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GDisk Switches

Situation:
You want an introduction to using the GDisk switches.

Solution:
GDisk is a DOS program with seven main operations. This document describes the options available for each operation. The seven operations are:

  • Display partition information (/STATUS)
  • Create a partition (/CRE)
  • Delete a partition (/DEL)
  • Activate or deactivate a partition (/ACT and /-ACT)
  • Hide or unhide a partition (/HIDE and /-HIDE)
  • Reinitialize the master boot record (/MBR)
  • Wipe the disk surface (/DISKWIPE)


These commands can be run from the DOS command-line or from a batch file (/BATCH). In addition, GDisk provides help from the command-line.

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Displaying GDisk help
General help is available by using the ? switch:

    gdisk /?


Help on a particular operation is available by using the switch for the operation without additional parameters. The format of this command is:


    gdisk /? </operation>


For instance, the following command displays information regarding deleting partitions:


    gdisk /? /del

Using GDisk in batch mode
The batch mode switch, /BATCH, allows GDisk to perform multiple operations with a single command. The operations can be specified interactively at a DOS command-line, or they can be supplied in advance in a text file.

GDisk's batch mode uses the following command-line format:

    gdisk [disk] /BATCH[:filename] [switch[switch..]]
  • Disk tells GDisk which fixed physical disk (1 through 8) the commands apply to.
  • /BATCH tells GDisk that it will be executing multiple GDisk commands. This command is optional.
  • Filename provides GDisk with the name of the text file that includes multiple GDisk commands. If no filename is provided, GDisk prompts the user (interactively) for the command-line parameters.
  • Switch lists the command-line parameters (switches). If the command-line calls a batch file, the switches specified on the command-line are run after running the commands contained in the batch file.


Specifying /BATCH commands interactively
Using the /BATCH command without the name of a text file allows GDisk commands to be supplied interactively at a prompt. The command-line format is:

    gdisk [disk] /BATCH [switch[switch..]]


For instance, the following command will load GDisk, prompt the user for additional commands, then wait for further input from the user:

    gdisk /batch


Here is an example of how an interactive session might look. This session creates an extended partition on the second physical disk.

    C:>gdisk /batch
    Complete the following command (ENTER to quit):

    >gdisk 2 /cre /ext

    Partition Status Type Volume Label Mbytes System Usage
    2 *CREATED* EXT DOS 507.9 17%

    >gdisk 2 /cre /log

    Partition Status Type Volume Label Mbytes System Usage
    2 EXT DOS 507.9 17%
    D: 3 *CREATED* LOG DOS Unformatted 507.9 FAT16 17%

Specifying /BATCH commands in a text file
Using the /BATCH command with the name of a text file allows GDisk commands to be supplied without user intervention during GDisk operation. GDisk opens the file and executes the commands within the file until all commands have been executed or one of the commands encounters an error. The command-line format is:

    gdisk [disk] /BATCH [switch[switch..]]
  • The name of the text file must follow DOS conventions, but the filename extension does not have to be TXT.
  • In the text file, GDisk ignores blank lines and lines starting with the hash symbol (#).
  • If all the GDisk commands will operate on the same fixed physical disk, specify the disk number on the GDisk command-line that calls the batch file or on each line of the batch file.
  • If the GDisk commands will operate on the various disks, specify the disk number on each line of the batch file. If there are additional switches on the initial command-line (the one that calls the batch file), then also specify the disk number on the initial command-line.
  • Command line arguments that apply to all of the batch commands can be specified on the original command line. The lines in the batch file (or typed at the prompt) are appended to the already partially formed command line.
  • A batch file can call another batch file.


Example of a batch file
The following command line runs the batch file two-new.gg to perform GDisk operations on disk 2, without prompting for confirmation:

    gdisk 2 /y /batch:two-new.gg


The file two-new.gg, with the following contents, deletes all partitions and creates two new ones on the second fixed disk. The hash marks (#) indicate remarks. Note that, in this example, the commands do not specify the fixed disk on each line:

    # Delete all partitions
    /del /all
    # Create a new FAT16 primary DOS partition and format it
    /cre /pri /-32 /for /q
    /cre /ext
    # Create a new FAT16 logical DOS partition and format it
    /cre /log /-32 /for /q
When GDisk runs, it appends the contents of the batch file to the initial command line, performing each of the following commands in sequence:
    gdisk 2 /y /del /all
    gdisk 2 /y /cre /pri /-32 /for /q
    gdisk 2 /y /cre /ext
    gdisk 2 /y /cre /log /-32 /for /q
Nested batch files
A batch file can call another batch file.

For instance, the following command line calls the file std-init.gg:

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    gdisk /batch:std-init.gg
Supposing the file std-init.gg contains the following lines, where the digits 1 and 2 specify the disk number:
    1 /batch:two-new.gg
    2 /batch:two-new.gg
Then GDisk runs the commands contained in the file two-new.gg

How To Use Gdisk

on the first fixed disk, then on the second fixed disk, as follows:

    gdisk 1 /y /del /all
    gdisk 1 /y /cre /pri /-32 /for /q
    gdisk 1 /y /cre /ext
    gdisk 1 /y /cre /log /-32 /for /q
    gdisk 2 /y /del /all
    gdisk 2 /y /cre /pri /-32 /for /q
    gdisk 2 /y /cre /ext
    gdisk 2 /y /cre /log /-32 /for /q


Mixing interactive commands and text file commands
GDisk accepts the interactive /BATCH command and a text file /BATCH command on the same command line.

For instance, the following command-line prompts for the number of the fixed disk or disks to execute the commands in two-new.gg against:

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    gdisk /batch /batch:two-new.gg
The disk number can also be supplied in a text file. For instance:
    gdisk /batch:disks.gg /batch:two-new.gg


Where the contents of the file disks.ggare the numbers of the physical disks (each number on a separate line):

    1
    2
Switches for GDisk operations
Here are the GDisk switches, as provided by the Gdisk /? <operation> command.

Gdisk /?
This command displays the command-line formats for the major Gdisk operations:

gdisk disk /CRE {/PRI /EXT /LOG} [/SZ:mbytes] [/FOR [/Q] [/V[:label]]] [/-32] [/-CE] [/X] [/Y]
gdisk disk /DEL {/PRI[:nth] /EXT[:nth] /LOG:nth /P:partn-no /ALL} [/X] [/Y]
gdisk [disk] [/STATUS] [/RAW /LBA] [/X] [/Y]
gdisk disk /ACT /P:partn-no [/X] [/Y]
gdisk disk /[-]HIDE /P:partn-no [/X] [/Y]
gdisk disk /MBR [/WIPE] [/X] [/Y]
gdisk [disk] /BATCH[:filename] [switch[switch..]]
gdisk /? [/CRE /DEL /STATUS /ACT /[-]HIDE /MBR /BATCH]

GDisk /? /ACT
This command displays the command-line format for the /ACT operation. The /ACT command sets a partition to Active. The /-ACT command deactivates the partition.

General command:

    gdisk disk /ACT /P:partn-no [/X] [/Y]
    • disk The physical fixed disk (1-8).
    • /ACT Set the active partition.
    • /-ACT Deactivate the partition.
    • /P:partn-no The number of the partition to activate. Use /STATUS to select the partition number.
    • /X Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /Y Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.


GDisk /? /CRE
This command displays the command-line format for the /CRE operation. The /CRE command creates fixed disk partitions and logical drives.

General command:

    gdisk disk /CRE {/PRI /EXT /LOG} [/SZ:mbytes] [/FOR [/Q] [/V[:label]]] [/-32] [/-CE] [/X] [/Y]
    • disk The physical fixed disk (1-8).
    • /CRE Create a DOS partition or logical DOS drive.
    • /PRI Create a primary DOS partition.
    • /EXT Create an extended DOS partition.
    • /LOG Create a logical DOS drive in the extended DOS partition.
    • /SZ:mbytes Specifies the size of the partition. Default is to create a partition of the largest possible size.
    • /FOR Format the new partition once it has been created.
    • /Q Perform a quick format on the new partition.
    • /V[:label] Specifies the volume label. Default is no label.
    • /-32 Ignore large-disk support (FAT32). Limits maximum size of new primary DOS partitions and logical DOS drives to 2048 MB.
    • /-CE Ignore any free space in the Customer Engineering (CE) cylinder.
    • /X Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /Y Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.


GDisk /? /DEL
This command displays the command-line format for the /DEL operation. The /DEL command deletes fixed disk partitions and logical drives.

General command:

    gdisk disk /DEL {/PRI[:nth] /EXT[:nth] /LOG:nth /P:partn-no /ALL} [/X] [/Y]
    • disk The physical fixed disk (1-8).
    • /DEL Delete a DOS partition or logical DOS drive.
    • /PRI[:nth] Delete the 'nth' primary DOS partition (1-n). Default is 1.
    • /EXT[:nth] Delete the 'nth' extended DOS partition. Default is 1.
    • /LOG:nth Delete the 'nth' logical DOS drive from the extended DOS partition (1-n).
    • /P:partn-no Delete any partition. Use /STATUS to select the number of the partition to delete.
    • /ALL Delete all partitions.
    • /X Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /Y Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.


GDisk /? /HIDE
This command displays the command-line format for the /HIDE operation. The /HIDE command hides a regular partition or unhides a hidden partition.

General command:

    gdisk disk /[-]HIDE /P:partn-no [/X] [/Y]
    • disk The physical fixed disk (1-8).
    • /HIDE Hide a partition.
    • /-HIDE Unhide a hidden partition.
    • /P:partn-no The number of the partition to hide/unhide. Use /STATUS to select the partition number.
    • /X Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /Y Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.

Gdisk /? /MBR
This command displays the command-line format for the /MBR operation. The /MBR command rewrites the boot code in the Master Boot Record by overwriting it.

Although reinitializing (writing over) the Master Boot Record (MBR) does not alter the disk's partition information, it can be destructive if other software has written information into the MBR. Typical programs that use space in the MBR include drive translation software such as OnTrack's Disk Manager, or a boot manager such as OS/2's Boot Manager. These types of utility programs are known by various names, such as disk extender, drive overlay, and operating system loader.

    Warning: Do not use the /MBR switch on a disk that is using drive translation software installed to the MBR. Writing over the translation software makes the partition data inaccessible unless the drive translation software can be successfully reinstalled.


The most common reason to use this command is to write over a boot sector virus. This destroys the virus residing in the MBR. This command does not prevent reinfection of the MBR.

General command:

    gdisk disk /MBR [/WIPE] [/X] [/Y]
    • disk The physical fixed disk (1-8).
    • /MBR Reinitialize the Master Boot Record.
    • /WIPE Delete all partitions and logical DOS drives. Default is to leave existing partitions unmodified.
    • /X Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /Y Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.


GDisk /STATUS /?
This command displays the command-line format for the /STATUS operation. The /STATUS command displays information about fixed disk partitions.

General command:

    gdisk [disk] [/STATUS] [/RAW /LBA] [/X] [/Y]
    • disk The physical fixed disk (1-8). Default is to list all fixed disks.
    • /STATUS Display partition information. Default mode.
    • /RAW Display raw contents of partition table.
    • /LBA Display raw contents of partition table using Logical Block Addressing.
    • /X Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /Y Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.

GDisk /DISKWIPE /?
This command displays the command-line format for the /DISKWIPE operation. The /DISKWIPE command wipes out all information on the hard disk.

    Warning: The /DISKWIPE command wipes out the entire contents of the physical disk. Make sure you specify the correct fixed physical disk before proceeding. You can use the /STATUS command with a disk number, to check the identity of the fixed disk you specify.


General command:

    gdisk disk /DISKWIPE [/DOD /CUSTOMWIPE:n]
    • disk
    The physical fixed disk (1-8). Default is to list all fixed disks.
    • /DISKWIPE
    Wipes the contents of the whole disk.
    • /DOD
    DoD 5200.28-STD Wipe of the contents of the whole disk.
    • /CUSTOM:passes
    DoD 5200.28-STD Wipe of the contents of the whole disk.
    • /X
    Ignore extended disk-access support.
    • /I
    Ignore direct IDE disk-access support
    • /S
    Ignore SCSI disk-access support.
    • /Y
    Suppress prompting to confirm you wish the action to be performed. /SURE has the same meaning.
    • /R
    Restart after execution of command

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