First post, by brianssparetime

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So I'm working on getting an old Gateway2k 4DX33 up and running for MS DOS 6.2.

My current issue is that I cannot get MSCDEX load because no drive letters are available.

I bought a Sintechi SD card to IDE adapter so I could use a 8gb SD card instead of an IDE hard drive. The Gateway's BIOS (an old Phoenix BIOS) was old enough that it can't auto detect, and I had no idea what geometry would make the SD2IDE adapter show up. So I connected the SD2IDE device to a Pentium3 running Linux, which had a newer bios that could autodetect geometry, and used the Linux fdisk to format the card with -t msdos. Then I stuck the SD2IDE adapter back in the Gateway, but still had trouble getting it recognized. After watching Phil's video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yn9vwOf19XE and reading this post SD2IDE Adapters + Drive Overlays (+ 90s Laptops/Notebooks) - A Report, I got a copy of EZ drive, set the BIOS to see the drive as Type 9. After a reboot (and some brief confusion around having left my dos install floppy in the a: drive), I everything up and working, and got DOS 6.2 installed on C:.

However, when the machine boots now, I get a message about running out of drive letters. At first I ignored this, but when I was trying to get CDROM support working, I kept getting errors with the drive letter I was trying to assign to the CDROM in the invocation of MSCDEX.

EZDrive partitioned by 8gb card into C:, D:, E:, and F: drives. I have LASTDRIVE set to H in my config.sys.

In trying to figure out why I couldn't map the CDROM to G, I found that, I if I go to G:, I see the same directory listing as on C:. And Same for H - it mirrors D. And so forth. So it looks like either EZ Drive or the SD card adapter is presenting this endless cycle of partitions, leaving no letter for the CDROM.

Anyone encountered this issue and/or have guidance for how to fix it?

Reply 1 of 1, by manicgamer

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First, I would suggest that you use a CF Compact Flash Card to IDE adapter, instead of an SD Card.
The reason being, is that a CF card has a direct IDE interface and more reliable than SD memory cards which
were not designed to work as IDE disks.

EZ-BIOS attempts to create the partitions to the size of the disk and DOS is limited to only 4 logical 2GB drive partitions.
1 Primary and 3 in the Extended partition. You will need to re-format these drives in DOS or better still just have
EZ-BIOS create 1 drive of 2GB FAT16 then manually create the others in DOS. There are advanced settings to this
when you install EZ-BIOS. Make sure CHS is enabled and don't allow EZ-BIOS to use all the disk space which is
why you have all those drive letters.

You can also use FDISK to remove all the partitions and re-create them manually.
As long as the MBR is not modified then the drive will still boot using the overlay bios.

REM out LASTDRIVE until you have a working CD-ROM drive.
What settings do you have for your CDROM in the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG ?

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