First post, by JohnSmith486
Hey there. New to the forums. Hopefully we can share some insights.
So, I'm restoring an old system of mine which has everything installed and (hopefully) functional except that it's missing a hard drive. Looking around the market around where I live, it has become clear to me that low capacity IDE hard drives are not as easy to source as they were years ago (it's been a while!)
I've researched around a bit and I ran into the topic of BIOS HDD size limitations in older machines. Indeed, looking around the BIOS settings of the machine, the maximum values it allows me to manually input are:
Which it says calculates to a size of: 8423MB
Based on my knowledge so far, I've come to the conclusion that my options for storage are:
1. An old hard drive. It would probably have to be IDE, which seem to be harder to find. This would not be optimal I think because first of all, the drives are really expensive for what they are and they're becoming really old so who knows when they will fail even if I get a working one. I do have an SATA->IDE Adapter which I'm planning to use in another machine, but I'm not sure if there even exist SATA HDDs which are smaller than 8GB.
2. Used <8GB SATA SSD. They seem to be quite hard to find, at least I could not find any in my home country at the moment, so I'd have to import. Well it just seems kind of a waste to combine such fast technology with such old hardware that will never be able to keep up, heh. But the main issue I've read is that old OSs and SSDs are not a good match cause they wear through the drive quickly..?
3. Compact Flash. Now the good thing with this is that the adapters and the cards are available where I live. It seems promising, but I read some info that the cards would have to be in "fixed disk" mode to be able to boot from, and changing the cards which are sold new from "removable media" to "fixed disk" is hard or impossible. Is this true? Or is it only for newer OS's? If the fixed disk thing is irrelevant, this might be my preferred option since I've read that CF & IDE have very similar tech behind them, and I'd prefer the adapter to be as simple as possible.
4. SD Card. Well, the adapters are not sold where I am but I could import, and I do have a couple of old 2GB micro-SD cards from old phones and the full size adapter... I've read though that the performance might not be as good and they're not as well suited to this task since the conversion is more complicated. I dunno.
5. Something else? Maybe it is possible to forcefully limit hard drive size so that the bios would recognize a larger disk? Or is this a gamble if it'll work or not...
The OS I'm most likely planning to install is Win98 SE. The computer has a CD drive but it has two IDE ports; from what I've seen SD card adapters don't seem to have a master/slave switch, so it wouldn't be a problem in this case.
Any thoughts and advice on this will be appreciated.