VOGONS


First post, by squareguy

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I don't know exactly how you guys handle your partition and drive sizes in Windows 98 SE but here is what I have found from my recent experiences. None of which affected me back when we all actually used Windows 98 SE as our primary operating system because hard drives just weren't big enough to be a problem, at least not for me. I was using Windows 2000 Pro before I even got my first 40GB hard drive.

128GB seems to be the limit right, well not exactly from what I have encountered. Ok so first I limit a hard drive to exactly 128GB with the following method. I use SeaTools to tell a Seagate hard drive exactly how many sectors I want it to have. (Gigabytes Desired x 1024 x 1024 x 1024) / Hard Drive Sector Size. This is for an IDE 250GB Seagate hard drive with 512kb sectors. Honestly I am not 100% sure what happens with modern drives that have physical 4096kb sectors, if anything. So (128 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024) / 512 = 268435456 sectors. I use the updated FDISK.EXE from Microsoft for Windows 98 SE to handle drives larger than 64GB. Let's say I create a single 128GB partition and when I go to format it, format doesn't seem to understand how large it is. Microsoft says this is merely cosmetic and it will format it to 128GB properly and in fact it does. Now we install Windows 98 SE to that 128GB partition and everything looks fine. Let's say we decide to run Scandisk to verify the health of the drive, failure. Scandisk simply cannot handle the number of sectors (4,194,304 32kb FAT32 clusters ) and gives us an out of memory error. So I have decided to take the safe road and limit hard drive size to 127GB instead of 128GB, which is kind of funny because I sort of remember back in the day folks talking about 127GB limitation or maybe my mind is just making that up? I then use FDISK.EXE to create a 50% Primary DOS Partition and a 50% Extended DOS Partition. This keeps everything nice and happy within Windows 98 SE.

FYI, if I create a 128GB drive and a 64GB Primary DOS Partiton, then the Extended DOS Partition is a few megabytes over 64GB in reality and FORMAT.COM goofs up again so I consider it unsafe and just stick with 127GB total drive size.

I am ok with the cosmetic issue of FORMAT.COM not showing the proper size but the Scandisk issue bothers me. I want to know that I can take care of and repair the system as intended with the Windows 98 SE tools and boot disks.

I say all of this in order to ask a simple question but you will better understand why I am asking the question. Does anyone know what is the maximum partition size that ALL of Windows 98 SE can safely handle? I would be totally happy if I could say bump my primary partition up to 100GB and my extended lowered to 27GB but I am not going to test every conceivable partition size and make sure it works. Google has not helped me this time hehe.

It works pretty well this way. I use C: for Windows and I use D: for a local copy of install files, drivers, installers, ISO files, a place to keep a Ghost image handy of C:, etc. Much faster than a USB 1.1 flash drive, easier to find than that burned DVD I misplaced and not on the network drive at my work while I am at home 🤣, yeah that happens. I can nuke C: whenever needed and reload either from scratch or from Ghost Image off D: as long as I have a boot CD or floppy.

So again, anyone got a definitive answer for maximum partition size without ANY issues?

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 1 of 11, by PhilsComputerLab

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Scandisk? The command line Scandisk? If so, these are all 16 bit applications. 2^16=65536. There is your limit under DOS.

Also, guess what? I've got a video about this 🤣

Windows 98 Hard Drive Limit 127 GB 128 GB 137 GB

How people specify storage size is a mess. Currently 128 MiB is the "proper" way. 137 GB is what the hard drive manufacturers like to use.

There is another way of setting your drive, take a 2TB drive, SATA to IDE adapter, enter BIOS, auto detect and it will detect is as 137GB, often the max. capacity older BIOS support (Slot 1 for example).

FDISK, Format and there you go: You got yourself the max capacity.

What I do now is slightly different, I use SeaTools and go with either 32 GB option, or manually set 60 or 120 GB, leaving a bit of a "buffer" so to speak.

The 60 GB option is perfect if you're doing a lot with DOS and want to use DOS tools and correct reporting of space. 120 GB is now my choice for any Windows 98 machine.

So any drives larger than 2^16 bytes > Stay away from any storage related DOS tools, and do it all under Windows 98.

Last edited by PhilsComputerLab on 2015-08-08, 02:00. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 2 of 11, by Joey_sw

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Partition Size has nothing to do with win9x's 128GB limitation.
Its limit happens because unpatched win9x only use 28 bits LBA addressing when accessing HDD,
so win9x only access the first 2^28 sectors in said HDD, which effectively gives 128GB limit as its symtomps.

1G in 2^30

Theres patch to allow win9x to properly access all LBA addressing bits.

-fffuuu

Reply 4 of 11, by PhilsComputerLab

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Be very careful with this patch:

NEW WINDOWS INSTALLATIONS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ If you are doing a clean install of Windows on a Computer where any of the d […]
Show full quote

NEW WINDOWS INSTALLATIONS
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you are doing a clean install of Windows on a Computer where any of the
drives has a partition extending above the 137 GB limit, you must install the
patched ESDI_506.PDR before Windows has a chance to use its unpatched driver.
Corruption may occur before you can complete the installation otherwise.
If the Windows partition itself is above the 137 Gb limit, it will DEFINTELY
CRASH!

If you need lots of storage in Windows 98 use a network drive. I'm connecting to a 4 TB array which has all drivers, demos, benchmarks, CD images and so on.

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Reply 5 of 11, by squareguy

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Well sometimes it takes writing it all out in order to find the answer. After I reread my post for errors I started thinking more about the cluster number and it led me to this https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Cc938432.aspx so instead of looking at partition sixe I should have been looking at number of clusters. The maximum number of clusters officially supported in FAT32 is 4,177,918 according to that link. That may or may not be correct today but it is period correct back then. I am willing to bet that will fix the Scandisk error.

So 4,177,918 clusters * 32kb cluster size (32768) / 1024 / 1024 /1024 = 127.49GB which is pretty close to what Microsoft says on the same page at 127.53GB

I am willing to bet that 127GB will make Scandisk work correctly 'if' Microsoft programmed it to work with 4,177,918 clusters.

Phil,

I'll check out your vid. Scandisk is both a Windows and a DOS utility. I was referring to the Windows utility. Like right clicking a drive and going to tools to check it is consistent like after a power outage.

edit: others, 🤣 I was looking at page and writing and posted replay before I saw your posts. Oh well it always happens to me.

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 6 of 11, by alexanrs

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You can just make a small 10GB partition, install Windows, patch it, then PartitionMagic/GParted your way to happiness.
Though I agree... Windows 98 SE still supports modern enough network protocols to access even Windows 10 folders (you'll need a DSCLIENT update and these settings) without disabling any security features.

squareguy - check the links. The Windows ME version is supposed to handle bigger disks better.

Reply 7 of 11, by PhilsComputerLab

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I used the exact same number of sectors, and ran Windows "Check Disk" and it was fine. I only did the quick run though, but don't expect any issues as everything is within the limits of what Microsoft documents.

But just to be safe I've been going with 120 GB for a while 😀

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Reply 8 of 11, by squareguy

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Thanks for the links but I prefer to run Vanilla Windows 98 SE and not a Frankenstein / Hybris with parts of other OS's. It's just how I want to run my system. The only update to Windows 98 SE I am using at the moment is DirectX 7.0a and Windows Installer 2.0. Well... and the updated FDISK.

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 9 of 11, by alexanrs

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You can also disable SCANDISK in MSDOS.SYS (so it won't run after an incorrect shutdown) and use something like Norton Disk Doctor instead. But apart from that, you pretty much hit the wall if the 127GB works correctly.

Reply 10 of 11, by squareguy

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Thanks Alexanrs,

I will hopefully find out tomorrow if it solves it. I bet it will. Now once I sort out this damn Sound Blaster Live I will be all set. I now remember why I tossed my Live all those years ago and got a Santa Cruz. I really hate that Live card but I want to try SF2 support and I need something that can do Digital CD Audio...

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE

Reply 11 of 11, by squareguy

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I set sectors to 127GB (binary) which gave me 4,160,318 32kb clusters.

Everything including Scandisk is working correctly.

Gateway 2000 Case and 200-Watt PSU
Intel SE440BX-2 Motherboard
Intel Pentium III 450 CPU
Micron 384MB SDRAM (3x128)
Compaq Voodoo3 3500 TV Graphics Card
Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Sound Card
Western Digital 7200-RPM, 8MB-Cache, 160GB Hard Drive
Windows 98 SE