First post, by squareguy
I don't know exactly how you guys handle your partition and drive sizes in Windows 98 SE but here is what I have found from my recent experiences. None of which affected me back when we all actually used Windows 98 SE as our primary operating system because hard drives just weren't big enough to be a problem, at least not for me. I was using Windows 2000 Pro before I even got my first 40GB hard drive.
128GB seems to be the limit right, well not exactly from what I have encountered. Ok so first I limit a hard drive to exactly 128GB with the following method. I use SeaTools to tell a Seagate hard drive exactly how many sectors I want it to have. (Gigabytes Desired x 1024 x 1024 x 1024) / Hard Drive Sector Size. This is for an IDE 250GB Seagate hard drive with 512kb sectors. Honestly I am not 100% sure what happens with modern drives that have physical 4096kb sectors, if anything. So (128 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024) / 512 = 268435456 sectors. I use the updated FDISK.EXE from Microsoft for Windows 98 SE to handle drives larger than 64GB. Let's say I create a single 128GB partition and when I go to format it, format doesn't seem to understand how large it is. Microsoft says this is merely cosmetic and it will format it to 128GB properly and in fact it does. Now we install Windows 98 SE to that 128GB partition and everything looks fine. Let's say we decide to run Scandisk to verify the health of the drive, failure. Scandisk simply cannot handle the number of sectors (4,194,304 32kb FAT32 clusters ) and gives us an out of memory error. So I have decided to take the safe road and limit hard drive size to 127GB instead of 128GB, which is kind of funny because I sort of remember back in the day folks talking about 127GB limitation or maybe my mind is just making that up? I then use FDISK.EXE to create a 50% Primary DOS Partition and a 50% Extended DOS Partition. This keeps everything nice and happy within Windows 98 SE.
FYI, if I create a 128GB drive and a 64GB Primary DOS Partiton, then the Extended DOS Partition is a few megabytes over 64GB in reality and FORMAT.COM goofs up again so I consider it unsafe and just stick with 127GB total drive size.
I am ok with the cosmetic issue of FORMAT.COM not showing the proper size but the Scandisk issue bothers me. I want to know that I can take care of and repair the system as intended with the Windows 98 SE tools and boot disks.
I say all of this in order to ask a simple question but you will better understand why I am asking the question. Does anyone know what is the maximum partition size that ALL of Windows 98 SE can safely handle? I would be totally happy if I could say bump my primary partition up to 100GB and my extended lowered to 27GB but I am not going to test every conceivable partition size and make sure it works. Google has not helped me this time hehe.
It works pretty well this way. I use C: for Windows and I use D: for a local copy of install files, drivers, installers, ISO files, a place to keep a Ghost image handy of C:, etc. Much faster than a USB 1.1 flash drive, easier to find than that burned DVD I misplaced and not on the network drive at my work while I am at home 🤣, yeah that happens. I can nuke C: whenever needed and reload either from scratch or from Ghost Image off D: as long as I have a boot CD or floppy.
So again, anyone got a definitive answer for maximum partition size without ANY issues?
Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE