IDE hard drive partitions

Discussion about old PC hardware.

IDE hard drive partitions

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-07 @ 13:32

I thought I understood partitions. Either 4 primary paritions or 3 primary partitions and 1 extended partition.
80Gb ide hard drive and bios recognizes it fine. I install dos 6.22 and make the normal C: D: E: and F: partitions 2Gb each which is max that dos allows. I have dos stuff in C: and dos games in D:
I install win98se and choose to install it on drive E: and everything works fine and I can boot to both win98se and dos 6.22.
I start looking into if I could get win98se to be able to access rest of the hard drive and I use gparted live CD to make second primary partition that uses rest of the hard drive and fat32. After that I boot to win98se and it can see the drive G:, but it can't access it or even format it.
Did I miss something or is it impossible to use the rest of the hard drive if you have fat16 partitions for dos 6.22 already there?
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby dr_st » 2018-12-07 @ 18:08

Partitioning schemes can get complicated as each OS may have its own weird limits about number of partitions, their types, size, total size, order, etc.

You can read a prior discussion to understand a bit:
viewtopic.php?f=46&t=60952

However, before you spend hours on this - here is my best advice - stop wasting you time.

Drop DOS 6.22, it's not needed at all. Install Win98 SE only and then you can partition the drive any way you want. If you have some games that have issues with FAT32 partitions, you can make 1-2 FAT16 partitions for them, while Windows OS files and Windows games can be on FAT32 partitions.

I too have a 80GB hard drive. Once I was using it for DOS 6.22, so as a "legacy" I have some FAT16 partitions, which are probably not needed. It is currently split this way:

C, D, E, F - FAT16 partition, 2GB each; Win98SE boot files and DOS apps are on C, games are on D, E, F
G - Windows OS files and programs - 30GB
H - Windows games - the rest of the size

No issues with DOS or Windows games, for the past 15+ years.

If you think you must have DOS 6.22 on it for some weird fetish, just keep it limited to the FAT16 primary partition (C) and then split the extended partition to any number of FAT/FAT32 logical volumes. Windows 98 and Windows 98 DOS will see all; DOS 6 will only see C:, but who cares.
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-07 @ 18:31

I think one reason why I wanted to install 6.22 was to stop seeing all the programs whining that I should not run them in windows when in dos 7.1
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby dr_st » 2018-12-07 @ 18:39

Which "all" programs have this problem? I only know of CTCM/CTCU and I have a patch for that.
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby SirNickity » 2018-12-07 @ 18:50

The standard MBR-style partition table has four slots. The "primary" partition type is just a normal partition occupying one of those slots. An "extended" partition occupies one of those slots and creates a child partition table of its own, with a little more flexibility. There's really nothing in the MBR format that precludes being able to create any combination or order of primary and extended partitions (each with so many logical partitions underneath that.) Various OSes may not appreciate parsing such a table, though. Aside from trial-and-error, or seeking out existing documentation, the only way to know what will work is to try it. Old code makes a lot of assumptions based on precedent. Don't be surprised when something that should work just doesn't because... no good reason.

DOS has this weird restriction of only allowing you to create the one primary partition, and then everything else lives in an extended partition. That is one of DOS's many, many quirks WRT handling partitions and file systems. I've gotten so used to using Linux fdisk to create all primary partitions for boot, root, swap, and FAT32, that I got momentarily confused when I went back to DOS and tried to create a second primary partition for D: and it wouldn't let me. It is quite notable how slowly DOS changed over its many years. Early Windows versions are better, but not dramatically so.
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-07 @ 19:19

dr_st wrote:Which "all" programs have this problem? I only know of CTCM/CTCU and I have a patch for that.


I don't remember which ones were the main problem back then, but I think they are usually utilities that want to access hardware directly that complain about windows.
I managed to make it work. I deleted the second primary partition that I made, Resized the extended partition to fill the hard drive and then changed F: drive to fat32 and expanded it to fill rest of the hard drive with gparted live cd.
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby dr_st » 2018-12-07 @ 19:33

Baoran wrote:I don't remember which ones were the main problem back then, but I think they are usually utilities that want to access hardware directly that complain about windows.
(a) Why do you need such utilities?
(b) Are you really in pure DOS when they complain?

Baoran wrote:I managed to make it work. I deleted the second primary partition that I made, Resized the extended partition to fill the hard drive and then changed F: drive to fat32 and expanded it to fill rest of the hard drive with gparted live cd.
That will work, but DOS6 will not see the extended partition at all (I wouldn't care).
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby Baoran » 2018-12-07 @ 19:38

dr_st wrote:
Baoran wrote:I don't remember which ones were the main problem back then, but I think they are usually utilities that want to access hardware directly that complain about windows.
(a) Why do you need such utilities?
(b) Are you really in pure DOS when they complain?

Baoran wrote:I managed to make it work. I deleted the second primary partition that I made, Resized the extended partition to fill the hard drive and then changed F: drive to fat32 and expanded it to fill rest of the hard drive with gparted live cd.
That will work, but DOS6 will not see the extended partition at all (I wouldn't care).


Those utilities that complain about windows probably just check what version of the dos you are using and if it dos 7, they assume you are in windows. I am in pure dos because I have BOOTGUI=0.
Dos 6.22 can still see drives D: and E: from the extended partition, but it can't see F: that is now a big fat32 partition. Dos 6.22 fdisk doesn't show F: even as a non dos partition, it just doesn't exist to it.
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Re: IDE hard drive partitions

Postby dr_st » 2018-12-07 @ 19:42

So that's an even better result than I thought possible. :)
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