VOGONS


First post, by Shponglefan

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I'm toying with the idea of building a dual-boot DOS 6.22 / Windows 95 system and am trying to decide on what type of storage would work best.

Originally I was thinking of just using a CF card (4 or 8 GB) and chopping it up into 2GB FAT16 partitions.

Alternatively, I was thinking about using an SSD and then creating a couple FAT16 partitions for DOS, plus additional FAT32 partitions just for Win 95 stuff.

Not sure if there is an advantage of one over the other, other than CF cards being more portable and being able to connect to a modern system for file transfers.

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Reply 1 of 9, by maestro

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Depending on the hardware, the ssd might be a little faster but also might need more maintenance in the long run, it really depends on what ssd on what motherboard. Neither OS is write heavy, with enough ram W95 will hardly use its swap file and there are other tweaks to reduce writes. Here's one for the config.sys file using MSDOS 7.0 and above:

ACCDATE ======= For each hard disk, specifies whether to record the date that files are last accessed. Last access […]
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ACCDATE
=======

For each hard disk, specifies whether to record the date that files are
last accessed. Last access dates are turned off for all drives when
your computer is started in safe mode, and are not maintained for floppy
disks by default.

Syntax

ACCDATE=drive1+|- [drive2+|-]...

Parameters

drive1, drive 2...
Specifies the drive letter.

+|-
Specify a plus sign (+) to indicate that the last access date should be
maintained for files on the drive. Specify a minus sign (-) to indicate
that the last access date should not be maintained for files.

Reply 2 of 9, by RetroGamer4Ever

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You can use a modern SATA SSD with an IDE/PATA adapter, divided into partitions for your preferred usage, and maintain it with a TRIM utility or rely on the automatic active garbage collection process built into all modern SSD controllers.

Reply 3 of 9, by AppleSauce

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You can even use mechanical hard drives if you want , I have a rig with two western digital caviar drives , a 10gig one containing DOS 6.22 and Win3.1
and a 20gig one containing WIN95 OSR2 , I just go into bios and disable whatever drive has the OS I'm not going to boot into to ensure the drives don't see each other , its a bit jank but it works.

Reply 4 of 9, by Shponglefan

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AppleSauce wrote on 2022-10-12, 04:43:

You can even use mechanical hard drives if you want , I have a rig with two western digital caviar drives , a 10gig one containing DOS 6.22 and Win3.1
and a 20gig one containing WIN95 OSR2 , I just go into bios and disable whatever drive has the OS I'm not going to boot into to ensure the drives don't see each other , its a bit jank but it works.

I could, though the main reason I want to use a solid state drive is for no noise and less heat.

Tandy 1000 TL build
286 Epson build
Ultimate Windows XP build

Reply 5 of 9, by Shponglefan

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RetroGamer4Ever wrote on 2022-10-12, 02:14:

You can use a modern SATA SSD with an IDE/PATA adapter, divided into partitions for your preferred usage, and maintain it with a TRIM utility or rely on the automatic active garbage collection process built into all modern SSD controllers.

Yeah, I suspect this is the way I'll end up going. I already do this on a Win 98 build, so I suppose I may as well do the same with this DOS / Win95 build.

Thanks!

Tandy 1000 TL build
286 Epson build
Ultimate Windows XP build

Reply 6 of 9, by Jo22

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Another problem might be alignment. VFAT/FAT32 is tricky to align.
Even if the header (partition table) is aligned, the files themselves might not (clusters are moving).

But SSDs do normally require or expect an alignment to 4K sectors (blocks, segments etc).
If that's not the case, the SSD must do twice the work (read-modify-write), cuttong performance in half.
- Because, old OSes work in a couple of 512 Byte chunks, which must fit (should fit) snuggly inside each the 4K sectors.
If they don't, the 4K sectors must be freshly rewritten.

Afdiag3.jpg
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512 Byte/per sector use throughout the system Src: Wikipedia
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alignment.png
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Src: https://www.reneelab.com/4k-alignment-introduction.html
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Anyway, it's an annoying topic. Several people seem to be angry about me for mentioning it so often, also.

Read about alignment here -> Re: SSD easily corrupted under Windows 98

If CF cards are better handling this issue, I don't know.
In the past, CF cards had various internal page sizes (512B, 1024KB, 2048KB, 4096KB) and used SLC or MLC memory.
So it didn't matter that much. a) Both flash types were durable enough b) Misalignment was the norm, anyway c) all CF cards also have a simple garbage collection, at least

SSDs, however, are made with modern OSes in mind.
They do have garbage collection, too. Which was still in early stage in first generation SSDs.
But became quite mature in second generation SSDs.
But nowadays, all OSes from Windows 7 onwards do support TRIM, anyway.
So I'm not sure if garbage collection is still the primary method for house keeping.

Edit: It's not just about cluster sizes.
OSes prior Windows 8 always communicated with units of 512 Bytes per sector.
Internally (file open, drivers etc), as well as externally (HDD controller).
Windows 7 was the first OS to be 4K "aware", though it didn't use 4K sector communications.
The NTFS/FAT32 settings were a complete separate thing, also.
Though ideally, an all 4K configuration (NTFS with 4K clusters, Win NT Virtual Memory with 4K, HDD interface with 4K) would be preferable.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advanced_Format

Last edited by Jo22 on 2022-10-12, 13:54. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 7 of 9, by Shponglefan

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I'm not too worried about alignment, since I can set up beforehand when I partition the drive. I use AOEMI Partition Assistant for that and it allows for manually defined partition alignment.

I did that for the SSD I'm using on my Win 98 machine.

Tandy 1000 TL build
286 Epson build
Ultimate Windows XP build

Reply 8 of 9, by Jo22

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Hi there ! 🙂
The problem is, that on FAT32, the files are ending up misaligned, even if the tools say "Alignment OK".
That's because it differs so much from NTFS.
NTFS is, um, linear or equal. All pieces have the same size. If the header is aligned fine, so is the rest.
FAT32 is not like that, unfortunately.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 9 of 9, by konc

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Shponglefan wrote on 2022-10-12, 13:45:

I'm not too worried about alignment, since I can set up beforehand when I partition the drive. I use AOEMI Partition Assistant for that and it allows for manually defined partition alignment.

I did that for the SSD I'm using on my Win 98 machine.

The subject of alignment came up during the time of winxp and ntfs and we never learnt about FAT. It's not that simple, even if you manually align correctly the partition for a given snapshot of the drive.
Another good read on the subject: How to (manually) align a FAT filesystem?

I wouldn't bother with it on a DOS/Win95 system to be honest.