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Thread: Hard disk sizes

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    Hard disk sizes

    quick question:

    what are the biggest sizes of a hard disk partition that various versions of Windows (98, ME, XP) can work with? I just bought a 180 GB hard disk and was told that 98 can not see a disk this big. SO the question is, how big can it see? I imagine there are limits in ME and XP as well which I'd like to know (I'm trying to set up a tri-boot machine so I need to know all 3).

    Tried doing a search on "hard disk" and "hard disk size" but didn't turn up anything.

    Thanks.

    Fred

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Hi, Fred ~

    I would try searching 'hard drive'.

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Hi Bruce,

    thks for the pointer. However, that was for Win XP and the Control Panel settings mentioned in the thread don't exist in 98 (where I am now; don't know about ME).

    The new HD will be made up of logical drives in an extended partition. All the primary partitions will be on the existing HD. So the goal is to determine the smallest number of logical drives on the new HD so that all of 98, ME, and XP can see all of each new logical drive. The thread didn't really cover that. I also quickly read the PC Mag article mentioned in one of the responses. Nice article but didn't help answer the question (at least not on a quick perusal). But obviously, the BIOS will be what it is.

    I had also tried Win 98 Help and couldn't see anything in terms of size limitations under "hard disk".

    I could brute force it by assuming all 180 GB would NOT be seen in all of 98, ME, XP (I've not installed XP in its partition yet and had a hell of a time with 98; ME was the original OS on this 8-month old PC). So divide by 2, boot into all 3 OSs, see what the sizes are of the new logical drives. If all 3 OSs see 90 GB, great. If not, repartition into 3, etc. I was hoping for a quicker convergence.

    Thks.

    Fred

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    According to one random page at microsoft.com, Windows 98 can create and work with a FAT32 volume of 127.53 GB. I'd guess ME works the same. However, for XP, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 314463 - Limitations of the FAT32 File System in Windows XP and the references it cites. Both 2000 and XP have a different Format program that maxes out at 32GB for FAT32 volumes. Apparently, the OS can read a larger Windows 98 FAT32 volume just fine, but cannot format it on its own.

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Thanks Jefferson.

    I usually use Partition Magic to create partitions and format them. So it seems like I'll be OK if I divide my 180GB hard drive into 2 90GB logical drives.

    Fred

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Fred,
    One variable no one has mentioned yet is the BIOS. Some older systems BIOS will not recognize large drives and must be flashed to update the settings. IMHO - If you have to flash the BIOS, it's time to get a new computer. <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>
    I'm not certain about the size limits of Windows 98, although, a couple years ago, I installed a 40 GB hard drive in a Windows 98 system as a slave to a 4 GB main drive and the OS only saw 31+ GB of the slave drive. Some thought it was a BIOS limitation and some said it was the OS (Windows 98). Seems coincidental at best that the proported limitation for Windows 98 is 32GB and it only saw 31+ GB of this drive after formatting. If you setup two 90 GB partitions with Partition Magic and you end up with two 32 GB partitions in My Computer, then you'll know it's the OS. Unless, of course it's the BIOS. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> But I'd guess that if it was the BIOS that Partition Magic wouldn't see 180 GB anyway.
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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    I have to disagree on one point:
    <hr>If you have to flash the BIOS, it's time to get a new computer. <hr>
    If you have to flash the BIOS, it's not a bad thing. Even the latest motherboards/BIOSs require this at times, since that code is prone to errors just like any other program. However, if you have to us the floppy to install the INT13 extension, meaning a hook that lives on the hard drive so that the computer can see beyond the older 4/8GB limits that used to be common, then yeah....it's time for an upgrade. When BIOS updates aren't available, then it's also time to consider an upgrade, because that indicates the mainboard manufacturer has more or less given up on the product (but not always). It's pretty rare these days to encounter a BIOS that can't see the whole drive.

    For what it's worth Windows 98 is now six years old. That's pretty long in the tooth (ancient even) in the world of computers and technology. Windows 98 was designed before 120GB + drives were commonplace, so maybe it's time to upgrade the OS!
    -Mark

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Hi Doc,

    Thks for the info. Since the computer is only 10 months old, I'd like to believe the BIOS won't be the problem.

    The way things are going, I may not use that computer for a Windows 98 partition. I loaded 98 and have had nothing but grief so far. Between the graphics card and the monitor, 98 doesn't seem to recognize either and I thought I got 98 drivers for them. The modem isn't recognized either in the 98 partition altho the Me partition knows its there. Then there's a problem with... And it goes on. This is becoming harder and harder to get thru. And when all is said and done, if ever, I'd have to fight with the wife for time on the computer.

    There must be a better way.

    Fred

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Hi Fred,
    I have to agree with Mark here and take my wuppin' for painting with too broad a brush about the BIOS. He's correct, of course, but if your system is that new you shouldn't need a BIOS upgrade to see the entire drive.

    Some manufacturers install an "Invisible" partition on their systems, they say to keep troubleshooting, diagnostic & repair tools for tech support. I just had a HD failure on a 3 month old Dell 8250 (120GB) and the replacement drive Dell sent me only showed 111GB with 108GB free and only Windows XP installed with a FAT32 file system (don't ask). Even Dell support, when walking me through a new, clean install of XP couldn't explain why the drive was so much smaller (the original showed all 120GB) except to say that her drive was 80GB and formatted out to 72GB or so and that it was "normal". Perhaps in her world, but not in mine. It wasn't until installed Partition Magic, to do what the Dell tech was unable to do during XP setup and partition the drive, that I discovered the hidden partition of 7.8GBs of "unallocated" space. My effort to reclaim the space and convert it to NTFS crashed the system and I had to use System Restore to get back to a time before Partition Magic was installed. The system worked fine again, but the partitions I created were still there and the 7.8GBs was still missing. I'm going to contact Dell when I have a couple free hours to devote to getting them to restore the HD space they have stolen from me, but that's another story for another time. Where I'm going with this is that if Partition Magic is seeing 180GBs, then theoretically, you should be able to partition it and use it, unless your OS, BIOS or motherboard settings won't allow it.

    Personally, if I had a 180GB hard drive and the computer resources to support Windows XP, I'd upgrade and make myself the administrator and give the wife her own account with it's own set of permissions. Of course that won't resolve the fighting over computer time............ will it ??? <img src=/S/nope.gif border=0 alt=nope width=15 height=15> The only answer there it seems is 2 computers networked and sharing a broadband internet connection.

    A better way............. There's this mountain in Tibet where people go to find the truth ......... <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Mark,

    Unfortunately, I don't have a choice on the OS. I'm using Win98 on a computer that allows me to access work from home. The dialer and related software is only supported by our ITS group up to Win 98 (no Me nor XP). So if I want to access work, I have to use Win98 (or 95 but that's pre-historic). I actually did try to install the dialer SW on Me and it crashed and burned.

    Now if you can get our ITS people into the modern age, that would be worth something.

    Fred

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Fred,
    XP has a function, although I've never had occasion to use it and am not familiar with how it works, but if I understand the PR spin on it, it is supposed to "trick" software into thinking that it is running on a Windows 95 or 98 machine by creating a virtual environment to mimic the older OS. You might try asking your ITS department if the software will run under those conditions or find someone with an XP system to try the software out on. If it works, you can personally drag your ITS group, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    I can elucidate on this a little. The compatibility feature does, on the surface, a few things: it lies about the version of Windows to the application, and can set the screen size and color depth, along with disabling the visual themes in XP. There is also a more advanced program on the CD that you can install to patch certain recalcitrant applications further, adjusting memory parameters et al.

    In short, I've used both several times, and have had great success with it. I don't know how much luck Fred will have moving an IT department to a newer platform - there's probably a lot of reasons <img src=/S/money.gif border=0 alt=money width=17 height=15> that they're hedging, but when support for 98 dries up in Redmond they'll have a more compelling reason to switch.
    -Mark

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Mark,
    You are correct (as you often are <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>) that there are probably myriad reasons why Fred's IT department at work isn't upgrading, not the least of which is <img src=/S/money.gif border=0 alt=money width=17 height=15>. I was really putting this out there for Fred. It seemed like a realistic solution to his problem with his home system, but I couldn't provide any useful information on the functionality of the utility, and didn't even know about the advanced program on the CD. I was pretty sure that someone in the lounge could "elucidate" further on the subject. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Doc,

    I think I heard about that function. As it is, I also had reserved a partition to load Win XP so I could play with it. Haven't loaded XP yet into the partition but maybe this will be just the thing to get it going. Will let you know what happens.

    fred

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    Re: Hard disk sizes

    Fred,
    I think you'll like XP once you've had a chance to get familiar with it. I'm still just a beginner with it, but it's as solid as they say and has many fine features. It also has it's share of woes. It is after all a Micro$oft product (aka - Bugs Are Us). <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> It should handle your dialer software without a problem. Most of the XP features seem to work as advertised. I really haven't had a chance to give it a fair test because of hardware issues with my system. But before the hardware problems started, I was quite pleased with the way XP worked.
    Hope this works for you. Let us know. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>
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