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12. FIPS, PARTED, splitting of hard disk partitions

This section is for anybody who has only one primary FAT partition (DOS, Windows 3.xx, NT) and wants to keep it without loosing data. Make some backups because if you burn it, I won't be responsible - you will.

Journey to PARTED

Andrew Clausen (, GNU Parted maintainer, wrote "You might want to mention GNU Parted in the PLIP-Install Howto." That is done. Since I didn't try it I can only give you the links to parted by http and parted ftp. Help yourself. Parted seems very good.

Andrew said: "GNU Parted is a *LOT* more powerful than FIPS (think Partition Magic). For example, it can convert FAT16 <=> FAT32, change the size of the FATs, doesn't require a defragger, etc. And it supports ext2, linux-swap..."

Back to FIPS.

Download FIPS. Don't forget the mirrors where xx is your country abbreviation (fr, fi, us, uk, etc.).

At the time of this writing the archive file is called

The fips program is already in the debian cdrom distribution. I found it (yes, after downloading the file) in /cdrom/debian/tools/ (It supposes your cdrom is mounted on /cdrom)

I guess you are on a Unix world but you're not compelled to be. Go in a good working place on the source computer:

     $ mkdir /tmp/fips-2.0/
     $ cd /tmp/fips-2.0/
     $ unzip -l /archive/fips/
     $ unzip  /archive/fips/
     $ ls
     $ dos2unix fips.doc fips.faq  readme.1st 

  1. Read the file readme.1st
  2. Read the file fips.doc
  3. Read the file fips.faq

Boot your target computer. Be in pure DOS (quit Windows).

Read again the file fips.doc from the section "5. Before you start".

Be aware of hidden files.

Graham's comment: Hidden files will not be moved by DeFrag (as far as I know), so FIPS will reclaim less space for use by Linux. Use the ATTRIB command to remove the "hidden" attribute. Some things may require that files are hidden, so it will be necessary to hide the same files again later. I think that it would also be a good idea to run scandisk at this moment. Perhaps I do not trust DOS.

Be aware to eliminate the "virtual memory" file (swap for Win*) during the fips process. In Windows 3.11 (quite up to date, no?) this swap file is configured from Program-Manager->Control-Panel->Enhanced (a i386 chip icon).

Click, Click->Click on the chip and re-click on a button called "Virtual Memory".

Adjust the size to none, Click<-Click<-Click<-Click back plus Alt-F4 to close all your windows. Don't you think the Gates are closed too?

Graham's comment: I am not sure that this is a good idea. What happens if "386spart.par" is not hidden? I think that DEFRAG will move it, and Windows will complain next time it starts, then rebuild the file. Since we are clearly keeping DOS/Windows, the user will require a swap file again later. By not deleting it, the disc space is reserved for that time.

Graham's new comment: "Make sure that the file is not hidden (attrib -h -s 386spart.par), then delete it (del 386spart.par). The disc space is then free. Run FIPS. Next time Windows starts, it will complain that the file is corrupt, and will recreate it."

I don't what to say. I've just parroted FIPS manual because I succeeded with it.

So drink coffee, and pray.


     C:\> SCANDISK

Correct every cluster. You should have no dead cluster now.


Run DEFRAG on C:

     C:\> DEFRAG C:

All used clusters are at the beginning of the hard disk.


Make a bootable floppy disk:

     C:\> FORMAT A: /S

Copy AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS to the new floppy if you want to keep your local features (keyboard keys etc.). Remove the line running SMARTDRIVE.EXE in AUTOEXEC.BAT. Keep a minimal AUTOEXEC.BAT

On the source box: Copy the fips files restorrb.exe, fips.exe and errors.txt to this floppy disk.

    $ mcopy errors.txt fips.exe restorrb.exe a:

Graham's comment: Doesn't this assume that mtools are installed? If the floppy disc is mounted as type msdos, the standard "cp" command should do the job, and mtools would not be needed. I have never used mtools, but I have played with DOS files from Linux.

Yes, this assumes that mtools are installed. mcopy is faster to type than mkdir, mount, cp, umount, rmdir.

Boot the target with the floppy. Run fips while reading the section "Using FIPS" in the file fips.doc

Do not forget to answer yes when fips asks for a rootboot saving.

When everything is ok, save your hard disk space:

     $ cd
     $ rm -rf /tmp/fips-2.0/

Now you have a nice free space for a new operating system.

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