Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am booting a Windows instance in an OpenStack environment. OpenStack can use a "configuration drive" to pass information into the instance. This drive is formatted as a whole-disk MS-DOS filesystem (i.e., there is no partition map).

Is there any way to mount this under Windows? Windows can see the disk, but because there is no partition map it shows it all as "Unallocated".

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Apparently, your "configuration drive" is blank. Try formatting it & put some configuration on it.

share|improve this answer
I think you may have misread my question. The configuration drive is already formatted -- as a whole-disk MS-DOS filesystem. It already contains files. The question is, "is there a way, under Windows, to mount a whole-disk filesystem"? –  larsks Nov 1 '12 at 16:45
@larsks Actually, no I didn't. If it is indeed "fat32/fat16/fat12/any-other msdos file-system" windows will automatically recognize it. There is nothing special that needs to be done. –  TheCompWiz Nov 1 '12 at 20:43
It sounds like you haven't encountered whole-disk filesystems before. It is a standard MS-DOS filesystem (and mountable as such under Linux and OS X). The trick is that there is no partition map on the drive (it's a whole-disk filesystem). Windows does not recognize the fact that there is a filesystem there (because Windows, at least by default) wants a partition map. There are third-party tools to access a device like this, but I'm curious if there are native Windows solutions. –  larsks Nov 1 '12 at 22:53
That makes no sense. There is no way to mount a partition without knowing the geometry of the partition. Windows or otherwise. That's what the partition map does. I'm sure there is a way in Linux to mount such a partition... but not without a bunch of parameters... but I seriously doubt it's possible in Windows. –  TheCompWiz Nov 2 '12 at 17:05
A partition map simply divides your physical block device (a disk) into a bunch of smaller logical block devices (the partitions). This is by no means the only way to carve up a disk. And just like a logical device (a partition) can hold a filesystem, so can the physical device (the entire disk). If you're familiar with Unix-style device naming, this is the difference between something like /dev/sda (the entire disk) vs /dev/sda1 (the first partition on the disk /dev/sda). Both are block devices capable of containing data. –  larsks Nov 3 '12 at 23:40

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.