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First post, by Greger

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So I'm getting into the retro scene by building a few 2000-ish computers for a small LAN for me and a couple of friends. I got most parts at home except hard drives with IDE connection.

I keep reading that I can't use a bigger HDD than 137gb, but smaller than that is harder to find. Will it install fine on a larger HDD, just that it won't show more than 137gb, or can't i even install 98 on such HDDs? Is it possible to create a smaller partition on a HDD for 98, and just use that? But how to do that on a computer with no OS installed?

As you can see, I'm a bit confused! I'm not interested in having a big HDD. If I have a 500gb drive that only displays 137gb, I'll be happy. I know there's a patch for larger drives but I'd like to try and not patch my way to making my computers work with 98se.

Thanks!

Reply 2 of 5, by Repo Man11

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There are a number of ways to get around this. Phil has a good video that covers this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCulATQ7GlM

You can install Win98 to a drive larger than the size limit and everything will seem fine at first, but sooner or later it will glitch. Also, if you get an error and it goes into scandisk on reboot, it will take forever with larger drives/partitions. Best to avoid it and use a smaller partition. A thirty gigabyte hard drive was plenty large enough back in the day, so a forty or fifty gig partition is really overkill.

"Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects." - Will Rogers

Reply 3 of 5, by Repo Man11

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I use relatively inexpensive 120 gigabyte SSDs with my Windows 98 computers, but I have used one terabyte conventional drives with the size limited using Seatools and they worked fine.

"Everyone is ignorant, only on different subjects." - Will Rogers

Reply 4 of 5, by jakethompson1

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Greger wrote on 2022-06-28, 20:19:

As you can see, I'm a bit confused! I'm not interested in having a big HDD. If I have a 500gb drive that only displays 137gb, I'll be happy. I know there's a patch for larger drives but I'd like to try and not patch my way to making my computers work with 98se.

Big drives support a feature called a Host Protected Area which does exactly what you want. In addition to Windows 98, it helps with buggy Award BIOSes that are smart enough to support drives over 8.4GB that are too big for C/H/S settings to support, but dumb enough that they hang on drives over 32GB or so.

I would personally use the hdparm tool on Linux to set this capacity using a command like: hdparm -N p268435455 /dev/sda
If you don't already have a Linux machine to hook up the drive to, you could use a boot disk or live CD.

I'm not sure what happens if you use a big drive as-is, but just create a C: partition smaller than 137GB so as not to cross the 28-bit barrier. Those who have actually played with this can speak to it.

Reply 5 of 5, by jakethompson1

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Repo Man11 wrote on 2022-06-28, 21:40:

I use relatively inexpensive 120 gigabyte SSDs with my Windows 98 computers, but I have used one terabyte conventional drives with the size limited using Seatools and they worked fine.

Ah yeah, I believe Seatools does the same Host Protected Area trick I mentioned but from DOS.