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1.6GB drive in old machine (486/SX/25) can't install OS

Posted on 1999-07-04
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Last Modified: 2008-02-07
It's an old AST machine 486 SX/25 with a WD 1.6GB harddrive in it.

Well, this machine all of a sudden stopped working, and I took it home, and have been fighting for a week with it now. I can't format the harddrive to more than 503MB which is some kind of DOS limitation, and if I install something on it, it won't restart after the first part of the win95/98 Installation.

What is wrong, how do I get the 1.6GB back and get the machine up and running?

Please please please help, it's probably something very simple, 'cause I've seen this problem before.

Thanks

Me
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Question by:prosit
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16 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:oldgreyguy
ID: 1158443
I would suggest you go to the hard drive manufacturers website and download their version of "partition mangler", its install will get you past the DOS drive limitations.

bill
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:rayt333
ID: 1158444
I'm not sure I understand this question.
Are you trying to put this 1.6 HD in this computer and the size limitation shows up?
Or has this HD been in this computer and now all of a sudden a disk limitation problem has shown up?
Your answer to these question will help us guide you to the correct solution.
0
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 1158445
You probably deleted some drive overlay software (if that harddisk was in that machine) or forgot to set LBA mode in the bios. You may need either a drive overlay driver from the manufacturer of your IDE hardware, or a generic large disk compatibility program. In either case you will need to have a first partition smaller than 528 mb, you will only be able to have 1.6gig in one chunk if your PC is LBA compatible. At a guess, if the sx25 is original equipment, then the PC is too old to have native LBA support.

regards,

Road Warrior
0
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:Otta
ID: 1158446
Delete all the partitions.
Reboot, and enter BIOS-setup mode.
Choose 'LBA' mode for the hard-drive,
and choose 'auto-detect IDE drives'.

Tell us the number of Cylinders/Heads/Sectors which were detected.
0
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 1158447
I done been to see AST and support for older AST machines is handled at.....
http://www.ari-service.com/

and if your system is a Bravo or a Premium all the 486 spec sheets for these models state that LBA mode is not supported on your system, so you need drive overlay software, or a partition mangler, or maybe a bios upgrade (have to order the chip no downloadable flash) would help but don't count on one being available. Oh and btw you'll have to change the date manually on Jan 1st 2000.

Road Warrior
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:gangajn
ID: 1158448
Use the EZ Drive setup utility from Western Digital that will be placed on a diskette. Restart the computer with the diskette and follow the instructions to install the hard drive. Then install your OS.
0
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:RoadWarrior
ID: 1158449
Western Digital's version of EZ drive is here ....
http://www.westerndigital.com/service/ftp/ezdrive/ezdrive9.exe
0
 
LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:knowme
ID: 1158450
funch,

Take the comments of gangajn and Roadwarrior as that is my comments too. I used Ez drive utility to reformat the hard disk of Western Digital. Download that program which Roadwarrior has given and unzipped that utility file.

Since you got AST 486/25SX, We used to have that PCs in our company, but its too old and slow to run the programs, but I can still remember the CMOS setup of that PC. There is an AUTO setup in DISK0 of your setup utility by pressing CTRL-ALT-ESC. Set the DISK0 to AUTO so that the Primary Hard Disk will recognized automatically. The downloaded driver of EZ (from western digital) will transfer the system files on it as long as you have your system disk with you. EZ driver utility will prompt you with two options if you want to format the hard disk with a 16 bit option or 32 bit option. If you have Windows 95 OSR32, then you can select the option, if not, choose 16 bit, anyway you have 1.6 GB and 16 bit utility is acceptable.

Try it and let us know.
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 1158451
Yes the harddrive was in the machine, and then it stopped working for some reason.  When I used the recover CD it wasn't able to install everything, but that's another problem I will get back to when I get to it.

J
0
 
LVL 17

Expert Comment

by:rayt333
ID: 1158452
Did you install a new program or something? I had something like this happen to me once when I ran an anti-virus program (it detected the disk overlay software) and it said there was a problem with the boot sector, I clicked repair and it changed it somehow so that it would not boot, what a mistake. Luckly there was a backup copy of the boot sector so I could recover it without reinstalling everything
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 1158453
I don't have the choice of LBA/LARGE/SMALL, it's an older machine!

I'm trying the WD software now!

J
0
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:My name is Mud
ID: 1158454
that's a crap, man, i think what happen is that for some reasson you did a clean in the MBR of HDD, so the manager get lost, i'll go with what "oldgreyguy" & "gangajn", but i'll bet on EZ best...

Where were all those days, when the good old 386 & 486 roam the world, people, some (& most of the 486) didn't have all that crap LBA... NEWBIES!!! (I think i win a hangover :P)
0
 
LVL 3

Accepted Solution

by:
Tatsnice earned 200 total points
ID: 1158455
I have to agree with roadwarrior,gangajin  .

I recently helped a guy with his drive.. He wiped out the drive.  or it quit.  

What happened was exactly the same.  he tried to install dos/windows95..  It was taking forever for dos to install.
Normally 20Min.  This went all day til I noticed what he was doing.  

When you have the overlay installed and your rebooting,
"pay attention to the line that says   Press the CTRL key
to pick boot sequence.  

If you dont use the CTRL key and you boot off a floppy and proceed to install dos, you will get a failure and corrupt
both your partition table and this Overlay program.

use the CTRL key, a menu will come up press a for floppy
C for hard drive. then insert the floppy disk and press enter.  dos will install flawlessly.

Anytime you want to boot from floppy you will have to use the CTRL key. Otherwise you will get an error message of some sort.
0
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:My name is Mud
ID: 1158456
Nope, I think i'm save by the bell...
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 1158457
Well Whatboy, crap or not, it worked, and I got the machine back up and running, with a little help.

It really wouldn't be fair to award tatsnice the points, since his suggestion is to use the others answers, but what the heck I'm happy and your answers helped me out!

Thanks guyz!

J
0
 
LVL 2

Author Comment

by:prosit
ID: 1158458
Sorry forgot to accept :-)
0

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