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Grandcheapskate
January 30th, 2015, 09:25 AM
I have a DOS machine with a single 8.x gig hard drive using EZ-BIOS. I was thinking of putting a 540 meg hard drive in as the primary and moving the 8.x gig to the slave position. I started re-reading the Maxblast EZ-BIOS instructions and got a little confused. Maybe you can help.

The instructions state DOS cannot access a drive larger than 8.4 gig, with partition sizes limited to 2.1 gig. Does the 8.4 gig limit also apply when using EZ-BIOS or does EZ-BIOS allow you to break through that limit? I believe I used to think that EZ-BIOS allowed me to use drives larger than 8.4 gig but after rereading the instructions, I don't think it does. I believe EZ-BIOS is only needed when your motherboard BIOS is incapable of using LBA mode.

Am I right?

Thanks...Joe

Stone
January 30th, 2015, 09:41 AM
Yes, it allows the use of larger drives when the BIOS is incapable on its own. In effect, it breaks the limit the BIOS imposes.

Don't forget, you can always boot from an EZ-BIOS enabled floppy to get to a drive with a DDO on it. Or, you can probably install EZ-BIOS on the primary HD to access the slave drive.

hargle
January 30th, 2015, 09:41 AM
It's DOS itself that has the 8.4G limit. EZBIOS is only helping DOS interface to the drive to get you up to that limit. EZBIOS can only fix the primitives where DOS is interfacing to the drive- it cannot patch DOS to bypass the much larger problem of going above 8.4G

For the record, you'll likely have a hard time finding enough software for DOS to fill 8.4G of space. That's a nice problem to have. :)

huh. stone beat me to the posting, but it appears we have a difference in our explanations.

Caluser2000
January 30th, 2015, 10:00 AM
I'd imagine the 540 drive would have somewhat slower access times than the 8.4 gig drive. It'd be interesting to compare the difference.

Stone
January 30th, 2015, 10:36 AM
Of course there's always the question... why? That is why do want to stick a 540MB drive ahead of an 8.4GB drive? I'm sure there's some interesting reason.

Stone
January 30th, 2015, 10:39 AM
huh. stone beat me to the posting, but it appears we have a difference in our explanations.Not really... you delved into the DOS aspects while I stuck to the hardware and BIOS tidbits. :-)

Grandcheapskate
January 30th, 2015, 11:05 AM
Of course there's always the question... why? That is why do want to stick a 540MB drive ahead of an 8.4GB drive? I'm sure there's some interesting reason.

Thanks for the clarification guys. Looks like I can remove the EZ-BIOS software on motherboards with LBA capability. One less piece of software to worry about.

I started putting these smaller drives in front of larger drives on all my 386 and 486 machines. I have a lot of 540 meg drives and I figure I'll just put them as the master and load them with DOS and Windows, leaving the larger drive to serve as the holder of my applications and data. Plus, it lets the smaller drive take the brunt of hard disk access. And it finds a home for all these smaller drives. In this case, the 540 meg drives were originally in the machines that now have the 8 gig drives and were purchased new, so these machines will still have "new" drives.

See you're wrong....quite honestly, sometimes there's no good reason to what I am doing. LOL!!!

While I understand the 540 meg is no doubt slower than the 8 gig driver, I doubt hard disk access time is really an issue with DOS programs, especially if you have loads of memory.

And as pointed out above, it is real hard to fill 8 gig using only DOS.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
January 30th, 2015, 11:33 AM
See you're wrong....quite honestly, sometimes there's no good reason to what I am doing. LOL!!!No, you're wrong... I didn't say good -- I said interesting. And, although your reason is interesting... it's not good! :-) :-) :-)

Grandcheapskate
January 31st, 2015, 08:48 AM
No, you're wrong... I didn't say good -- I said interesting. And, although your reason is interesting... it's not good! :-) :-) :-)

Ha-ha! Well, you asked for it. :-)

I have a follow-up question. I have been trying to find the storage addressing limit for Maxblast EZ-BIOS as well as the address limitations of a BIOS with LBA. I am thinking about stocking up on some large IDE drives (maybe 250 gig) and I want to find out which machines could handle something that large. I cannot find any info on how large a drive Maxblast (I have version 1.10) can handle.

I can find information on the storage limits for each Microsoft OS, but determining the limits of Maxblast and the motherboard BIOS is eluding me. If Maxblast (or other third party software) can access the 250 gig drive, the limitiations of the BIOS become less important.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
January 31st, 2015, 10:45 AM
I think it comes down to this. If your BIOS supports Interrupt 13h Extensions you're good to go with drives over 8.4GB. If it doesn't, you're not. It's strictly a hardware issue -- software e.g., DDOs, won't make it work in this case. But, if you are able to flash your BIOS with an appropriate upgrade you'll be OK.

k2x4b524[
January 31st, 2015, 10:51 AM
if you really want to be slick, get an early raid card for that lba board, like a promise fast track or somethin, and make yourself a small little raid setup and have a blazingly fast 540mb drive stripe :)

Grandcheapskate
January 31st, 2015, 11:23 AM
I think it comes down to this. If your BIOS supports Interrupt 13h Extensions you're good to go with drives over 8.4GB. If it doesn't, you're not. It's strictly a hardware issue -- software e.g., DDOs, won't make it work in this case. But, if you are able to flash your BIOS with an appropriate upgrade you'll be OK.

I just did some searching and a little reading. If the BIOS supports Interrupt 13h Extensions, then I can have a drive up to 9.4 trillion gigabytes. A further reading of the Maxblast documentation states the following (summerized):

BIOS Requirements: BIOS dated before 1997 will not support drives greater than 8.4g. To obtain the full capacity of a drive greater than 8.4g, either (a) upgrade the BIOS, (b) install a BIOS enhancer card or (c) use the Maxblast software (v9.06 or newer).

So while the documentation doesn't say how large a drive Maxblast can handle, I am going to assume it can handle up to 9.4 trillion gigabytes.

Thanks...Joe

njroadfan
January 31st, 2015, 08:36 PM
After the Int 13h extensions were released, there was one more size limit to deal with, the 137GB limit imposed by 28-bit LBA. EZ-Drive 9.06 likely doesn't support 48-bit LBA which imposes a 144PB limit. For DOS machines, the MBR partition map is stored in a 32-bit value and limits total drive space to 2.2GB. That is what the big fuss is about with UEFI and its GUID Partition Table which has a much higher limit.

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-4.html
http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/bioslim.htm (outdated)
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/os2-disc-and-volume-size-limits.html

cthulhu
February 1st, 2015, 12:45 AM
For DOS machines, the MBR partition map is stored in a 32-bit value and limits total drive space to 2.2GB. That is what the big fuss is about with UEFI and its GUID Partition Table which has a much higher limit.

The MBR 32-bit limit actually resulta in 2^32 sectors x 512 bytes per sector = 2 TB maximum sized partitions.

Grandcheapskate
February 1st, 2015, 09:19 AM
After the Int 13h extensions were released, there was one more size limit to deal with, the 137GB limit imposed by 28-bit LBA. EZ-Drive 9.06 likely doesn't support 48-bit LBA which imposes a 144PB limit. For DOS machines, the MBR partition map is stored in a 32-bit value and limits total drive space to 2.2GB. That is what the big fuss is about with UEFI and its GUID Partition Table which has a much higher limit.

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-4.html
http://web.inter.nl.net/hcc/J.Steunebrink/bioslim.htm (outdated)
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/jonathan.deboynepollard/FGA/os2-disc-and-volume-size-limits.html

Thanks, that will be some great reading. I will have to study it as they throw numbers around and it can get a little confusing unless you take it slow.

I will then have to see if I can determine which method is being used by the Maxblast version I use and which limit will be imposed. I am guessing at this point any drive under 137GB would probably be okay, but I will make no assumtions until I can determine exatly what Maxblast is doing.

Added Note: Usually you can find anything on the internet. However, I have come up empty looking for the Maxblast 9.06 limit. Unless there is something in a text file on the installation disk, the only way I guess I'll know is to try different size drives which exceed the various limits and see which drives I can access.

Thanks...Joe

Grandcheapskate
February 8th, 2015, 08:11 AM
Just an update for those who care. I removed my 8GB drive and replaced it with a 160GB drive. I also removed the VLB caching controller (Buslogic KT-410AC) and replaced it with a non-caching VLB controller. I did this because the Bus Logic controller has it's own BIOS and I wanted to eliminate that as a variable.

I set the BIOS to auto-detect the HD and booted with the Maxblast disk. I installed EZ-BIOS and tried to reboot with a WIN98 floppy. During the boot process (before reading the floppy) I used the CNTL key to enter the EZ-BIOS display (this occurs right after EZ-BIOS has loaded and installed its extensions). I got the EZ-BIOS display but the system hung because it would appear EZ-BIOS was unable to display the number of cylinders on the HD.

I then rebooted with the Maxblast disk and removed EZ-BIOS. This leads me to believe EZ-BIOS is probably limited to, at most, 137GB. I am going to retry this experiment with a 20GB drive and if successful will probably buy a 120GB drive and see if it works.

Thanks...Joe

njroadfan
February 13th, 2015, 06:13 AM
The MBR 32-bit limit actually resulta in 2^32 sectors x 512 bytes per sector = 2 TB maximum sized partitions.

That would be a typo on my part.

Grandcheapskate
February 26th, 2015, 07:17 PM
Well, I've done some reading on the topic of the size limitations of IDE drives based on hardware and/or
software. It can be VERY confusing and sometimes it seems the only way to know if a machine can access a
certain size drive is to try it.

Anyway, here's what I think I've found out...

Hardware/BIOS Limitiations:

1. Any machine without LBA or CHS translation capability is BIOS limited to around 504MB.

2. Any machine with BIOS CHS or LBA translation capability should be able to access up to 8064MB.

3. Any machine with extended INT 13h capability (and LBA) should be able to access up to 128GB.

4. Machines with a BIOS dated after 2001-2002 should be able to access up to 2TB.


Software Limitations:

1. DOS is limited to 8064MB.

2. Win95b and beyond can get to drives at least up to 128GB using full 28 bit LBA addressing.


Although I can find no proof, I am thinking since EZ-BIOS can get me past the 8GB limit, it's upper
limit is probably 128GB. The only way I can test this is to buy a 120GB disk and try it.

I have been looking to buy a couple IDE drives and I see three sizes which interest me; 120GB, 160GB and
250GB. If I understand correctly, once a machine is capable of going beyond the 128GB limit, it can
access either the 160GB or 250GB disk.

Does this sound right?

Thanks...Joe

cr1901
February 26th, 2015, 08:27 PM
Something to add: AWARDBIOS has a nasty little bug in machines made in 1998-2000 or so where hard drives above 32GB will crash the BIOS at worst, and prevent the rest of your drive space from being detected at best. I've seen BIOS patches floating around that fix this problem, but I've never tried them myself on my affected mainboard.

Grandcheapskate
March 6th, 2015, 01:17 PM
First a question...which is the real BIOS date. The date which comes up as the first line on the screen during boot, or the date which appears in the "box" during boot after the first "beep" - the box which contains info about the floppies, ports, etc. These two dates are usually different, sometimes by a couple years. For example, the P233 MMX I describe below has an AMIBIOS date of 8/28/1997 on the first line and a date of 7/15/1995 in the box.

I just received a couple new IDE drives - a 120GB and a 250GB. I only ordered one of each so I could
test different machines to see which machines were limited to 137GB and which could access more.

From my reading, it sounds like we are dealing with only a couple major size barriers for machines made
in the 1990s and early 2000s. There is the 528MB limit, the 8.4GB limit, the 137GB limit and the 2TB
limit.

I first tested these drives in a machine I knew could access both sizes and got the anticipated results
- both were cleanly detected.

The following tests were done by first removing all existing hard drives.

I tried installing the 120GB into a P90. When I tried to do an AUTO-IDE detect, the BIOS hung. I did
not try setting the parameters manually to some lower value (like using TYPE 1) so the machine could get
past the POST and I could install EZ-BIOS to see what would happen. That will be tested later. It did
AUTO-DETECT a 20GB drive.

I tried installing, one at a time, the 20GB and 120GB drives onto a P233 MMX which has LBA capability. The BIOS does AUTO-DETECT both but it does so with the same parameters as an 8.4GB drive: 16383 CYLS, 16
Heads and 63 Sectors. It shows the total capacility as 8.4GB for both drives (the same as the native
8.4GB drive which is already in the machine). The 8.4GB capacity is real as I tried to use FDISK from
Win98 to partition the drive and could only partition 8.4GB.

Interestingly, the above parameters are listed on the lable for both the 8.4GB and 20GB drive. How can
this be? There are no parameters listed on the 120GB drive label.

I ran a couple freeware utilities which show the P233 has extended 13h support. Yet it seems limited to
8.4GB.

More testing to come. But I am getting more confused each day.

Joe

Stone
March 6th, 2015, 02:24 PM
From my reading, it sounds like we are dealing with only a couple major size barriers for machines made
in the 1990s and early 2000s. There is the 528MB limit, the 8.4GB limit, the 137GB limit and the 2TB limit.Don't forget

The 4,096 Cylinder (1.97 GiB / 2.11 GB) Barrier,

The 6,322 Cylinder (3.04 GiB / 3.26 GB) Barrier,

The Phoenix BIOS 4.03 / 4.04 Bug (3.05 GiB / 3.28 GB) Barrier,

The 8,192 Cylinder (3.94 GiB / 4.22 GB) Barrier,

The 240 Head Int 13 Interface (7.38 GiB / 7.93 GB) Barrier,

The Windows 95 and the 29.8 GiB / 32.0 GB Barrier,

The 65,536 Cylinder (31.5 GiB / 33.8 GB) Barrier,

The Windows 98/98SE 64GB Barrier,

and

The FAT 32 Limitation (124.55 GiB / 127.53)

as they're all in this equation as well. :-)


I tried installing the 120GB into a P90. When I tried to do an AUTO-IDE detect, the BIOS hung. I did
not try setting the parameters manually to some lower value (like using TYPE 1) so the machine could get
past the POST and I could install EZ-BIOS to see what would happen. That will be tested later. It did
AUTO-DETECT a 20GB drive.

I tried installing, one at a time, the 20GB and 120GB drives onto a P233 MMX which has LBA capability. The BIOS does AUTO-DETECT both but it does so with the same parameters as an 8.4GB drive: 16383 CYLS, 16
Heads and 63 Sectors. It shows the total capacility as 8.4GB for both drives (the same as the native
8.4GB drive which is already in the machine). The 8.4GB capacity is real as I tried to use FDISK from
Win98 to partition the drive and could only partition 8.4GB.

Interestingly, the above parameters are listed on the lable for both the 8.4GB and 20GB drive. How can
this be? There are no parameters listed on the 120GB drive label.

I ran a couple freeware utilities which show the P233 has extended 13h support. Yet it seems limited to
8.4GB.This is related to the way a BIOS does it's geometry translation. There are *other* limitations involved here and they require higher math. It is a rather complicated issue and takes a while to digest properly, at least it does for me. :-)

njroadfan
March 6th, 2015, 08:47 PM
I tried installing, one at a time, the 20GB and 120GB drives onto a P233 MMX which has LBA capability. The BIOS does AUTO-DETECT both but it does so with the same parameters as an 8.4GB drive: 16383 CYLS, 16
Heads and 63 Sectors. It shows the total capacility as 8.4GB for both drives (the same as the native
8.4GB drive which is already in the machine). The 8.4GB capacity is real as I tried to use FDISK from
Win98 to partition the drive and could only partition 8.4GB.

Interestingly, the above parameters are listed on the lable for both the 8.4GB and 20GB drive. How can
this be? There are no parameters listed on the 120GB drive label.

I ran a couple freeware utilities which show the P233 has extended 13h support. Yet it seems limited to
8.4GB.

You need a BIOS dated 1998 or later for Extended Int 13h. The CHS tuple became irrelevant once the 8.4GB Int 13h limit was reached, so the maximum value of 16383 16 63 was placed on larger drives. Why is CHS irrelevant? Because the Int 13h Extensions solely address the drive in logical blocks. Every drive over 8.4GB only has a maximum LBA address to the ROM and operating system drivers. Of course they screwed up and limited the value to 28 bits initially.

Also FAT32 has a maximum limit of 8TB (only possible with GPT). Microsoft placed the artificial limit of 32GB in 2000/XP to basically force adoption of NTFS and later exFAT. Seems like some tools like scandisk can't handle larger drives as well (the 127GB limit), but that really shouldn't be a problem in NT based OSes.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/184006/EN-US

Grandcheapskate
March 7th, 2015, 11:41 AM
Ok Guys, thank you for those reponses.

I just tested EZ-BIOS using the P233 and the 20GB and 120GB drives, trying to determine the upper limit for EZ-BIOS. This testing was done operating system independant as the system was booted using the EZ-BIOS diskette.

EZ-BIOS successfully identified the 20GB drive. I was able to boot (from diskette) to Win95 and use FDISK to partition the entire disk. I then removed EZ-BIOS from the drive and removed the drive from the system.

I next installed the 120GB drive. Using the EZ-BIOS diskette, I booted to the EZ-BIOS utility. It was unable to correctly identify this large a drive. I noticed the "SIZE" field appears unable to hold 6 digits (which would be greater than 99,999MB). It appears EZ-BIOS got confused and thought the drive was about 18GB. There was also at least one field with a negative value which is obviously not correct.

Conclusion? Right now I would have to say that EZ-BIOS v9.06 ( dated 1998 ) is limited to the 33GB threshold. However, without drives of 30GB and 40GB for testing, I can't know for sure. It's amazing to me I can't find this info anywhere on the web.

Joe

Stone
March 7th, 2015, 12:08 PM
In general DDOs can be a real PITA! The consensus has been to avoid them except as an absolute last resort. I think you have found that to be quite accurate. :-)

Grandcheapskate
March 7th, 2015, 12:29 PM
Hey Stone...(get enough snow lately?),

The problem for me is not that EZ-BIOS is a PITA, it's the fact no documentation exists which details the limitations of the software. EZ-BIOS seems pretty simple to install and use and I have had it on a machine for years without issues. The real PITA for me is trying to figure out the limits of the BIOS in each machine.

When you have these older machines and want more disk space, these disk utilities are really your only choice.

Joe

Stone
March 7th, 2015, 02:09 PM
Hey Stone...(get enough snow lately?),How did you know??? :-) :-) :-)



The problem for me is not that EZ-BIOS is a PITA...No, the problem is that it is a PITA and I'm sure you'll come to that realization before too long. :-)



When you have these older machines and want more disk space, these disk utilities are really your only choice.No, there are other ways. External drives, whether actual hard drives or Flash Memory Sticks and their ilk come to mind. Also, anything that doesn't have to be configured in the system's CMOS setup should work. A networked drive will work. A BIOS upgrade will usually do the trick, too.

Grandcheapskate
March 8th, 2015, 09:21 AM
No, the problem is that it is a PITA and I'm sure you'll come to that realization before too long. :-)


What is it about using something like EZ-BIOS that makes it a PITA? The only disadvantage I can see is when trying to move data from one HD to another on the same machine and you only want EZ-BIOS controlling one of the drives.

And I still have to work out the math as to why EZ-BIOS did not like the 120GB drive. A 24 bit address would limit you to 8GB while a 28 bit would limit you to 137GB. It would seem EZ-BIOS is using something in between. I need to do more testing...

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 8th, 2015, 10:40 AM
What is it about using something like EZ-BIOS that makes it a PITA? The only disadvantage I can see is when trying to move data from one HD to another on the same machine and you only want EZ-BIOS controlling one of the drives.The main problems with DDOs are software translation can cause problems for the operating system, data restoration and/or recovery in the event of a drive crash.

While drive manufacturers often tout that using their software translation drivers is equal to updating the BIOS, simply put, it isn't! There are numerous problems associated with using software translation for large disk support. Here are just a few of the more prominent issues:


Operating System Installation and Compatibility Issues: These drivers modify the master boot record and are installed at the very beginning of the data area on the drive, essentially setting up their own logical disk volume using a non-standard disk format. As such, your disks are not being setup in the manner intended by the system manufacturer, drive manufacturer, motherboard manufacturer or the developer of the operating system. The overlay drivers can cause problems when using alternative operating systems, or should you attempt to set up a multiple boot system. Furthermore standard disk utilities, i.e., Norton, etc, may not work as advertised or, in some cases, may even crash the drive.



Driver Problems including Removal: The majority of these overlay drivers can be very difficult to remove from the disk, requiring you to rely upon uninstall utilities that come with the driver itself. Should you need to remove the driver as the result of an upgrade, such as a new motherboard that supports larger drives, you will need to either leave the overlay driver in place or repartition the hard disk and format it. Aside from the inherent danger to your data, just the inconvenience of having to reformat just when your operating system is running perfectly would be enough to cause second thoughts.



Reduced Drive Interoperability: Most of the overlay drivers that come with the various manufacturers' drives are customized for the drives they manufacture and their specific technology. Hence, if you were put a Western Digital hard drive in your PC and later want to add a Maxtor drive, you may have a bit of a problem. At this point you may have to purchase an advanced version of a disk manager, and given the added cost, it may be prudent to purchase an add-in hard disk controller or replace the motherboard.



Floppy Disk Booting Complications: As noted earlier in this discussion, since the driver is located on the hard drive, you must boot from the hard drive in order to load it. If you boot from a floppy, your hard drive may seem to "disappear" because the overlay hasn't been loaded. These overlay drivers will allow you to boot from a floppy, however you must first boot the hard drive, wait for the overlay to load and then a message to be displayed that permits you to boot from a floppy disk.


All in all, this kind or software overlay qualifies as a last resort option, viable, yes, but very full of ifs.

Grandcheapskate
March 8th, 2015, 01:05 PM
Hey Stone,
Thanks for that detailed explaination. I can see why this type of software could cause you much grief.

I think some of the concerns are minimized when we talking about our vintage computers. For example, I have no intention of upgrading my older machines - either hardware or OS. Once loaded, they are what they are. The only reason I woud use something like EZ-BIOS would be to take advantage of a drive larger than the machine's BIOS or controller is able to handle.

But the concerns above are legitimate and need to be considered.

Thanks...Joe

Grandcheapskate
March 9th, 2015, 10:15 AM
While this may be off-topic for this discussion, it does tie in to my testing...

As I continue to test EZ-BIOS and IDE drive compatibility with various motherboards, I came across another weird occurance. Strickly to do some testing, I set up a caseless PC with just a MB, video card and disk controller. I am using an AMD 486DX2/66 CPU on a motherboard with an Award BIOS which looks to be dated 11/15/94 and the BIOS readout is
OPTI 802G 2C4UK000-00. It appears the motherboard manufacturer is a company called Digis - not exactly a household name.

I already have notes that say this motherboard will not work with a date greater than 1999 and will not format a 3.5" diskette if it is not already formatted. But all I wanted to do with this board was test out various size hard drives and determine which could be accessed with EZ-BIOS.

What I ran into is very strange. First off, the motherboard does have AUTO IDE DETECTION and LBA capability. However, two things are happening...

1. The machine refuses to "see" most Western Digital drives - it says nothing is there. It can detect a 430MB drive, but not a 1.6GB or larger drive. Larger drives from other manufacturers such as Maxtor and Seagate do get seen, although the numbers are wrong (see #2).

2. When the BIOS does detect a larger drive from another company, the numbers are wrong.

For example, a 3.3GB Seagate drive with the following attributes: CYL= 6253, Heads=16, Sectors=63 gets see as one of the following:

LBA: CYL=781, Heads=128, Sectors=63, Size=1110MB
NORMAL: CYL=6253, Heads=16, Sectors=63, Size=1113MB
LARGE: CYL=3126, Heads=32, Sectors=63, Size=1112MB

Does anyone know of known issues with Award BIOSs from this era?

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 9th, 2015, 10:37 AM
2. When the BIOS does detect a larger drive from another company, the numbers are wrong.

For example, a 3.3GB Seagate drive with the following attributes: CYL= 6253, Heads=16, Sectors=63 gets see as one of the following:

LBA: CYL=781, Heads=128, Sectors=63, Size=1110MB
NORMAL: CYL=6253, Heads=16, Sectors=63, Size=1113MB
LARGE: CYL=3126, Heads=32, Sectors=63, Size=1112MBThere's nothing wrong with those numbers. That's just the BIOS Geometry Translation at work.

Grandcheapskate
March 9th, 2015, 10:43 AM
There's nothing wrong with those numbers. That's just the BIOS Geometry Translation at work.

But look at the size the BIOS is reporting...only 1.1GB for a 3GB drive. And of course there is the issue of not seeing any WD drive.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 9th, 2015, 11:04 AM
You're using a board with a BIOS from Nov., 1994 which is centered right at the heart of the 528 MB problem/issue. I think you'd be a lot better off using something from a little later on so that you wouldn't be facing a major dilemma every time you tried to install another drive. These BIOS shortcomings are very well documented so there's no need to reinvent the wheel on their behalf. That's why I suggested that you use a board with a BIOS that isn't known to be quite as buggy, so to speak.

Chuck(G)
March 9th, 2015, 11:16 AM
Do you have PCI slots? There are some add-in cards for ATA133 drives that certainly support the big drives--and do so faster.

Grandcheapskate
March 10th, 2015, 06:35 AM
You're using a board with a BIOS from Nov., 1994 which is centered right at the heart of the 528 MB problem/issue. I think you'd be a lot better off using something from a little later on so that you wouldn't be facing a major dilemma every time you tried to install another drive. These BIOS shortcomings are very well documented so there's no need to reinvent the wheel on their behalf. That's why I suggested that you use a board with a BIOS that isn't known to be quite as buggy, so to speak.

I was trying to use this board to test out EZ-BIOS because, frankly, I doubt I would use it in a real machine based on how "buggy" it is with the date and floppy drive. I figured it would at least be able to see the hard drives which would then allow me to load and test EZ-BIOS. Plus it would allow me to test test that one IDE drive which I worte about in another thread - the one which seems to "knock out" any IDE detection until the motherboard discharges. But if it can't even see the Western Digital drives, let alone see the "smaller" ones correctly, it appears to have more problems.

I am going to try using another board today - an AMD/100. We'll see how that goes.


Do you have PCI slots? There are some add-in cards for ATA133 drives that certainly support the big drives--and do so faster.

The MB only has VESA slots, but I do have a Buslogic VLB caching controller which has a built-in BIOS to handle drives up to 4GB. I can try this later to see what happens.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 10th, 2015, 07:27 AM
I was trying to use this board to test out EZ-BIOS because, frankly, I doubt I would use it in a real machine based on how "buggy" it is with the date and floppy drive. I figured it would at least be able to see the hard drives which would then allow me to load and test EZ-BIOS. Plus it would allow me to test test that one IDE drive which I worte about in another thread - the one which seems to "knock out" any IDE detection until the motherboard discharges. But if it can't even see the Western Digital drives, let alone see the "smaller" ones correctly, it appears to have more problems.Let's see if we are getting this right. You're using EZ-BIOS or MaxBlast from Maxtor, right? OK, which is it? That wouldn't normally work correctly with a Western Digital drive. Their version goes under the name EZ Drive and although they're both variations of Disk Manager I'm not sure they are identical and will work on each other's drives. Why don't you try EZ Drive on the Western Digital drives and see if that helps.

Grandcheapskate
March 10th, 2015, 12:13 PM
Let's see if we are getting this right. You're using EZ-BIOS or MaxBlast from Maxtor, right? OK, which is it? That wouldn't normally work correctly with a Western Digital drive. Their version goes under the name EZ Drive and although they're both variations of Disk Manager I'm not sure they are identical and will work on each other's drives. Why don't you try EZ Drive on the Western Digital drives and see if that helps.

Yes, the EZ-BIOS software I have came with 8MB Maxtor drives years ago. But I am running into problems well before getting to the point of testing or loading EZ-BIOS.

I will write a more extensive post later on as I don't have the time right now. I did do more testing today using a different motherboard and the results are "interesting".

Joe

Grandcheapskate
March 11th, 2015, 08:17 AM
Ok Guys...here's what happened yesterday.

I set up another motherboard, also dated 1994. This one is an IBM 486DX4/100. I only installed a VESA video card, a VESA disk controller and 4MB of memory. The MB has LBA capability and IDE AUTO DETECT. I tested using only hard drives of 8GB or less.

Once again, EVERY Western Digital hard drive had issues. Except where noted, boot-up was attempted with a floppy and not from the HD.

1. WD hard drives could be identified using IDE AUTO DETECT. However, if you left that screen and then returned, a second and subsequent attempt to identify the drive would almost always result in no drive found. Maxtor and Seagate drives did not have this problem. If identified, the parameters are correct.

2. Sometimes after a WD was not identified, it was necessary to clear the BIOS using the MB jumper before you could try again with another drive of any type (and sometimes the same drive). This almost always worked, although you would then run into issue #1 with the WD drives. This goes back to that thread I have on Bizarre IDE behaviour.

3. When you run the IDE detect, you have a choice of accepting or declining the results. If a WD drive was identified on the first attempt but the second/subsequent attempt(s) found no drive, you could decline the results and the machine would see the HD on boot-up.

4. At one point during boot-up, the BIOS attempts to display the HD characteristics. When booting with a WD drive installed, the time it takes for the BIOS to ID the drive is about 20 seconds. Using a Seagate or Maxtor, the ID occurs immediatly.

5. I also testing trying to boot off a WD drive. After a successful boot off floppy, I partitioned the HD and formatted a small C: drive. I then did a SYS C: and tried to boot off the HD. I got a 'no system disk" found. A reboot off the floppy and a DIR of the C: drive shows all the files are present.

So although my intention was to test the limits of EZ-BIOS, and whether it would work on drives other than Maxtor, it seems I am having a lot of problems with Western Digital drives. These issues are coming up before I have the opportunity to install EZ-BIOS.

I am going to continue to see what the **** is going on here, but if anyone knows of issues with WD drives, I'd like to hear them.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 11th, 2015, 08:31 AM
The WD drives could be dead or quasi-dead. If this is the case there's not much you can do with them. And there's always the possibility that the MasterBootRecord is out of whack. To fix this, boot from a floppy and type FDISK/MBR which will create a new, viable MasterBootRecord. Then try to boot from the WD drive(s). I'm guessing that instead of a ... 'no system disk" found ... message as previously stated you more than likely got a ... non-system disk or disk error ... message. Is that correct?

Grandcheapskate
March 11th, 2015, 10:47 AM
The WD drives could be dead or quasi-dead. If this is the case there's not much you can do with them. And there's always the possibility that the MasterBootRecord is out of whack. To fix this, boot from a floppy and type FDISK/MBR which will create a new, viable MasterBootRecord. Then try to boot from the WD drive(s). I'm guessing that instead of a ... 'no system disk" found ... message as previously stated you more than likely got a ... non-system disk or disk error ... message. Is that correct?

Yes, that was the text of the message.

Some testing this morning only confirmed what I have been seeing. However, I was curious because I have four 486/133 boards (like the test board) which are running fine with a Maxtor 546MB as the master and a WD 6.4GB as the slave. Those machines have no problem seeing both drives and during boot there is no delay.

So I hooked up a Maxtor 546MB as the master on my test machine and put different WD drives as the slave. And guess what? No issues seeing both drives and no delay during boot.

I also tried using a WD 1.6GB as the sole drive. I had the same issues as before although sometimes it didn't "see" the drive until I tried to detect it more than once (which is opposite to what was happening before). After I booted the machine (with the 20 second delay) I partitioned and did a SYS C: (also insuring the partition was marked as "active"). Same issue on trying to boot off this drive - "non-system disk".

I started to believe that for some reason the WD drives need more time than others to be "identified" - both in the BIOS setup and during startup - when they are the master.

I will try the FDISK /MBR as a test later today if I get the chance. I also have to check my spreadsheet to see which machines use a WD as the master and whether those machines display the same strange behaviour.

The other test I did was trying a 20GB Maxtor as the master. The BIOS could see the drive with no problem (using the expected "dummy" CHS numbers). During the boot process (off a floppy) the machine hung, although it did "see" the Maxtor drive, with the floppy light on but nothing being read. This means I had no opportunity to try loading EZ-BIOS.

Thanks...Joe

Chuck(G)
March 11th, 2015, 11:45 AM
ISTR that some WD drives had "three" jumpered personalities: Single, Master and Slave. I wonder if you've got some of those. Have you tried the WD hard drive as master and a CD-ROM drive as slave?

Grandcheapskate
March 11th, 2015, 12:11 PM
ISTR that some WD drives had "three" jumpered personalities: Single, Master and Slave. I wonder if you've got some of those. Have you tried the WD hard drive as master and a CD-ROM drive as slave?

Well, how about that? I just tried hooking up a CD drive as the slave and everything worked. The BIOS quickly identified the WD hard drive and the boot process went as quickly as with any other drive. Plus, the machine booted off a hard drive which it will not boot from if left as a single drive.

I just removed the CD drive and made no other changes: the problem returns. The BIOS did not detect the HD until the fourth time I tried. The boot process also took a long time and I got the "non-system disk" message. Putting the CD back as the slave made everything run fine again.

By the way, while I see five pin pairs all the WD drives only have three documented pin locations - master, slave and CS. None of the drives have those other selections of "single" or "master with slave".

Another fact - hooking up two WD drives as master/slave (a 1.6GB and 6.4GB) also has the result of having everything work fine.

So, what have we learned here? What is the story with the WD drives?

Thanks...Joe

Chuck(G)
March 11th, 2015, 12:25 PM
What happens in a single-drive situation if no jumpers are installed?

Hmmm, what models are the WD drives? I may have one or the other on my shelf--I'll have to try your experiment.

Stone
March 11th, 2015, 01:09 PM
By the way, while I see five pin pairs all the WD drives only have three documented pin locations - master, slave and CS. None of the drives have those other selections of "single" or "master with slave".

Another fact - hooking up two WD drives as master/slave (a 1.6GB and 6.4GB) also has the result of having everything work fine.

The WD drives with five pairs of pins use *no* jumpers connected to designate a single drive. It's clearly designated on the top of some of their drives.


So, what have we learned here? What is the story with the WD drives?You have learned that drives need to be correctly configured for single, master or slave! :-)

You need to remove the master jumper on the 1.6 GB drive and the slave jumper on the 6.4 GB drive for either of them to function properly as a single drive.

Grandcheapskate
March 11th, 2015, 03:43 PM
The WD drives with five pairs of pins use *no* jumpers connected to designate a single drive. It's clearly designated on the top of some of their drives.

You have learned that drives need to be correctly configured for single, master or slave! :-)

You need to remove the master jumper on the 1.6 GB drive and the slave jumper on the 6.4 GB drive for either of them to function properly as a single drive.

DOH!!!

The 6.4GB drive (model AC26400-00RN) has the pin configuration on the label and you are correct - a single drive should have no jumpers installed. In my flurry of testing I just went by the notation on the pins and stopped looking at the label. The 1.6GB drive (model WDAC31600-00H) has no description for jumper settings on the label, it just has three pins (of five) noted as MA, SL or CS.

Mystery solved..and thanks to you guys.

Now I can get back to my original quest...determining how large a drive EZ-BIOS (should I decide to use it) can handle.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 11th, 2015, 06:17 PM
Now I can get back to my original quest...determining how large a drive EZ-BIOS (should I decide to use it) can handle.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, use EZ DRIVE for the WD drives. :-) And remember, EZ DRIVE and EZ-BIOS may not support the same size limitations. :-)

Grandcheapskate
March 12th, 2015, 03:28 PM
I don't have a copy of EZ-Drive. A Google search seemed to turn up the fact that EZ-BIOS was also shipped with Western Digital drives. Maybe the two are the same - both made by Micro House?

Today I tried testing EZ-BIOS. I took a 20GB WD drive and tried to boot. Although the BIOS could identify the drive (with CHS parameters for an 8GB drive), the boot process hung. Setting the 20GB drive to Type 1 manually allowed me to boot to the EZ-BIOS diskette where the drive is then correctly identified.

I then set up with a 340MB WD as master and the 20GB WD as slave.

The EZ-BIOS software also wants to partition the drive and load an OS after EZ-BIOS is installed. I figured once EZ-BIOS was installed, I could use the regular FDISK utility to partition the drive and then do a SYS C: from my Win98 boot disk. That doesn't appear to be the case.

If after installing EZ-BIOS I simply exit and reboot using a Win98 diskette, I can partition, format and SYS C: without issue. However, when I reboot from the hard drive, I get the message:

NO PT,
insert a disk

I assume PT means Partition Table but could be wrong. Only if I allow EZ-BIOS to partition and install the system files can I boot off the hard drive. I don't quite understand why this is so. I figure once EZ-BIOS loads during the boot process, I should be able to access the hard drives as if EZ-BIOS were not there.

So far, it looks like EZ-BIOS will let me get to a drive of 20GB. I don't have anything between the 20GB and a 120GB (which EZ-BIOS cannot handle it appears) so I don't know where I take my testing from here. My plans to install some of these large (120GB plus) drives into my 486 to P1 machines may not be possible.

Joe

Agent Orange
March 12th, 2015, 04:17 PM
You may or may not have seen this:

ATA Specification (for IDE disks) - the 137 GB limitAt most 65536 cylinders (numbered 0-65535), 16 heads (numbered 0-15), 255 sectors/track (numbered 1-255), for a maximum total capacity of 267386880 sectors (of 512 bytes each), that is, 136902082560 bytes (137 GB). In Sept 2001, the first drives larger than this (160 GB Maxtor Diamondmax) appeared.
BIOS Int 13 - the 8.5 GB limitAt most 1024 cylinders (numbered 0-1023), 256 heads (numbered 0-255), 63 sectors/track (numbered 1-63) for a maximum total capacity of 8455716864 bytes (8.5 GB). This is a serious limitation today. It means that DOS cannot use present day large disks.
The 528 MB limitIf the same values for c,h,s are used for the BIOS Int 13 call and for the IDE disk I/O, then both limitations combine, and one can use at most 1024 cylinders, 16 heads, 63 sectors/track, for a maximum total capacity of 528482304 bytes (528MB), the infamous 504 MiB limit for DOS with an old BIOS. This started being a problem around 1993, and people resorted to all kinds of trickery, both in hardware (LBA), in firmware (translating BIOS), and in software (disk managers). The concept of `translation' was invented (1994): a BIOS could use one geometry while talking to the drive, and another, fake, geometry while talking to DOS, and translate between the two.
The 2.1 GB limit (April 1996)Some older BIOSes only allocate 12 bits for the field in CMOS RAM that gives the number of cylinders. Consequently, this number can be at most 4095, and only 4095*16*63*512=2113413120 bytes are accessible. The effect of having a larger disk would be a hang at boot time. This made disks with geometry 4092/16/63 rather popular. And still today many large disk drives come with a jumper to make them appear 4092/16/63. See also over2gb.htm (http://www.firmware.com/support/bios/over2gb.htm). Other BIOSes (http://www.asus.com/Products/Techref/Ide/Intel/intel-ide-001.html) would not hang but just detect a much smaller disk, like 429 MB instead of 2.5 GB.
The 3.2 GB limitThere was a bug in the Phoenix 4.03 and 4.04 BIOS firmware that would cause the system to lock up in the CMOS setup for drives with a capacity over 3277 MB. See over3gb.htm (http://www.firmware.com/support/bios/over3gb.htm).
The 4.2 GB limit (Feb 1997)Simple BIOS translation (ECHS=Extended CHS, sometimes called `Large disk support' or just `Large') works by repeatedly doubling the number of heads and halving the number of cylinders shown to DOS, until the number of cylinders is at most 1024. Now DOS and Windows 95 cannot handle 256 heads, and in the common case that the disk reports 16 heads, this means that this simple mechanism only works up to 8192*16*63*512=4227858432 bytes (with a fake geometry with 1024 cylinders, 128 heads, 63 sectors/track). Note that ECHS does not change the number of sectors per track, so if that is not 63, the limit will be lower. See over4gb.htm (http://www.firmware.com/support/bios/over4gb.htm).
The 7.9 GB limitSlightly smarter BIOSes avoid the previous problem by first adjusting the number of heads to 15 (`revised ECHS'), so that a fake geometry with 240 heads can be obtained, good for 1024*240*63*512=7927234560 bytes.
The 8.4 GB limit Finally, if the BIOS does all it can to make this translation a success, and uses 255 heads and 63 sectors/track (`assisted LBA' or just `LBA') it may reach 1024*255*63*512=8422686720 bytes, slightly less than the earlier 8.5 GB limit because the geometries with 256 heads must be avoided. (This translation will use for the number of heads the first value H in the sequence 16, 32, 64, 128, 255 for which the total disk capacity fits in 1024*H*63*512, and then computes the number of cylinders C as total capacity divided by (H*63*512).)
The 33.8 GB limit (August 1999) The next hurdle comes with a size over 33.8 GB. The problem is that with the default 16 heads and 63 sectors/track this corresponds to a number of cylinders of more than 65535, which does not fit into a short. Many BIOSes couldn't handle such disks. (See, e.g., Asus upgrades (http://www.asus.com/Products/Motherboard/bios_slot1.html) for new flash images that work.) Linux kernels older than 2.2.14 / 2.3.21 need a patch. See IDE problems with 34+ GB disks (http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-12.html#verylarge) below.
The 137 GB limit (Sept 2001)As mentioned above, the old ATA protocol uses 16+4+8 = 28 bits to specify the sector number, and hence cannot address more than 2^28 sectors. ATA-6 describes an extension that allows the addressing of 2^48 sectors, a million times as much. There is support in very recent kernels.
The 2 TiB limitWith 32-bit sector numbers, one can address 2 TiB. A lot of software will have to be rewritten once disks get larger.
Hard drives over 8.4 GB are supposed to report their geometry as 16383/16/63. This in effect means that the `geometry' is obsolete, and the total disk size can no longer be computed from the geometry, but is found in the LBA capacity field returned by the IDENTIFY command (http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-10.html#identify). Hard drives over 137.4 GB are supposed to report an LBA capacity of 0xfffffff = 268435455 sectors (137438952960 bytes). Now the actual disk size is found in the new 48-capacity field.

You may not be able to achieve 120 GB with your BIOS regardless of the overlay. I was using an overlay on my 386 for a 8.4 GB HD split up into 4 equal partitions. The system worked okay and even gave you a choice to boot from a CD. But, I didn't like it, seemed to much like a crutch. So, I went up in the rafters and found an old ISA SIIG controller and installed same. I went for type 47 and let the mobo BIOS do an automatic setup, which it did, finding the drive parameters with no problems. Of course all data was lost the drive had to be re-partitioned and formatted. On the other hand, I have a Gigabyte 486 mobo with on-board floppy/HD, supports LBA and 48 -bit addressing, and gets me all the way to 137 GB. I don't think I've every had a parallel IDE larger than 80 GB. For your next project you may want to find a late (last model) 486 mobo with at least 1 PCI slot and then you can go for broke.

Stone
March 12th, 2015, 04:49 PM
See what you can do with EZ DRIVE (http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14062994/EZ_801W.ZIP).

Grandcheapskate
March 13th, 2015, 07:03 AM
You may not be able to achieve 120 GB with your BIOS regardless of the overlay. I was using an overlay on my 386 for a 8.4 GB HD split up into 4 equal partitions. The system worked okay and even gave you a choice to boot from a CD. But, I didn't like it, seemed to much like a crutch. So, I went up in the rafters and found an old ISA SIIG controller and installed same. I went for type 47 and let the mobo BIOS do an automatic setup, which it did, finding the drive parameters with no problems. Of course all data was lost the drive had to be re-partitioned and formatted. On the other hand, I have a Gigabyte 486 mobo with on-board floppy/HD, supports LBA and 48 -bit addressing, and gets me all the way to 137 GB. I don't think I've every had a parallel IDE larger than 80 GB. For your next project you may want to find a late (last model) 486 mobo with at least 1 PCI slot and then you can go for broke.

First of all, thanks to Stone for the EZ-Drive download. I'll try that soon (I dismantled the caseless test machine yesterday).

Tom,
I did see the above limitation descriptions and printed them out along with the other web pages mentioned in an earlier post in this thread. The issue I was trying to determine was just how large a drive EZ-BIOS can handle - that info seems to be nowhere. Based on the fact the EZ-BIOS display only allows for five digits in the capacity field (in MB), it would seem the upper limit is (at most) 99,999MB or 99.99GB. Since that is not one of the "barriers" and I can get to a 20GB drive, the next level is 33.8GB. Then beyond that is 137GB. My initial test with the 120GB drive seemed to fail.

I actually do have a 40GB and 80GB drive installed in newer machines which I plan to replace with either a 120GB or a 250GB drive (I have to test both). If I free those drives, I can then test them with EZ-BIOS.

In reading your comment above, if your IDE controller allows 48 bit addressing you can go to 144PB (post #13). The 137GB limit should only apply to 28 bit addressing (2^28 * 512) if I understand correctly.

Thanks...Joe

njroadfan
March 13th, 2015, 07:17 AM
EZ-BIOS is a part of EZ-DRIVE, which also includes a partitioning and formatting wizard. The latest version put out by Western Digital was 9.03W and I don't recall it being limited to one brand of drive in terms of installing EZ-BIOS.

Grandcheapskate
March 13th, 2015, 07:35 AM
EZ-BIOS is a part of EZ-DRIVE, which also includes a partitioning and formatting wizard. The latest version put out by Western Digital was 9.03W and I don't recall it being limited to one brand of drive in terms of installing EZ-BIOS.

The Maxblast software I have (with EZ-BIOS 9.06) also has the partitioning and formatting software included. I believe EZ-BIOS was made by Micro House. I don't believe the Maxblast utility I have is limited to Maxtor drives - it is probably just a front-end to the EZ-BIOS software to walk you through the physical installation of a Maxtor drive. Once you get to the EZ-BIOS configuration, my guess is it is drive independant.

I am still mystified as to why I cannot boot off the hard drive unless I load the initial OS boot code from within EZ-BIOS.

Joe

Agent Orange
March 13th, 2015, 09:09 AM
In reading your comment above, if your IDE controller allows 48 bit addressing you can go to 144PB (post #13). The 137GB limit should only apply to 28 bit addressing (2^28 * 512) if I understand correctly.

Thanks...Joe

First, your BIOS must be able to support support LBA 48-bit, regardless of the controller. There are some utilities out there that will check for that. in my case, I don't think I could get over 137 on my 486 setup unless I could load XP w/SP1. You are correct about your theory, but in practice it might be hard to accomplish without an overlay for the ISA/VLB system that doesn't have a PCI slot available. But, I know you are into to the overlay thing and it's a different ball game. FWIW, I have used ONTRACK Disk Manager ver. 9.57 which goes back to about 2002. They merged with Kroll Data Recovery and I think they're located in Eden Prairie, MN. If you want to try it, let me know.

Tom

Stone
March 13th, 2015, 09:42 AM
You can get EZ-DRIVE 9.03W here (ftp://ftp.abacus.cz/pub/support/testy.sw/hdd/wd/drivers/drives.html).

Grandcheapskate
March 14th, 2015, 08:46 AM
I have to set up my test environment again, but until I do I have a question.

If you have multiple hard drives in a machine, I assume EZ-BIOS needs to control every drive, even if that drive can be handled by the BIOS. During my testing I set up a WD 340MB (master) and a WD 20GB and only wanted EZ-BIOS on the 20GB drive. When I turned on EZ-BIOS for the slave drive, I also got it on the master drive.

I can see where it would need to be installed on the MBR of the master drive. What I wonder is whether the 340MB drive could be accessed without EZ-BIOS if I installed it in another machine.

The reason I ask is this. Assume you want to copy data off a EZ-BIOS controlled hard drive to a drive not controlled by EZ-BIOS, and want to do so on the same machine. You would need a drive which the native BIOS could handle and which EZ-BIOS did not alter the geometry. You could then take that HD and move it to another machine and if necessary run the EZ-BIOS utility and remove any EZ-BIOS code from the MBR.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 14th, 2015, 09:15 AM
The DDO is only placed on the BOOT drive. It wouldn't get read on a slave drive because it only gets read when the system is booted and since you're not booting from the slave it doesn't serve any purpose to have a DDO on it. In short, a DDO only is installed on one drive of a two drive system.

Grandcheapskate
March 20th, 2015, 09:20 AM
Doesn't look like I will be able to determine the upper limit of EZ-BIOS software. I do know it can get me to at last a 20GB drive.

The problem is you must first get past the motherboard BIOS before you can start to load EZ-BIOS either from it's install disk or from the hard drive. The next biggest drive I have after the 20GB drive is a 40GB drive and the machine will not boot with this drive attached, not even if I set the BIOS to Type 1.

Joe

Stone
March 20th, 2015, 09:44 AM
There are other options to get around this obstacle. Try this one first:

First disconnect the ribbon cable from your 40GB drive.

Turn the power on and go into CMOS.

Select the Used Defined type and enter: 1023x16x63.

Save this setting.

Turn the power off and reconnect the cable.

See if the system boots and if it does... well, you know what to do from there.

If it doesn't, there is still another option to try.

Oh, BTW, what is the drive make and model of this 40GB drive?

Grandcheapskate
March 20th, 2015, 03:47 PM
There are other options to get around this obstacle. Try this one first:

First disconnect the ribbon cable from your 40GB drive.

Turn the power on and go into CMOS.

Select the Used Defined type and enter: 1023x16x63.

Save this setting.

Turn the power off and reconnect the cable.

See if the system boots and if it does... well, you know what to do from there.

If it doesn't, there is still another option to try.

Oh, BTW, what is the drive make and model of this 40GB drive?

I'll give that a try. The 40GB drive actually resides in another machine so I have to take it out again. It is a Western Digital drive - I have to remove it to see the model number. It is set for Cable Select but I removed the jumper before I tested it in my P1-90 (I learned my lesson about WD drive jumper settings). :)

I also have a 120GB (white label) and 250GB (WD) sitting idle at the moment but I am sure EZ-BIOS will be unable to access them.

Thanks...Joe

Stone
March 20th, 2015, 04:17 PM
The 40GB drive actually resides in another machine so I have to take it out again.I guess you're aware that putting a DDO on this (or any) drive will remove everything that is currently on it.


I also have a 120GB (white label) and 250GB (WD) sitting idle at the moment but I am sure EZ-BIOS will be unable to access them.:-) :-) :-)

Grandcheapskate
March 21st, 2015, 10:24 AM
I guess you're aware that putting a DDO on this (or any) drive will remove everything that is currently on it.

Oh yeah. But I will only go to the point where I ask EZ-BIOS to show me the drive information. If it shows me the correct translated geometry, then I can eventually go to the next step of actually partitioning and formatting an unused drive.

But I first need to get the boot process started.

Thanks...Joe

Chuck(G)
March 21st, 2015, 11:07 AM
I think it's an accurate statement that operation in PIO mode has not fundamentally changed hardware-wise on the host side since it was introduced in the original ATA interface. So any ATA host can theoretically access the full range of PATA supported drives, even the 330GB ones. So a PC AT with suitable ATA host card could, with the correct software, use a 330GB PATA drive.

Now, enhanced modes (e.g. UDMA) are a different matter, but all PATA drives support mode 0 PIO, AFAIK.

Are there any exceptions?

Stone
March 21st, 2015, 11:58 AM
To access > 137GB you need to have an Ultra ATA/133 PCI interface which uses 48 bits for addressing where AT only uses 28 bits. It would seem that the 330GB would work.

So, who's going to try it? Joe? :-)

Chuck(G)
March 21st, 2015, 12:43 PM
To access > 137GB you need to have an Ultra ATA/133 PCI interface which uses 48 bits for addressing where AT only uses 28 bits. It would seem that the 330GB would work.

So, let's see--330GB = 660Msectors = 30 bits, assuming 512 byte (not 4096 byte) sectors.

The 48-bit interface is done rather cleverly and does not depend on the host ATA interface, believe it or not. There are seperate "extended" 48 bit commands, and registers are doubled in size by outputing or inputing from the same register twice in succession.

PCI is not necessary, nor is a special ATA host interface. Read the spec. (http://www.t13.org/documents/uploadeddocuments/project/d1410r3b-ata-atapi-6.pdf). While performance is maximized with a special controller, simple read/write access is mostly a software matter.

Krille
March 21st, 2015, 01:21 PM
So any ATA host can theoretically access the full range of PATA supported drives, even the 330GB ones. So a PC AT with suitable ATA host card could, with the correct software, use a 330GB PATA drive.

There are drives with more storage capacity than that. The biggest PATA drive made (as far as I know) is a 750 GB drive from Seagate.

Agent Orange
March 21st, 2015, 01:24 PM
PCI is not necessary, nor is a special ATA host interface. Read the spec. (http://www.t13.org/documents/uploadeddocuments/project/d1410r3b-ata-atapi-6.pdf). While performance is maximized with a special controller, simple read/write access is mostly a software matter.

Chuck: Are you not referring to theory? I believe you would be hard pressed to find the required combination of ATA IDE/ISA HD controller (on-board or slotted), BIOS (which supports > 137 GB), and a willing operating system to take advantage of a 330 GB HD altogether on an ISA motherboard setup. I see no problem if the subject motherboard has a PCI slot. Of course, I may have missed the boat on this one, as anything is possible.

Chuck(G)
March 21st, 2015, 02:54 PM
No, my point is that the large drive support is all software, not hardware, at least when you're talking about the basic PIO mode. All the rest, DMA support, is embellishment to the basic standard.

And the ATA6 spec supports 48-bit LBA mode. I don't think that single drives exist that test the limit--that's 281,474,976,710,656 sectors or 137,438,953,472 MB, if my copying ability still works. ISTR that the ATA6 BIOS interface supports sector addresses up to 264

Grandcheapskate
March 21st, 2015, 04:51 PM
There are other options to get around this obstacle. Try this one first:

First disconnect the ribbon cable from your 40GB drive.

Turn the power on and go into CMOS.

Select the Used Defined type and enter: 1023x16x63.

Save this setting.

Turn the power off and reconnect the cable.

See if the system boots and if it does... well, you know what to do from there.



I tried the 40GB drive in my P1 90MHz today. Using the above method I was still unable to get the machine past the point of identifying the IDE devices during boot-up.

During the boot process, there comes a point where the machine identifies the IDE devices attached. With a hard drive of 20GB or less as the primary master, the machine correctly identifies the existance of the primary master device, along with the secondary master device (a CD-RW drive). It reports as NONE the slave device on both channels. It still requires the use of EZ-BIOS to get access to a drive greater than 8.4GB, but everything works.

I then remove the existing HD and install the 40GB drive as the primary master. The boot process now does not even acknowledge there is a primary master channel, it only reports a primary slave and a secondary master and slave; it still correctly reports the CD-RW drive and reports the two slave devices as NONE. At this point, the boot process hangs.

So I cannot get to the point where the machine tries to read the boot devices in the specified order. This is obviously because the machine does not acknowledge there is a primary master device. I don't see a way around this problem short of some type of BIOS override.

Joe

kb2syd
March 21st, 2015, 05:46 PM
I then remove the existing HD and install the 40GB drive as the primary master. The boot process now does not even acknowledge there is a primary master channel, it only reports a primary slave and a secondary master and slave; it still correctly reports the CD-RW drive and reports the two slave devices as NONE. At this point, the boot process hangs.
Many of the BIOS of this era allowed you to turn off the auto detect. If yours does, turn that feature off and see if that makes a difference.

Stone
March 21st, 2015, 06:39 PM
So I cannot get to the point where the machine tries to read the boot devices in the specified order. This is obviously because the machine does not acknowledge there is a primary master device. I don't see a way around this problem short of some type of BIOS override.OK, see if this provides that BIOS override.

Try jumpering these two positions -- Master and Cable Select. That would be positions #1 and #3. On some WD drives this reports a different set of parameters to the BIOS and allows the system to boot with a drive it won't accept in it's native state. If that works... install the DDO.

Grandcheapskate
March 22nd, 2015, 12:08 PM
Many of the BIOS of this era allowed you to turn off the auto detect. If yours does, turn that feature off and see if that makes a difference.

I did turn off AUTO and manually entered the drive parameters as 1023x16x63. Doing this still had the effect of causing the BIOS not to see the primary master channel.

Stone...you da Man!!!

I put jumpers on the CS and Master pins and got past the problem point. In fact, I was able to boot not just with the WD 40GB drive but with a WD 250GB also. I was able to leave the BIOS as AUTO for everything and still boot to the EZ-BIOS diskette. The boot process correctly identified the model number of the primary master device.

So what happened? It looks like EZ-BIOS has an upper limit of 33GB. Whether I booted with the 40GB or the 250GB drive, I got the same numbers out of EZ-BIOS. It appears to be a max capacity of 33GB.

Interestingly, just for kicks I put the EZ-BIOS diskette into a Compaq with a 80GB drive. This Compaq machine is capable of handling the 80GB drive via the BIOS. When I checked the EZ-BIOS drive data, I got incorrect numbers for some of the parameters (for example. the drive default showed a 12GB drive) but the correct numbers showed up for the mainboard BIOS.

I do not completely understand the series of drive parameters EZ-BIOS shows me because I don't understand each category and there is no detailed documentation which came with the software. But for now it looks like I have my answer - the upper limit is 33GB.

Here is the output from EZ-BIOS for three different hard drives. If anyone can clarify for me what each category means, I'd appreciate it. I can see reguardless of size (greater then 8.4GB), the numbers for Drive Currently and ROM BIOS Int 13h are the same.

The EZ-BIOS drive data for the 40GB and 250GB drives:

Drive Defaults: CYL= 65531, Head=16, Sector=63, MB=33822
Drive Currently: CYL= 16383, Head=16, Sector=63, MB=8455
EDPT Actual: CYL= 65503, Head=16, Sector=63, MB=33808
EDPT Apparent: CYL= 4111, Head=255, Sector=63, MB=33816
EZ-BIOS Int 13h: CYL= ----, Head=----, Sector=----, MB=----
ROM BIOS Int 13h: CYL= 1024, Head=255, Sector=63, MB=8423


The EZ-BIOS data for the installed 10GB drive:

Drive Defaults: CYL= 19841, Head=16, Sector=63, MB=10240
Drive Currently: CYL= 16383, Head=16, Sector=63, MB=8455
EDPT Actual: CYL= 19810, Head=16, Sector=63, MB=10224
EDPT Apparent: CYL= 1244, Head=255, Sector=63, MB=10232
EZ-BIOS Int 13h: CYL= ----, Head=----, Sector=----, MB=----
ROM BIOS Int 13h: CYL= 1024, Head=255, Sector=63, MB=8423

Thanks...Joe