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Re: Partitioning

Chuma Agbodike <chuma@pacbell.net> wrote:

 > One thing still puzzles me that I hope you can clear up for me.
 > Supposing I buy a brand new hard disk. IDE, SCSI or whatever.
 > To use it, I have to partition it, using a utility like FDISK .
 > FDISK writes the MBR and Partition Table. Right ?

  Yes. (The MBR contains the partition table).

 > If I go and start copying files to any of the partitions, the data can't
 > be read. Because I have to format or initialize the partition before
 > writing to it . Right ?

  Yes.  The partition table points to the location on disk where the
partition starts, and also holds it's size and type - but what's
actually on the partition is of no concern to fdisk.

 > So how come the system can write/read the MBR and partition table ???

  The system can read/write the partition too - it just can't access a
file system on the partition, because there isn't one yet.  When you
"format or initialize" the partition, you are actually putting a file
system on it. For DOS that means creating and writing the boot sector,
placing two empty FATs, an empty root directory - all the bookkeeping
stuff that DOS needs.  (Don't be fooled by DOS format "formatting" the
whole partition - writing the filesystem only takes a second.  The rest
is verifying if it can actually access all sectors, i.e. checking for
bad blocks).  For Linux (or any other OS) it is basically the same:
before the system can actually use a partition, a filesystem must be
created with e.g. mke2fs.


Gertjan Klein <gklein@xs4all.nl>
The Boot Control home page: http://www.xs4all.nl/~gklein/bcpage.html

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