).

I had the same problem with the 20g partitions.  In this case, I have
evidence that the partition given by parted was 4k.

I'd say that this is a bug in parted: it should conform to the rules
outlined in q229154.

Once parted gave them a 4k cluster size, Win98's format (quick or
full) would not change it.  Even if I deleted the partitions and
recreated them!

I eventually solved the problem by dd'ing 10 megs of /dev/zero over
the start of each partition and then using Win98's format (full).
What a hack!

I'd say that this behaviour is a Win98 bug.  But I'll never convince

It might be nice to be able to specify a desired cluster size in the
mkfs command (for fat32 file systems).

It would also be nice to have a command that would display the cluster

Hugh Redelmeier
address@hidden  voice: +1 416 482-8253

PS: I was using parted 1.6.3 on KNOPPIX GNU/LINUX 3.1 of 2002-12-12.

PPS: thanks very much for creating parted!  A very useful tool.

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