Windows 98 48-bit LBA support with VIA or SiS drivers?

Discussion in 'FIC' started by larrymoencurly, Jun 2, 2004.

  1. Do the Windows 98xx drivers provided by VIA and SiS for their chipsets
    provide 48-bit LBA support the way the Intel Application Accelerator
    and Promise drivers do? My BIOSes have 48-bit LBA support.
    larrymoencurly, Jun 2, 2004
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  2. larrymoencurly

    kony Guest

    I know that Via's do and thought that Sis's do as well but I can't be
    certain that I've tried a large drive on Win9x with a Sis chipset board.

    Win98SE can see/use HDD > 128 "true" GB, but scandisk won't work
    (generates error message but gently, not a bluescreen/crash), maybe not
    Disk Defrag either?... don't remember. 3rd party replacements by
    Norton/Symantec (confirmed working) or "probably" Network
    Associates/McAfee can be used instead. FDISK may need percentages of
    capacity specified instead of actual sizes though my memory of that is a
    bit vague.
    kony, Jun 2, 2004
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  3. I'm going to try writing all over this drive beyond 137GB to see if I
    can wreck the boot partition. But I'll be disappointed if I have to
    use a Promise card and its Windows driver -- I thought that only
    obsolete hardware was supposed to need them with big drives. :(
    larrymoencurly, Jun 2, 2004
  4. larrymoencurly

    Tod Guest

    Hard drive size is really more limited (>137GB) by motherboard bios.
    As long as the motherboard bios has 48-bit support, Windows 98 should not
    have any problems.
    Tod, Jun 3, 2004
  5. larrymoencurly

    Stacey Guest

    If the bios can deal with the size of the drive, the IDE controller will as
    Stacey, Jun 4, 2004
  6. But I'm using really old Windows 98SE, and says
    anything older than Windows 2000 won't handle > 137GB without a
    Windows driver, and they mention the Intel Applications Accelerator
    for mobos with Intel chipsets (only 810 and newer -- no 440BX support
    :( ) and PCI IDE cards like the ones from Promise.
    larrymoencurly, Jun 4, 2004
  7. Have you actually tried it with a version of Windows older than Win2K?
    They don't like anything > 137GB unless a driver program is
    installed, even though the file system is supposed to be able to
    handle far more than that.
    larrymoencurly, Jun 4, 2004
  8. larrymoencurly

    kony Guest

    I've had to rethink a few options with regard to 48bit LBA.

    For example, all I'd heard claimed that with the Promise Ultra cards, it'd
    need be at least an Ultra 100. I plugged in a 160GB drive to an Ultra 66
    with a 2.x.something bios version, installed similar-age driver, and
    Win98SE sees whole drive... isn't the boot drive though, and the card's
    own bios reports only 128GB but one of Promise's FAQ sections for their
    Ultra 100 makes a passing mention that the Ultra 66's size misreport is
    "cosmetic" or something to that effect.

    Haven't had the chance to test that, it just happened that I had a couple
    of leftover Ultra66 cards from back in the day when everyone was moddin'
    'em into Fasttracks. Was planning on running optical drives off the Ultra
    66 but strangely a couple of optical drives don't work properly attached,
    they show data-only discs as audio discs, tracks and all, but work fine
    when connected to motherboard integral controller instead.
    kony, Jun 4, 2004
  9. larrymoencurly

    Tod Guest

    What "windows driver" are they talking about ?

    Tod, Jun 4, 2004
  10. Well, just saying 'driver' doesn't quite tell the story.

    There's more than one thing that must support the drive for it to all come
    together. First is the controller (this one is the 'secret' and more on
    that later). If it's the mobo's integrated IDE interface then that means
    the BIOS must support it. If it's an add-in controller then 'it' must
    support larger than 137 GB drives and the BIOS is irrelevant (which is one
    reason people add in IDE controller cards).

    I presume you're trying to use the onboard IDE channels and that your BIOS
    supports greater than 137GB drives since you've focused on Windows98SE.

    While the Windows98SE FAT32 file system can support > 137GB drives,
    scandisk and defrag can not. They are 16 bit programs and, as a result, are
    limited to 127 GB. That is not a typo, 127GB. If, however, you got over the
    other issues one could presumably use a third party defrag and scandsk
    equivalent that did not have the limitation (I have not personally checked
    for one so I can't say what to get although I would 'imagine' that Norton
    SystemWorks would operate correctly). Seagate recommends that you partition
    the drive so that none are larger than the 127GB native limit (like make
    two 80GB partitions on a 160GB drive) so this is easy to work around.

    Now we get to the 'secret'. The native Windows98SE ATA/IDE drivers can not
    handle more than 137/127 GB, as was the case with scandisk and defrag. So,
    if your oboard IDE controller uses the standard windows drivers you are out
    of luck because MS has no plans whatsoever to 'upgrade' Windows98SE (or,
    rather, the 'upgrade' path is to buy XP). Note that this is not a matter of
    partition size that can be solved by simply making them under the 127GB
    limit, as was the case with scandisk and defrag. The partition information
    is simply telling the driver where it's located on the disk, and it's size,
    but if the driver can't GET to that portion of the raw disk then it can't
    talk to it. So the native Windows98SE IDE driver limit of 127GB is a HARD

    IF, however, your motherboard has an IDE controller where they provide
    their own drivers (like maybe VIA or SIS) then it depends on whether THEY
    have a driver that supports > 137 GB drives (or simply use the native
    windows drivers). As a note, if it's an Intel IDE earlier than the 800
    series then there isn't one and they don't plan to 'upgrade' the older ones
    just as MS doesn't plan to 'upgrade' Win9X.

    There is, of course, the option of an add-on IDE card that would have a
    suitable driver. They typically represent themselves to the system as SCSI
    devices, even though the hardware interface to the drive is IDE, and
    Windows has no limitation problems with SCSI.

    Which then leaves FDISK, which doesn't work with drives over 64GB (FORMAT
    displays incorrectly over 64GB but formats correctly nonetheless). MS has a
    'fix' for FDISK here...;en-us;263044

    But that does not allow greater > 137GB partitions nor does it work with >
    137 GB drives, or so MS says. You'd need a third party partitioning package
    for that (perhaps the drive's prep program that came with it).

    Since you say you have a BX chipset the solution is to either upgrade to
    WindowsXP or buy a third party add-on IDE card that supports > 137 GB
    drives and then partition the drive with multiple < 127GB partitions.
    David Maynard, Jun 5, 2004
  11. larrymoencurly

    Stacey Guest

    Nope, haven't personally tried it, been using linux for years now, sorry..
    Stacey, Jun 5, 2004
  12. One of these files:

    A FAQ about 48-bit LBA and the 137GB limitation of Windows 98xx and
    Windows ME is at:
    larrymoencurly, Jun 5, 2004
  13. larrymoencurly

    kony Guest

    I'm not sure if that 'site is entirely correct though, am in the process
    of testing this myself.

    Currently I have an Asus A7N8X board in a testbed system. Connected is a
    Samsung 160GB drive. So far I've done the following to it, in order, and
    noticed these "issues":

    1) Booted Win98SE startup floppy, created by another system with the the
    MS patch for newer FDISK applied, so the newer > 64GB FDISK was used.

    2) 160GB drive made into single primary FAT32 partition. Upon formatting,
    it incorrectly showed size as (roughly) 21GB, an overflow of 128GB (128 +
    21 = 149GB, roughly the true capacity of the drive.

    3) Upon running Win98SE Installation, the scandisk portion generated an
    "Out of Memory" error with choice of <EXIT> or <CONTINUE>. Of course I
    chose <CONTINUE>.

    4) Win98SE installation finished. System boots and shows HDD capacity as

    5) System instable. NO drivers installed yet. System previously was
    stable running Win98SE "fully?" patched with newest nVidia drivers. Vcache
    setting in system.ini limited to under 512MB.

    6) Scandisk and Disk Defra tried, both popup window "insufficient memory"
    as expected.

    7) 65535MB (< 64GB) is max value that can be set for virtual memory
    (swapfile) size. I don't know who might need a 64GB swapfile, but
    nevertheless was an observed restriction.

    8) Too lazy to move hard drives or optical media around to fill up the
    HDD, will install NIC driver and put more than 128GB of data on it,
    eventually. So far system appears to be supporting 48bit LBA drive fine
    with exception of above issues, without any IDE driver installed save that
    provided by Win98SE, unpatched, only the 48bit LBA support of motherboard
    kony, Jun 6, 2004
  14. larrymoencurly

    kony Guest

    As a followup, drive was being filled with data, and while the capacity
    remaining was reported correctly, at the 128MB point the OS started
    generating "file not found" or "not able to read" or similar messages and
    freezing at the 128GB point.

    I then installed the nVidia 4.20 driver pack which did't make any
    difference, still it couldn't get past 128GB. AT this point I was
    scratching my head because I did think I'd had this drive hooked up to
    this board previously and had filled it completely, but perhaps not, I
    might have been thinking of a Via KT333 board.

    Anyway, as soon as I threw a PCI PATA RAID card into the system and ran
    the drive off of it, the whole capacity was available as expected. When I
    left the card in the system but moved drive back to motherboard IDE it
    again failed to go past 128GB.

    So basically my whole experiment revolved around a mistaken rememberance
    that it'd worked on an nForce board without any extra driver, when it now
    seems that it was on a KT333 board that it'd worked under Win98, which I'm
    sure did have the 4in1 drivers installed.
    kony, Jun 6, 2004
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