auron wrote on 2021-04-11, 15:42:
guess it wouldn't hurt to try, but i highly doubt there's any point in loading smartdrv under win95. that being said, it might be worth trying to manually limit vcache size as it's commonly recommended for windows 95. i'd also make sure that all of that memory is actually cached by the chipset. also did you make sure that the chipset and IDE controller got correctly recognized in device manager?
generally it's useful to have an old ide drive to test against in cases like this.
Well, Microsoft itself uses SmartDrive during the initial Win98 Setup process to speed things up.. 😀
The idea is to use DOS/BIOS for accessing the HDD and CD-ROM drive rather than using a native Windows driver that might be flakey:
In theory, it would also have been posssible to load a 32-Bit Disk Access driver (32BDFA aka FastDisk) instead.
But these aren't exactly the most stable/compatible, I guess. The Win95 counterpart (ESDI_506.PDR) is much more relaxed.
The VCache thing might be worth a try, also. 😎 But on Win95 only. Win98 and up are intelligent and don't need such tweaks anymore.
https://web.archive.org/web/20060128014409/ht … 4/a/memmgmt.php
Personally, though, I assume that the SD card or the adapter are also to blame.
SD cards do struggle when too much I/O is going on. I experience this every day on my main PC, an Raspberry Pi 4 with a 128GB SD card.
So if it's possible to use some sort of uhm, write-combining, things might be smoother.
That's why I thought of a disk cache, albeit for reading only. Using SmartDrive with write-behind isn't exactly safe.
Brings back some bad memories of data loss with DoubleSpace/DriveSpace. 😅
On Windows XP, there's a filter driver, by the way. It's meant for embedded use.
Garrett W wrote on 2021-04-11, 17:07:
Are you sure this is an issue with the SD card or adapter?
Is DMA enabled for the controller in the device manager? Have you given "Cacheman" a try? I find version 4.1 to work pretty well for Win9x.
Be careful with that DMA check box, though. If the controller or device isn't DMA capable, it's a nightmare to get to that setting unchecked. 🙁
Because, in safe mode, you can't really make changes to that setting in device manager. Except for disabling the whole IDE drivers.
In worst case, you're left with a broken HDD/CD-ROM support. Windows 9x will then permanently fall back to DOS in order to access the HDD.
And CD-ROM support might be gone, too. In such a worst case scenario, someone has to load MSCDEX and OAKCDROM/VIDE-CDD in order to access a CD-ROM.
To make matters worse, Windows 9x always asks for the Windows CD-ROM for driver and system files.
Unless they (DRIVER and WIN95, WIN98 folders) were wisely copied to the HDD, it'll be quite hard to fix things.
I'm speaking from experience here, by the way. Nearly bricked one of my laptop's Win98SE installation that way. 🙁
Luckily, I had a backup copy of the HDD, because the BIOS Setup has no option to disable DMA or UDMA.
If it had, it would have been quite easy to boot Win98SE in the normal way and uncheck that box.
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