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View Full Version : Snagged a computer with a Pentium MMX, having issues with fdisk.



oTurtlez
June 13th, 2012, 04:54 PM
Well, for some strange reason, my school had and was throwing out a bunch of Model M's and an unopened copy of DOS 5.0 so I became the new owner of each. I then went to my friends house, found a vintage computer with a Pentium MMX in it, and tried to install DOS. Got a strange error when trying to install, said something about the directory and possibly having files of the same name, whatever. So I went into fdisk, deleted all partitions, and tried to create a primary dos partition. Well, for some strange reason, after I press create primary dos partition, the computer sits there, keyboard unresponsive, saying Current fixed disk drive: 1 (blank blue space) Press Esc to return to FDISK Options_ but it wont let me do anything. I tried to run the installation again, said I needed to format, it hung at 0%, went into A:> and tried to format c: that way, it said something about trying to recover allocation... and kept counting. Anywho, I have no idea how to get this thing running, and I would love to play around with a computer before my time. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

EDIT: Just did A>format c: again and this time I let it try to recover a bit more and got to 1 percent format lol. From my research it's bad sectors, but my USB floppy drive wont be coming in for another few days, and even then, I don't have any floppy's lying around :/

Stone
June 13th, 2012, 05:13 PM
Sounds like you're on an older machine that might not have a translating BIOS. If that's the case you will have a 528MB limit for HD size.

oTurtlez
June 13th, 2012, 05:19 PM
The BIOS post reads it as the full 3286MB, but it just keeps coming up with the recovering allocation unit when trying to format. I don't think i'm going to be grabbing another drive any time soon, mainly because I dont feel like driving back to my friends house, but I fear that's the only solution.

EDIT: By my math, with each allocation unit being 512bytes, and there being a partition of 2047.46MB, it's roughly 4 million allocation units. I'm at 2100 atm. This officially sucks.

commodorejohn
June 13th, 2012, 05:21 PM
If you've got a NIC that can take an EEPROM BIOS extension, you could try XT-IDE - it did the trick for me and my 386, and I'm going to give it a try on my Pentium as well when I get a chance.

oTurtlez
June 13th, 2012, 05:24 PM
Define NIC and EEPROM BIOS extension please :D

Ole Juul
June 13th, 2012, 05:26 PM
Perhaps try another partitioning approach and use Gparted. If you don't have that handy, then another option is a Linux disk which usually has cfdisk on it.

Elvi
June 14th, 2012, 02:39 AM
I've seen this a few times before and it's bad blocks/sectors on the hd, that hd has pretty much had it unless it's just magnetic errors on the surface, if it's scratches then it's really gone.

If it's magnetic errors it might be able to be used again but the surface needs "reorganising" in the magnetic department :P
This app does just that and is pretty good but i'm not saying the bad areas won't come back some day but it's helped me a few times when i want stuff off a bad drive.
The app isn't free thought that's the only problem http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html

oTurtlez
June 14th, 2012, 06:17 PM
I've seen this a few times before and it's bad blocks/sectors on the hd, that hd has pretty much had it unless it's just magnetic errors on the surface, if it's scratches then it's really gone.

If it's magnetic errors it might be able to be used again but the surface needs "reorganising" in the magnetic department :P
This app does just that and is pretty good but i'm not saying the bad areas won't come back some day but it's helped me a few times when i want stuff off a bad drive.
The app isn't free thought that's the only problem http://www.dposoft.net/hdd.html

Well I grabbed two extra HDD's from school today, both over 8gb, though the bios only reads them as 8gb, anywho, I put one in, deleted partitions with fdisk, created PDP set active, and rebooted, and it wont go past the post screen if the HDD is connected. I'm confused. The FDD clicks 4 times, and then does nothing, and the computer just hangs. Any ideas?

Stone
June 14th, 2012, 06:32 PM
Once again, it's a BIOS limitation.

Why isn't 8 GB enough? I don't think you can get more with that BIOS.

Elvi
June 15th, 2012, 05:26 PM
Funny... i thought the mmx era pentium mobos could handle more than 8gb, my 233mmx mobo can handle 32gb on a 40gb drive if you set the jumper on the hd right.

clicking eh? doesn't sound good or it could be like it is with mine, not getting enough power or rather loose power connection, have to wiggle the power plug sometimes to get it to work right.

commodorejohn
June 15th, 2012, 07:41 PM
They vary. Some can, some can't; my PB680 Pentium system can't, for instance.

oTurtlez
June 16th, 2012, 07:49 AM
Well, I managed to "jump" the computer by putting in the one hdd that would still let me boot to floppy, and then switching it over to the bigger and working hdd, managed to install dos, had it running, rebooted a couple times and it worked fine. Now, a few days later, for some reason it's doing the same thing. After BIOS post and all that good stuff, it sits with a blinking cursor and doesn't boot. Frustrating, and I have no solution.

k2x4b524[
June 16th, 2012, 02:01 PM
Some pentium MMX can't see more than 8gb, i've got one that stops at 2.4. The XT-IDE bios is the best way to go in this case, unless you find an update for your MB bios, you can still find them. If not, try and find a bios board, by that i mean one with an empty socket and circuitry to run it, or an EIDE bios board, or, as was mentioned, an old NIC with a bios socket, program a chip, and throw the whole thing in,

Ole Juul
June 16th, 2012, 05:16 PM
Define NIC and EEPROM BIOS extension please :D

NIC is the common abbreviation for network card. I'm out of my depth in talking about using EEPROMS (which means programmable read only) since I've never programmed one, but a chip can apparently be put anywhere and your computer will read it. For example, you can program a BIOS chip and put it on a network card and your computer will use that. The reason for using a network card is just because many of them have an empty socket for that. Again, I have little experience, but try this. (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=EEPROM+BIOS) :)

oTurtlez
June 17th, 2012, 05:07 AM
NIC is the common abbreviation for network card. I'm out of my depth in talking about using EEPROMS (which means programmable read only) since I've never programmed one, but a chip can apparently be put anywhere and your computer will read it. For example, you can program a BIOS chip and put it on a network card and your computer will use that. The reason for using a network card is just because many of them have an empty socket for that. Again, I have little experience, but try this. (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=EEPROM+BIOS) :)

Thanks for the LMGTFY lol. I believe the mobo is a NEC 567 from this http://www.elhvb.com/mboards/BCM/fm567/567man.asp but my mobo doesnt have the serial port or the audio jacks like the one in the picture. The rest of the layout is the same. Google turns up no bios update info and what not for this board. Kinda stranded as of now.

Pcmx
June 26th, 2012, 11:18 AM
Dos 5 and FAT 16 can only do up to 2GB partitions I think. Are you planning on just running Dos on it, or Dos and Windows? 9X? etc. Looking at the screenshot in the link above, if yours is the same, the bios recognizes a cd rom and probably has the option of using it as the first boot device. If you could get one, a Win95 or higher install booting from cd is from my experience less hassle than floppys and fdisk on these can allow you large disk support (?)

Pepinno
June 28th, 2012, 12:22 PM
EDIT: By my math, with each allocation unit being 512bytes, and there being a partition of 2047.46MB, it's roughly 4 million allocation units. I'm at 2100 atm. This officially sucks.

The joys of techno-retro are that way. I think your hard disk is officially dead.

Chuck(G)
June 28th, 2012, 03:32 PM
EDIT: By my math, with each allocation unit being 512bytes, and there being a partition of 2047.46MB, it's roughly 4 million allocation units. I'm at 2100 atm. This officially sucks.

I think you're mistaking "allocation unit" for "sector". They're not the same thing. If you're running DOS 5, you can have up to about 65,000 allocation units per partition. Sometimes called "clusters", they're groups of adjacent sectors. In your case, a 2GiB partition would have a cluster size of 32,768 bytes, or 64 sectors.

njroadfan
June 28th, 2012, 06:06 PM
That NEC board if from 1997 should have a BIOS capable of addressing up to 8.4GB (the Int 13H limit), the 2GB bug with Phoenix BIOS were fixed back in 1995.

wdegroot
July 25th, 2012, 11:57 AM
I posted it vanished
Oh well, there are limits one after another, first dos has a 2,048- 2gb limit. sometimes at least with dos 6.22 use a 4g as two partitions.
dos w 31 and early 95 have this limit.
later w 95 and win 98 do not.
I think with a mmx mb it likly may only have the 8,4 gb limit w/w98.
but try auto and sometimes it works my amptron m520 did it was not mmx capable, the mboard still may have the 8.4gb limit.,
a promise or other hd controller will get beyond that., the systemn is likely ata 33 so a ata 66 or ata 100 controller will hilp a LOT.,
There is a mxtor big drive enabler program BUT it is for 2000 / xp

or some form of disk manager.
the driver seems to get LOST so keep a boot floppy nearby. everything is there but you cannot get at it.
I feel it is a risky way to go.

I do not know if PC-dos 2000 ( 6.,3)
fixes this.

Doug G
July 25th, 2012, 03:30 PM
More info

http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-4.html

and a 2003 document

http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/hard_drive_size_barriers.htm

wdegroot
August 2nd, 2012, 07:00 PM
good info.it is a "sort of" rulke if the mB has sata support, the ide cnannel goes beyond 120/137 withoiut problems.
I use the / because I do not thing there are drives larger than 120 or smaller than 137. I think the next step is 160gb.

BY THE WAY if you dins a TIVI driev and it is a 169 anbd cannot be formatted beyond 120g clear it with disk manager and start over. just do not install dm.

wdegroot
August 4th, 2012, 05:26 PM
i do not see any comnclusion just puzzlement.
Obe thing you did not mention
what are the real papameters of the "528m "" drive.?
some drives like several 420m drives I have need " higher math" to get set up
the real 528 ( 534) limit is 1024-16-63.
these 420 dries habe 1800 cyl.
so it comes out LESS than 420.
and 1034-15-63 exceeds the capacity of the drive. almost every ide drive will "translate" so you choose new numbers
like 1024-16-whatever makje 420m
or whate\ver-16-63
sometimes if you have a data sheet the preferred translation number are published.