FAT32 possible but what size partition?

LinkSys wireless Music Player and LinkSys Media Adapter
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Is your Drive 1 a FAT32 drive?

Yes, and it's 32GB or smaller.
No votes
Yes, but it's larger than 32GB.
No, my Drive 1 is the native EXT3.
Total votes: 9

Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 8:30 pm

FAT32 possible but what size partition?

Post by timmy2 » Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:22 pm

In recent forum posts Christian with TwonkyVision support has written:

"You can - however - have a FAT32 harddisk installed during the (NASSetup) setup"

"The hard disk should be FAT32 formated."

So it sounds like you can have a FAT32 drive attached even when running NASSetup and that a FAT32 drive may be the best choice when using TwonkyMedia. That's very attractive because you could then easily attach the drive to a Windows or Linux PC for copying large amounts of data and thereby skip the NSLU2's relatively slow throughput. Plus, you could more easily backup or clone the drive.

But, how big can the FAT32 partition be?

Back in 2005 Christian wrote:

"you can not have 80GB partitions in FAT32 - only max 30 GB"

Which may be interpreted to mean that Windows limits FAT32 partitions to 32GB (unless you format it with BootIt or some other partitioning app.)

Or it may mean that the NSLU2 doesn't support FAT32 partitions larger than 32GB. There are plenty of posts in these forums where people write that their FAT32 drive is not recognized.

However, two posts down from Christian's comment appears the following by LordJohnWhorfin:

"I currently have a 200GB drive hooked up to my NSLU2 and it hosts one large 200GB FAT32 partition. You have to use very large clusters, which is a little wasteful, but it can be done. XP arbitrarily won't let you create a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB, but it has no problem dealing with one if you created it elsewhere (on a Linux box, a Mac or directly on the Slug). My 200GB drive mounts without a problem on XP, OSX and the Slug."

Wow, a contradiction! Those are rare. :D

Let's nail this down.

Is FAT32 recommended just because it's more universally compatible and will mount because uNSLUng makes this possible? Sounds wonderful provided there's no 32GB limit. What's the complete answer about FAT32 partitions?

(Please know that I quote Christian because I look at him as an authority on TwonkyMedia, much like some people follow every word uttered by Alan Greenspan, former US Federal Reserve Chairman. Christian and TwonkyVision support always respond quickly to questions emailed them, and obviously Christian reads and responds to posts in this forum, which is very cool, too.)

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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 2:24 am

Post by alan2525 » Thu Feb 16, 2006 7:59 pm

I tried to partition an 80Gb Drive using Partition Magic as one single partition and formatted as FAT32.

I followed the install Instructions for the NASSetup onto the NSLU2.

I couldn't get the NSLU2 to mount the drive prior to installing the server or after. I installed without the hard drive attached as recommended.

I then tried my Old Toshiba Laptop HD Drive (30GB) and partitioned as FAT32 - The drive already had a My Music folder on it and twonky picked those files up.

It seemed to play ok for about 5 songs or so and then the server seemed to dissapear or shut down.

I'm now using a WD Caviar 250Gb drive formatted as dx3 using the onboard format disk 1 option on the web interface.

I ran the install NASSetup as specified on this site:


fingers crossed...

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Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2007 9:54 pm
Location: Germany

Post by Innovonet » Sun Sep 09, 2007 9:41 pm

Hello, Fat32 could be up to 2TB - theoretically and with alot of wasted space. But if you want to create it with Win2000/xp the limit is 32GB. Have a look into wikipedia.com for the Fat32 article.
With Tonkymedia you may use a couple of (extended) partitions on 1 big drive. You would see it as 1 drive in your Mediabrowser, if you added all partitions as mediafolders.
But there is another issue you should think about: My measurements with previous versions of Twonky (4.1) have shown me problems scanning more than 10k files on NTFS. I haven´t tested it with newer versions (i haven´t got so many files, only duplicated them) and not with Fat. But in fact the basic I/O of the filesystem is fastest with Ext3 format (Linux) and slowest with NTFS, Fat in between. If someone likes to get my results of Twonky scan or basic-io send me a message.
It´s a good idea to use Fat32 (as i do) so you can use it with your/ friends PCs too or directly attached to a mediaclient like the Noxon2. But for Hd-video streaming or thousands of musicfiles or pictures i would recommend Ext3 (as i do too).
Regards, Thomas.
Noxon2, Soundbridge1001, Showcenter200. NSLU2, FSG3, Intradisk. Fritzbox 7050

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 17, 2007 8:46 am
Location: The Wirral UK

Post by alpine » Wed Oct 17, 2007 1:42 pm

I'm running a 250GB WD drive via a hub as my disk 1 drive, formatted as Fat32. As far as I remember, because it's some time ago, I did the format using a public domain command line formatter on my PC.
Originally I used a 1GB USB stick as my Ext3 formatted disk 2, but watching the paging going on, I got worried about its long term viability, so I put a 1GB Ext3 partition on an old 2.5" laptop drive using my linux box, then copied the flash stick over to it. Rather than try to power the Ext3 drive from the NSLU, I used an additional USB cable wired directly into the drive and I power it from the same powered hub that's handling the other disk.
I've got a script running during the startup of the NSLU that mounts the rest of the 20GB disk as an additional FAT32 volume. I tend to forget it exists, so it's almost empty!

# df
Filesystem 1k-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on
rootfs 746888 223872 515428 30% /
/dev/sda1 6528 6328 200 97% /initrd
/dev/sda1 746888 223872 515428 30% /
/dev/sda1 746888 223872 515428 30% /share/flash/data
/dev/sda2 123923 4167 118477 3% /share/flash/conf
/dev/sdb1 292962048 66119360 226842688 23% /share/hdd/data/HDD_1_1_1
/dev/sda4 18433600 2920976 15512624 16% /share/hdd/data/HD0

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