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HDD not detected by my BIOS... ARGH!

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First post, by Snookeroo

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Hey gang, I was having a blast doing my first retro Windows 98 build until I hit this snag. Would greatly appreciate any help/advice you can offer.

No matter what I do, my BIOS will not detect my 40gb HDD at all! Here are some details:

Mobo: Tekram P6Bx-An
CPU: Intel Pentium 3 550E mhz
BIOS: Award Modular BIOS v4.51pg
HDD: Western Digital Caviar WD400BB 40GB (see pics attached hdd and hdd2)

The HDD LED comes on when the BIOS is searching on the appropriate connection, so I know the HDD is receiving power. I have attached some pictures (bios1, bios2) showing what I get during the BIOS IDE auto-detect.

Things I have tried:
- Ruled out that there's any problem with the IDE cables, I have two of them and both the Master and Slave positions work fine when detecting my CD-ROM drive.
- Tested each of the jumper settings. When using Cable Select, the BIOS IDE auto-detect just hangs. When using Master or Slave it just skips over after a few seconds and reports "NONE".
- Ruled out any problems with the molex power connector. The same connector works fine when powering my CD-ROM drive.

Could it be possible that my BIOS is limited to only detect 32gb drives? If this is the case, how do I check for that?

Thank you in advance for the assistance. I really need a saviour here! I bought the HDD off a trusted seller on eBay who reported it as tested and working.

Cheers,
Toby.

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  • hdd2.jpg
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  • bios2.jpg
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    bios2.jpg
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  • bios1.jpg
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  • hdd.jpg
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Reply 1 of 39, by AmiSapphire

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That board's BIOS has a 32GB HDD limit (bug). There is a 128GB HDD patched BIOS on http://wims.rainbow-software.org, but I would back up your original BIOS in case something goes wrong.

http://wims.rainbow-software.org/ajz/Tekram%2 … BX-A%28n%29.zip

Edit: That BIOS is out of date (latest is v1.08), but even the latest version has the 32GB limit.

Last edited by AmiSapphire on 2021-07-25, 13:52. Edited 2 times in total.

Computer in my collection that had too much work done is... Compaq Armada 1573DM!

- Original DSTN panel replaced with an HPA panel (now gone)
- Left hinge repaired twice
- Front panel replaced thrice
- Replaced busted inverter
- Chassis replacement

Reply 2 of 39, by dank0

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Or get PCI IDE controller (Promise etc.)

AMD K6-II 500, Nvidia TNT2 AGP, 256 MB RAM
Roland SCC-1, Gravis Ultrasound Classic, Turtle Beach Tropez, Roland MT-32

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
••• WANTED: ROLAND SCP-55 •••
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Reply 3 of 39, by zapbuzz

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you can use the ontrack overlay (in vogons downloads) for on motherboard ide controller and you can also request or find a bios mod from the experts at wims bios forum / website to bring the pc beyond the 32gb barrier. a pci controller can do it but when a mod bios are free its a sweet proposition (i never had a failiure they are great and have a list of modded bios for download)
Lastly thats a very old model hard disk i recommend testing in another pc to see its SMA.R.T information if theres one avilable.
Oh and don't be afaraid to switch the drive cable address jumper from master/ primary - slave/secondary or cable select .... sometimes that works.

Last edited by zapbuzz on 2021-07-25, 14:10. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 4 of 39, by dank0

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Also i forgot to mention almost every IDE HDD has Jumper setting to limit 32GB of use for BIOS - https://www.reclaime.com/library/hard-disk-ca … y-clipping.aspx
I have to do it for one of my drives on old Asus board with seagate drive

AMD K6-II 500, Nvidia TNT2 AGP, 256 MB RAM
Roland SCC-1, Gravis Ultrasound Classic, Turtle Beach Tropez, Roland MT-32

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
••• WANTED: ROLAND SCP-55 •••
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Reply 5 of 39, by zapbuzz

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AmiSapphire wrote on 2021-07-25, 13:49:

That board's BIOS has a 32GB HDD limit (bug). There is a 128GB HDD patched BIOS on http://wims.rainbow-software.org, but I would back up your original BIOS in case something goes wrong.

http://wims.rainbow-software.org/ajz/Tekram%2 … BX-A%28n%29.zip

Edit: That BIOS is out of date (latest is v1.08), but even the latest version has the 32GB limit. Also means not just 128gb but up to; not under 8gb though.

you mean the official one. The patched wims/rainbow is what is needed in this scenario.
I sure hope people don't use those hard disks upside down!

Last edited by zapbuzz on 2021-07-25, 14:36. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 39, by dank0

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Here is WD manual - http://www.supremelaw.org/systems/wd/western. … er.settings.pdf - your settings to recognize the HDD is image - Figure 6. Alternate Jumper Settings for Hard Drives

your drive is only 40GB big so you will loose 8GB

AMD K6-II 500, Nvidia TNT2 AGP, 256 MB RAM
Roland SCC-1, Gravis Ultrasound Classic, Turtle Beach Tropez, Roland MT-32

••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
••• WANTED: ROLAND SCP-55 •••
••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Reply 7 of 39, by Jo22

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zapbuzz wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:14:

I sure hope people don't use those hard disks upside down!

Or worse, inclined. 😰 That's the worst scenario, I think.
The platter won't rotate properly that way and the r/w heads may "land" accidentally, if the air cushion doesn't build up properly.

"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 8 of 39, by Snookeroo

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Thank you all so much for the quick and helpful responses! I was worried it would be some BIOS problem like this.

I will do some research and see if I can install a modded version of the BIOS which removes the barrier. I'm not sure if my HDD has a jumper config for limiting the drive capacity; if it does I have been unable to find it online.

I'll let you all know how I go!

Thanks again,
Toby.

Reply 9 of 39, by Snookeroo

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Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:22:
zapbuzz wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:14:

I sure hope people don't use those hard disks upside down!

Or worse, inclined. 😰 That's the worst scenario, I think.
The platter won't rotate properly that way and the r/w heads may "land" accidentally, if the air cushion doesn't build up properly.

Oh no! I've had the drive upside down and inclined in all sorts of positions while I was testing it. Does this mean that I could have irreversibly damaged it?

Reply 10 of 39, by AmiSapphire

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zapbuzz wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:14:
AmiSapphire wrote on 2021-07-25, 13:49:

That board's BIOS has a 32GB HDD limit (bug). There is a 128GB HDD patched BIOS on http://wims.rainbow-software.org, but I would back up your original BIOS in case something goes wrong.

http://wims.rainbow-software.org/ajz/Tekram%2 … BX-A%28n%29.zip

Edit: That BIOS is out of date (latest is v1.08), but even the latest version has the 32GB limit.

you mean the official one. The patched wims/rainbow is what is needed in this scenario.
I sure hope people don't use those hard disks upside down!

Yeah, OP's BIOS is v1.05, out of date. And I did mean the official BIOS. Wasn't clear earlier.

Edit: Internet went out; found damaged cable!

Last edited by AmiSapphire on 2021-07-25, 14:52. Edited 1 time in total.

Computer in my collection that had too much work done is... Compaq Armada 1573DM!

- Original DSTN panel replaced with an HPA panel (now gone)
- Left hinge repaired twice
- Front panel replaced thrice
- Replaced busted inverter
- Chassis replacement

Reply 11 of 39, by Snookeroo

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I have no idea how to update my BIOS, especially because my mobo is too old to use USB. Can someone please share me a good guide or something?

Reply 12 of 39, by zapbuzz

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Snookeroo wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:35:

I have no idea how to update my BIOS, especially because my mobo is too old to use USB. Can someone please share me a good guide or something?

It is done via floppy disk or bootable cdrom if floppy is not available.
do you require assistance in creating one? I can make a semi automatic bootable of floppy or cdrom image
you still need to press the ok to write 😀
A bootable cdrom for BIOS update support is just an image of a boot floppy loaded into the boot part of the cdrom works and takes same addres of a: drive only usually read only.
A boot floppy of msdos 6.22 or later can have the manufacturers bios program plus the latest patched bios and is executed like this in dos mode:

a:\biosupdater.exe a:\updatedbios.bin

you will be offered to backup original bios before overwriting the chip.

if at later stage you do not like the new bios you can replace it with the backup.

Last edited by zapbuzz on 2021-07-25, 14:45. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 13 of 39, by Snookeroo

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zapbuzz, you're amazing! Thanks heaps for the offer but I'd like to learn and do it myself.

I downloaded the 128GB update from wims:
http://wims.rainbow-software.org/ajz/Tekram%2 … BX-A%28n%29.zip

I unzipped it and I can see that there's a bin file in there. I have a 1.44mb floppy. What should I do next? Do I need to use Rufus like when you're doing a bootable OS disk?

Reply 14 of 39, by zapbuzz

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Not just for floppy itself. You just need to make it a dos boot disk (i think its called system disk from xp format menu)
then you place the bios.bin and the dos based flash program on it, boot from it (no memory managers) and type the flasher name in followed by the bios.bin filename
you can delete config.sys and autoexec.bat from the floppy if exist; you only need dos without accessories to boot
the dos based flash writing program you can copy from the official bios release set for your motherboard

Last edited by zapbuzz on 2021-07-26, 06:52. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 15 of 39, by Snookeroo

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Excellent, I think I should be able to manage that. It's 1am here in Australia, so I'll try this out tomorrow and see how I go.

Please promise me you'll check up on me again in 24 hours! 🤣

Thanks again, you're a legend!

Reply 16 of 39, by zapbuzz

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Snookeroo wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:50:

Excellent, I think I should be able to manage that. It's 1am here in Australia, so I'll try this out tomorrow and see how I go.

Please promise me you'll check up on me again in 24 hours! 🤣

Thanks again, you're a legend!

I'll be around i'm pretty sure you'll do well, best of luck 😀

Reply 17 of 39, by zapbuzz

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Snookeroo wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:30:
Jo22 wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:22:
zapbuzz wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:14:

I sure hope people don't use those hard disks upside down!

Or worse, inclined. 😰 That's the worst scenario, I think.
The platter won't rotate properly that way and the r/w heads may "land" accidentally, if the air cushion doesn't build up properly.

Oh no! I've had the drive upside down and inclined in all sorts of positions while I was testing it. Does this mean that I could have irreversibly damaged it?

face up is best horizontal or directly straight vertical but upside down not good and especially for its age I would only mount horizontal face up due to old drive bearings.
Testing is forgiveable but permanent use the drive heats up and the air cushion changes.
And I always use a small pc fan mounted to vacuum air from the spindle underneath the disk it takes away about 15oC of operation heat build up in summer. Keeps older disks running longer.
I am still one owner of a maxtor diamondmax 8 from 2004 because of my method. It still runs in RAID with 3 others that arrived later.

Reply 18 of 39, by Grem Five

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I have a Western digital from 1999 that has been mounted vertically in my Micron Millennia ever since I put it in there back in early 1999 that still works perfectly.

Although now that I have said that it will probably be dead next time I use it.... never tempt fate.

Reply 19 of 39, by Repo Man11

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Snookeroo wrote on 2021-07-25, 14:35:

I have no idea how to update my BIOS, especially because my mobo is too old to use USB. Can someone please share me a good guide or something?

https://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthrea … te-instructions

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