Replacing Hard disk - W98 system

  Frank-P 23:54 16 Feb 2004

I have a Gateway PC, approx 5 yrs old, 400Mhz Celeron CPU. Currently fitted with 4.1Gb Hard Disk and running W98 (first edition I think).

I would like to install a new Hard Disk, either as replacement for existing or as supplemetary, and have a choice of either 20Gb or 80Gb - can W98 handle disks of this size? Does FAT32 suffer the same problems as FAT16 in terms of cluster size, and if so,what would be the optimum partition size to get the best use of the extra space (I assume I will need to set up multiple partitions).

  hugh-265156 01:44 17 Feb 2004

if you get something like acronis true image(full free copy on this months PCA mag cdrom/dvd)

you could install the new drive as slave and copy your old drive to your new drive then swap the jumpers and position on ide cable for the drives.format the old drive using fdisk and use it as slave.easy peasy.

for partitions,even after you do the above try using something like partition magic click here and click here for instruction videos.

see also click here for using fdisk and fat 16/32 comparison.

  hugh-265156 01:46 17 Feb 2004

uk link click here

  temp003 02:00 17 Feb 2004

A number of different things can impose a disk or partition size barrier.

First one is the BIOS, which can have various disk size limits. If your present hdd is 4.1GB (shown in Windows I assume), then the BIOS barrier can be 8GB, 34GB or 137GB (disk manufacturer sizes). If your BIOS is capable of logical block addressing (LBA), then the barrier is possibly 137GB but I'm not sure.

Check your BIOS to see if there's an option to enable LBA, or check Gateway's website to see if there's any BIOS updates since you purchased your computer. The BIOS update may be old, but it may still be new enough to overcome the 32GB barrier.

If there's a BIOS limit that can't be overcome, the solution is to buy a PCI ATA-100 or ATA-133 disk controller card (with its own IDE connections) if the computer has a free PCI slot. These cards have their own BIOS extensions.

Another solution is to use the hdd manufacturer's drive overlay utiltiy which can be downloaded from their websites. I don't recommend drive overlay, as it creates potential data recovery problems if you need to move it to another computer, or repair Windows.

FAT32 itself can theoretically handle partition sizes of 8 terabytes (8000 GBs). FAT32 itself is not a problem.

But Windows 98 can handle, I think, up to 137GB, but that's more than you need, so not a problem.

Another possible barrier is in some Windows 98's fdisk utility. If you need to create partitions over 64GB in Fdisk, Fdisk may tell you that your 80GB disk is only 16GB (subtract 64GB from real disk size). Microsoft has a patch for this. click here

If your new disk is larger than 64GB, apply the patch to your existing Windows 98. If you need to use fdisk from the 98 startup floppy, create the floppy from within Windows 98, then copy the new fdisk.exe from C:\Windows\Command folder to the created floppy, replacing the existing fdisk.exe on the floppy.

FAT32 has better cluster sizes than FAT16. Windows 98's format will by default use FAT32.

Partition size - difficult to say because it depends on your needs, but generally unless you need the partition to process video editing or other really large files, there's no need for big partitions. Smaller partitions also means quicker defragging (some partitions may not need defragging as frequently as others). You can store your other files and data on separate partitions instead of storing everything in My Documents.

Windows 98 is relatively small in size (in terms of today's hdd sizes). You've been surviving on 4.1GB for everything, so I would think 5GB, max 10GB is enough for your C partition (if you're installing a new copy of windows 98 on to the new disk).

Use fdisk to create a primary partition (your new C partition). Specify the size. Then create an Extended Partition using all the remaining disk space. Then within the Extended Partition, you can create as many logical drives as you like, subject to availability of drive letters. You don't need to use up all the disk space in one go. You can leave free space within the Extended Partition, and create further logical drives in future as you need.

Then format the C partition before installing Windows 98 on to it. Then load 98, and format the logical drives from within Windows 98 which is quicker.

  john-232317 07:21 17 Feb 2004

Thanks guys, kept for future ref ;-)

  Frank-P 00:18 19 Feb 2004

Thanks for the advice!

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