Lee Wilbur
IT Solutions
A service of Multiverse Enterprises Inc.

The information here is provided "AS IS" and should you choose to use it, YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Summary Cannot assign drive letter to recognized FAT32 Drive
Details A FAT32 drive is recognized by Windows XP, however, when attempting to assign a drive letter via Disk Management, the option is grayed out with the only available options being Delete Partition and Help.
Cause The partition type of the FAT32 disk is not correctly set to FAT32. Norton GoBack is known to change this value. Other applications may as well.

You may be able to confirm this diagnoses through the use of a disk editor, such as WinHex or DiskProbe*.

DiskProbe has a known issue with FAT32 drives and may further corrupt your partition table.

Workaround Using a Linux boot CD, such as Knoppix, you can access files on the FAT32 drive, copying them to a USB Flash device, burning them to a CD, or transferring them a network drive.

The solution used was a combination of editing the master boot record and using FDISK from a Windows 9x boot disk. Either one alone might resolve the problem. (Note: when originally attempting the disk edit method DiskProbe was used and upon rebooting the disk appeared as unallocated. A second edit attempt combined with the FDISK command seemed to resolve the issue).

Reconnect the FAT32 drive as the primary master disk. Then use a Windows 9x boot floppy (excluding floppy disks from Windows 95A) to boot the system. Run the FDISK /MBR command from the command line. Power down and connect the drives as they are desired to be configured. Power on. Note: If you do not have a Windows 98 Boot Disk you may be able to download one from bootdisk.com

Use a byte level editor to change the 450th byte of the master boot record of the FAT32 drive to 0B.

Change the partition type using Partition Magic or similar partition management software.

Related Links

X-Ways Software Technology AG (WinHex)

Partition Types (Andries Brouwer)

A Bit More About Disk Structures (Bits 'n' Bytes)


Tip ID: 1Date Entered: 7/30/2005 8:07:32 PMLast Update: 10/31/2005 4:54:40 PM