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I/O Card Works on Old System - New Fails

jnowlin asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-27

I just upgraded my hardware to a Pentium II processor with
new and more RAM(SDRAM) amongst a few other things.

I have 2 EIDE hard drives. In my old system(the one I am using to write this letter) I have a DTC VESA I/O board(card). This is a rather complex situation as I have the ability to select from WIN31, Windows95 and also from Windows NT Workstation 4.0 I partitioned both drives so that I had drives C: through O:, where O: is the CD-ROM drive.

When I put my 2 hard drives into my new PC case, none of this was recognized. I ran scandisk, FDISK and PartitionMagic to name but a few. FDISK reported correctly
the partitions on the second, non-bootable hard drive, but not on the boot drive(while on the phone to a less than helpful Tech support person).

When I put the 2 drives back into my old PC, along with monitor and everything else, everything worked except for
NT. Windows 3.11 worked and I write this in Netscape from within Windows95.

I'm thinking that my worst-case scenario is to gather all of
the software together(taking the better part of a day) and reformat and repartition everything. That would be a drag.


Does this appear to be a case where I need to get a PCI-based I/O card to get both HDs to work as well as they
did in the old PC?

I am very perplexed.   :(

Jim Nowlin
Watch Question

WHEW! You don't like to have a simple sustem, do you? Why on earth would you want o run Win3 anyway? Seems as if you'd have enough errors and system crashes without it.
And then pile Win95 and WinNT on top.     :-(
Anyway, with all of that in your system the reasons for your problems could be endless.
I don't know how Win3 will handle PCI but I'll bet it'll be worse than 95 or NT.
I have no answers for you, but I'm going to keep tabs on this question to see what happens. Good luck!  (Why all of those operating systems, anyway?)

You didn't happen to use the disk utility that came with the IO card to partition your hard drives did you?


No, I didn't partition the drives with the I/O software because it didn't come with anything
like that.

I used FDISK to partition the 2 drives, initially, and then I remember going back to adjust
the partitions using PowerQuest's PartitionMagic, since I also have a partition that I use a floppy to boot to in order to launch Calder's OpenLinux LINUX!

I never ran any disk utility which may have come with the hard drives, such as OnTrack, etc.

I got all of these to launch through System Commander 3.01, except for Linux. What a
great program this is.

"(Why all of those operating systems, anyway?)"

Well, I'm trying to learn many things at the same time. I have a couple of friends who still
run WIN31 and having the ability to run WIN31 myself helps me to help them. I know WIN31 the best of all Microsoft's Windows products at present I *still* need DOS 6.22 to try and learn the basics of C++ using Turbo C++ 3.0. I have Borland's C++ ver. 4.52 and 5.0 and their respective compliers, but I'm having a tough time learning C++ using them. I *shall* 'migrate' to them eventually. That's one more reason why I need Windows95 and Windows NT. Also, based upon what I've read, I need Windows95/98 to play the very latest and greatest games, since I'm informed NT is not a game-playing environment.


NT worked great on my AMD 486 equivalent compared to that of Windows95.

More? Having all of these OSs to choose from allows me to take some of my cluncky
basic, bare-bones C++ source code files and see how they compile on each one of the
OSs(if atall, if not, I want to learn why...).

Why make things simple when life is not?  :)

Anyway, it looks as though I may need to take an older HD with DOS 6.22/Windows 3.11
and update and keep it separate for now and focus on re-formatting/re-partitioning
the other 2 drives to run Windows95/Windows NT 4.0/LInux.

I'm increasing the points here because I think I've worked hard to get to this level of
complication and I *really* would like to hear from the experts on this one.

I *hope* I haven't stumped the experts just yet.  :(

Jim Nowlin 09/19/98

Ever thought of leaving win 3.1 and linux on the 486 box?

Look at DOS6.2/CDROM questions if you wish....
I use(will use) multiply OS too as you can see there...
You say:
>Does this appear to be a case where I need to get a PCI-based I/O card to get both HDs >to work as well as they did in the old PC?
So, the answer is NOT. (btw, before a long time - when I have a Cyrix 5x86/120 I used DTC EIDE/IO too...)
 If your HDDs are correct detected by BIOS there is no reason to get a PCI IDE controller...
 If they are correctly detected your problem is software-only...
 Format/partition them freshly... Make with PartitionMagic all neaded partitions, install the OSes:

 Copy all data which is important (passwords, sources, etc.) on floppies :)
 Make system floppy with DOS 7.10 (from W95 OSR2/ W98) to support FAT32
 Copy the partitionmagic files to floppy (there is a text-only exe that will sure fit - 800K)
 Reboot from the DOS7.10 floppy
 Run partition magic at make/format all partitions (for Linux leave unformatted partition - free space - linux(I know for RedHat, but calder will sure do this too) will make all needed for himself :))
 Reboot and install PC DOS 7, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 4.10 (98), Windows NT 4, Linux, OS/2, ...


Hi ewilson -

Your idea of leaving WIN31 and Linux on the old box is sounding much more plausible
now. It would sure make life much easier. I wouldn't need to move WIN31 stuff around.

My main concern in all this is to make sure that this new Pentium II and the stuff I bought
with it is working properly.

second - DOS 6.22/CD-ROM ??

Also, both of these drives were detected individually. FDISK reported *correctly* the number of partitions on the smaller, non-bootable Seagate 1.2. The boot drive,
the Western Digital 4.1, booted but FDISK did *not* correctly report all of the partitions.

I still don't fully understand. When I connected them together, this BIOS should have
allowed for detection of all of the partitions, providing they are not corrupt? PartitionMagic
reported that all of the partitions in this WD drive were incorrectly starting/ending on the wrong boundaries.

So, this a re-partitioning/reformatting ( sigh  ) issue only?
Also, you suggest PC DOS 7.0?

Jim Nowlin




Hi everybody -

I'm rejecting this answer because, although it is what I ultimately want to do, I can't do it because this damn
4.1 GB Western Digital just will NOT boot, no matter how
I partition it. I tried tonight to delete all partitions
with FDISK and then make ONE bootable partition. But, when I
went to format it, it displayed to me that it was formatting
2097 MB, NOT 4100 MB. I remember, though not well enough obviously, that DOS has a 2 GB limitation, a WALL if you will.

Now I must figure out how to get Windows95 and Windows NT 4.0
on this drive. I own my own copy of FULL NT 4.0 Workstation, but
I have a borrowed copy of an *upgrade* to Windows95. In order to
install this upgrade, I *must* have a working older version of
MS Windows, i.e. Windows 3.11. I also would like to have a chunck
of this HD for Linux. I also thought it would be good, if I could
do it, to install NT 4.0 a second time in order to set it up
with the NTFS (where the first install would be FAT16 or FAT32).

I understand that Windows95 does a much more efficient job of
storing data with regard to cluster sizes.

I write this using an older Seagate 500 MB HD which has Windows
3.11/DOS 6.20 on it along with a good chunck of stuff backed up from the WD 4.1GB. I am not dead in the water just yet!

Jim Nowlin

Just curious, you Pentium II motherboard should already have "on-board I/O".  Is this disabled in the CMOS when you install the old card??  You also mentioned that this card is VESA.  I have never seen/heard of Pentium II motherboards having VESA slots, the PCI slot is what they were replaced by.  Hopefully you are not getting this confused with something like a "propietary expansion slot".

What happens when you run the drives off the on-board controller??

It may be an obvious thing to suggest, but you have tried to manually specify the PIO mode of the old hard disks within the bios when running them on the new machine (rather than using "auto"). It is often the case that a faster machine will try to drive the disks to hard.  

DOS 6.2/CDROM is another similar question at general hardware area at expert-exchange....sorry it is not connected with our subject here...............
Info about the WALL for 2GB DOS can be found A LOT at question FAT/IDE/BIOS barrier 1&2.......but short: FAT32/MSDOS7.10 support 2GB+ (up to 2TB) partititions. So if you want to make with fdisk ONE partition 4GB you MUST use MSDOS7.10 (included (illegaly:) with 95OSR2 and 98)
Are your HDDs correctly detected by BIOS?
If yes I will explain the partitioning and installing OSes in step-by-step.....
If not - inform what happen


Hi arunm -

"specify the PIO mode of the old hard disks within the bios when running them on the new machine" ??? What is the PIO mode?

Hi ryan -

"Just curious, you Pentium II motherboard should already have "on-board I/O".  Is this disabled in the CMOS when you install the old card??"

>on-board I/O? I thought so. Where do I check?

"You also mentioned that this card is VESA.  I have never seen/heard of Pentium II motherboards having VESA
slots, the PCI slot is what they were replaced by. Hopefully you are not getting this confused with something like a "propietary expansion slot".
> The old PC had VESA, not the new one, 3 ISA, 4 PCI and 1 AGP.

"What happens when you run the drives off the on-board controller??"
> (Old PC)When I ran both the 4.1 GB(pri master) and the 1.2 GB(slave) this I/O card took care of all of what are now newfound problems *for* me. I had drives C: through O:(CD-ROM drive).

  (New PC) I ran each of these above-mentioned drives individually off of what I guess is the "on-board I/O" to test
them to insure that I didn't damage them during the move(15 feet
away). The 4.1 GB, which heading into this had 6 partitions/drives, was detected but with only drive C:.
The 1.2 GB was detected and all of its partitions/drives
were "accounted for".
When I put these back into the old machine, all drives were detected, C: through O:. Clearly to me, the I/O controller
card, being the only major "player" here that was left out of the move, is an issue.

Hi second -

I'm sorry I rejected your answer as I didn't fully understand
your answer. I have a friend who has Windows98 installed on his notebook.

I need to make a system floppy? I'm not yet familiar with WIN98.
Is there a special menu item for this? Also, does this DOS 7.10
allow for any kind of partition, even(laughter) DOS?


"Reboot and install PC DOS 7, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, Windows 4.10 (98), Windows NT 4, Linux, OS/2, ... "

Is the PC DOS 7.0 the same as what you refer to as DOS 7.10 or
is it something different?

Jim Nowlin

To disable the onboard i/o, look in the CMOS under "Chipset features".

Rather than me waffling about programmed I/O, have a read of this:-

If you don't know what PIO modes are, I think you may find it enlightening.
If you were not aware of the significance of the mode you are using, this may well be the problem.

I think your problem is not in on-board I/O and you do not need a I/O card.
1)All 686 mainboards (K6-2, Pentium II, Pentium Pro, 6x86MX, ...............) have onboard  I/O and you don't have to worry about it. Don't disable it.
2)You can not use VLB (VESA LOCAL BUS) cards on your board - you simply don't have such slot.
3) Are your HDDs corectly founded by BIOS? (if YES then any changes to PIO/DMA modes are unnessesary - then your promblem is not in the controller, but in partitions/operating-systems..... if NO then the reasons can me many and you must give some more info about BIOS/Setup messages at bootup................but I think that the HDDs are CORECTLY detected, so.................)

PC DOS 7.00 is different from MS-DOS 7.10 (I call it DOS 7.10 becouse it is the only DOS with this version - DOS 7 are PC DOS 7.00, MS-DOS 7.00, DR-DOS 7.0x)
I have mentioned PC DOS 7 becouse you say that you want to install Windows 3.11 - it require DOS and PC DOS 7 is the best non-Win9x-compatible DOS :) - ignore my comment.......it is not important :)
Yes, you must make a system floppy. To make such do this:
insert a empty 1.44(or higher) diskette into drive A:
run MS-DOS Prompt
at the C:\> write(without the numbers :) :  
 1) sys a:
 2) copy c:\windows\command\format.* a:
 3) copy c:\windows\command\fdisk.* a:
 4) copy c:\windows\command\scandisk.* a:
 5) copy c:\windows\command\chkdsk.* a:
 6) copy c:\partmag\pqmagict.exe a:
 7) and so on ..... copy all files, mouse drivers, cd-rom drivers and other stuff, that you think that will be usefull for emergecy-recovery and in our case reformating/repartitioning
(C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND is the sub-directory COMMAND of your Windows-directory, on your PC it can be different - eg. C:\WIN98\COMMAND ....)
(C:\PARTMAG is the directory where you have installed Partition Magic 3)
Make the system disk on a PC with Win98 or Win95 OSR2 (Win95B or build 4.00.1111 or  later) so that the diskette will be system with DOS 7.10 (FAT32 support - partitions can be made bigger than 2GB)
When you reboot from this "system" floppy you can use the DOS's fdisk (copied on the floppy - step 3) or (better) use Partition Magic - pqmagict (copied on the floppy - step 6)
Then with the DOS or PowerQuest utility you can partition your HDD.
Just say if you need more details.


Hi second -

I tried that with a boot disk from WIN98. When I ran FDISK,
it told me that I had a drive larger than 2 GB. It also asked me
if I would like to enable FAT32. It told me that if I did,
that anything I have, files OSs, etc., that are FAT16 would
not be recognized. I could select yes and make the entire
drive one partition of FAT32, but it told me that WIN95 or
NT may not run.

Also, I'm remembering why I could not boot this drive after
FDISK and FORMAT: I didn't install DOS( I forgot, I'm old.)

So, if I decide to do the FAT32 through this WIN98 boot disk,
and it is determined that I CAN have DOS, WIN31(I can't see how
at present) Windows95(it's an upgrade, so I MUST have DOS/WIN311
there on the drive to get it to install) AND Windows NT,
what do I do which is analogous to putting DOS on there??

Can I use Windows NT 4.0 to install itself and then try to put
Windows95 in there also(for games, it's my understanding that
Windows95/98 runs games, NOT NT)?



Hi second -

It seems only fair to me that I should get these points to you
and the only way to do that is to get others angry at me
by rejecting it.


I dont agree with Second when he says "Are your HDDs corectly founded by BIOS? (if YES then any changes to PIO/DMA modes are unnessesary". I dont believe this to be true. I have experinced situations were after a successful dectection, I have had to muanually reduce the PIO mode to access the disks.

arnum, I don't say that you are wrong, but in the case of jnowlin the problem is not there - he CAN access the drive.
As I understand you want Windows98, WindowsNT4, Windows3.11 all-three running on one system - that is not impossible think, it is easy :)
You also have DOS 6.xx instalable, Win3.11 instalable, WinNT installable, Win98 upgrade - right?
if so, do this:
1) make the system disk I have told before (important is PQMAGICT.EXE)
2) backup all usefull/needed data from the HDD (eg.: documents, passwords, the photo of the girlfriend, etc... :)
3) reboot from the floppy
4) run fdisk or pqmagict
5) make one FAT16 partition (it will be for Win98, Win3.11) (2GB or less) and format it
6) install DOS 6.x to directory C:\DOS (or else, but not C:\WIN311 or C:\WINDOWS)
7) install Win3.11 to directory C:\WIN311 (or something else, but NOT C:\WINDOWS)
8) install Win98upgrade to directory C:\WINDOWS (or anything else, but not C:\DOS and C:\WIN311)
9) do you know how to switch between Win3.11 and Win4.10 (98) and DOS when both are installed onto one partition? If not I can explain
if you want to use the data from C:\ (where are the Windows3.11 and 98) while running NT4, C:\ must be FAT16. If you don't need the files on C:\ while running NT4 it (C:) can be FAT32 and more than 2GB. So if you want to make C:\ >2G and/or FAT32 use PartitionMagic (not fdisk) to convert/expand it.
10) Run partition magic and make second PRIMARY partition(don't use fdisk - it does not allow two PRIMARY partitions in one drive, Partmag allow it) with the rest of space (2GB - 2+2=4GB :) was your HDD 4G? )
11) Install WinNT4 on the second partition
To switch between the two partitions(DOS on the first, NT on the second) you have a couple of ways:
 A] Use System Commander 4.0 deluxe (you have to buy it or to pirate it :) - it will make a select-menu where at startup you can choose
 B] Use BIOS's option "Boot From:" with values: C,CDROM,A for DOS-boot (DOS boot include Win98,Win3.11 - they are activated after DOS......what is the real OS? DOS or 98? :)))) and D,CDROM,A for NT-boot
 C] Manualy select/change Active-Partition with using of PartitionMagic,fdisk or other utility
 I have ordered the options by easier to use. By easier to make are se: B,C,A

Ask for more info.
Win NT 4 is not for games - that is right, it is not compatible with all games (designet for Windows, DOS, DirectX4, 5, 6). And it(NT) is not compatible with ALL Windows-programs (designet for 3.00, 3.10, 3.11, 4.00 (95), 4.10 (98)) And it is not compatible with all DOS-programs. Beside this things and some minor-interface-things NT is BETTER than DOS/Win(3 or 4(95,98)). I hope MS will fix the uncompatibly in NT5 and name it simple-just Windows 5.00 and make it the upgrade for NT AND W9x both........but I think this will not happen :(( Maybe we will see Windows 6.00? .......


Thanks second -

I'll give this a try during this weekend.

Can I offer points to everyone here for everybody's time?



I reject this answer because I solved my problem and it(the answer proposed by arunm)
was not involved in any way with the solution.

Dont leave as hanging? What was wrong?



I, running out of options, decided to try the EZ somethingorother version 8.01w
software which came with the Western Digital hard drive. I had heretofore never
used it. So, I fired it up after booting from a bootable DOS floppy and told the program to do an "automatic everything".

When it told me to re-boot the system, I did so. Suddenly, to my shock, the 4.1 Gb
Western DIgital drive - FINALLY BOOTED!!!

I then launched FDISK and FDISK reported to me that I had 4100 Mb of disk. But,
and I've never heard of this, FDISK was reporting it to be of type FAT12.  

FAT12 ???????????

I then used FDISK to "blow away the partition.

I then used my original DOS 6.22 installation diskettes and FINALLY, FINALLY
saw what I hadn't seen up to this time. THE message:

"MS-DOS has found an unformatted disk. Would you like to format this disk?"

And, I said yes. DOS 6.22 formatted 2 2GB drives aned I then went merrily on my
way to run PartitionMagic 3.0 and made more partitions.

Then, I learned that I was placing the jumper for the second(primary slave) Seagate 1.2 Gb drive in the wrong place. I put it in correctly and all of the drives
I had(with all of their data) was available to me.

I can only attempt to conclude that the previous system using the DTC I/O card
must have altered some type of on-board BIOS on the Western Digital drive and the program that came with this drive was able to re-set it.

It's just a guess.

This sure sounds like there was a translation problem with the BIOS and the drive. When you use EZ DRIVE, it takes over the translation end of it. As far as the points, someone should get some points for all the work that was involved. Second gave a lot of useful information; he should get something for his trouble.

I will Second that. (Terrible, I know)


Well, danpaul,  arunm, and ESPECIALLY second,
you should all get points but I need to get the points back first, as EE has them in LimboLand as of now. Once I have the points, I can then re-post the question as:
"I/O: New System - New Points

or something to that effect.

Any other suggestions?

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