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Accessing HD bigger than BIOS supports

Posted on 2003-03-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-03
Let me give the full problem, in case I've diagnosed it incorrectly -- if I have I'll give points for pointing that out and more for a solution to the new problem.

I had a 13 GB drive on an Win98 machine (PIII-450; 704 MB).  The drive died, so I bought a new drive to replace it.  The new drive is a 120 GB drive and is installed.  When I boot up with the Win98 CD and run fdisk, it only sees the first 55 (approximately) GB.  My assumption is that the BIOS just won't detect more than that 55 GB.

If that's the correct issue, then do I have any options other than upgrading the BIOS?  I CANNOT move away from Win98 on the box, and I would like to have the full 120 GB partitionable into 4 logical drives.

Are there any other options?
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Question by:Itatsumaki
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13 Comments
 
LVL 10

Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8054505
you need to install the driver oberlay software.
its is normally available from the manufacturer's site.

it will load itself inthe boot area and provide access to ur drive capacity in a quite transparent manner.
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Author Comment

by:Itatsumaki
ID: 8054781
Thanks for the quick response!

Is this "driver overlay software" provided by the hard-drive manufacturer (Maxtor) or the BIOS manufacturer (Award), or the MB manufacturer (Asus)?

Also, do I install this before or after installing the OS?

Tats
0
 

Expert Comment

by:bill46360
ID: 8054929
I install an 80 gig and the software I needed came with my drive. I have heard that the software doesn't always work though and you may have to flash the BIOS (It's not too hard).
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 8055931
Some things to think about.  1. The motherboard may not support over a certain size.  2. Win98/98SE may not support over 64gb: (see following sites for details)
http://www.dewassoc.com/kbase/hard_drives/hard_drive_size_barriers.htm
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q263044

3. Drive overlay is kinda sucky.  if for whatever reason the overlay software gets corrupt, you will lose your data.  However you can SOMETIMES rebuild it, but not always.
4. You can always purchase an IDE Controller card with the new Bios to support larger drives.  Several brands of IDE controllers exist out there.  Two that come to mind: SIIG, and Promise.
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Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 8055937
Sorry i didnt mean to hit the submit button so soon.  Anyway I favor flashing the bios for a cheap resolution, or would suggest buying an IDE controller card for a hardware fix (other than flashing bios).
Last and least favorite would be to use the overlay software.  (i do not recomend using)

Another suggestion is purchasing a motherboard with larger HDD support.
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Expert Comment

by:weeboll
ID: 8058004
For maxtor drives, I've never had a problem using their supplied (downloaded) software called MAXBLAST which puts a small partition at the start of the harddrive with EZ Bios - a utility that allows the harddrive to be read in older motherboards.

Its quick and easy to install and has never let me down. Bios flashing of motherboards is an other option assuming the motherboard has a sufficiently upto date bios however is an altogether more risky experiance! unless you go with the fact that buying a new motherboard, cpu, ram etc would be no bad thing!

Regards

Ian
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Expert Comment

by:kiranghag
ID: 8058186
>>Is this "driver overlay software" provided by the hard-
>>drive manufacturer (Maxtor) or the BIOS manufacturer
>>(Award), or the MB manufacturer (Asus)?

yes, its provided by the hdd manufacturer.

most such software come along the utility that comes with the drive. u use that software to make partitions and format the drive. the overlay is installed in the process.

overlay installation has to be done before installing anything on the drive. once os is installed. u cannot remove it or install it...u can repair if it goes corrupt.

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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:SunBow
ID: 8058244
ditto Wakeup, you need a good fDisk program, and '98 ain't it. You may want to split it 60 ea for two partitions like OEMs do, to keep both under that limit the remains in some programs.
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Accepted Solution

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msa2003 earned 160 total points
ID: 8058318
You could try to use Maxtor's MaxBlast utility (http://www.maxtor.com ) available for Win 9X if you think that the problem is in your BIOS.

But I think different. If your FDISK could see 55 GB it means that your BIOS is OK. There is a problem with FDISK which uses 16-bit values, so it can handle at most 64-GB drive. If the drive is larger, the 16-bit value overloads and shows X-64 GB, where X is a capacity of your HDD and GB is 1048574 bytes (the HDD drives are often marked assuming that 1 GB is 1000000 bytes).

You could solve this problem in either two ways:
1. Use PartitionMagic instead of FDISK.
2. Download FDISK patch from http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q263044 .

Also large drive support depends on your ATA controller. Older models do not support 48-bit large block addressing, which allows you get drive size up to 137 GB.
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Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 8058573
Oh, and also along the lines of drive overly software...Realize this is software telling your hardware what to do.  So in essence it will cause your drive access to be a bit slower.  Not by much...but a little bit.  I work at a computer store, and I have seen many a computer system come in because the drive overlay software gets corrupt.  And hey some people get lucky and it will last...but others not so lucky.  And it gets toasted.  I always suggest to my customers to try a hardware solution before any software solution.  it may cost you some money.  20-50 dollars, but in the long run when your data gets corrupt?  My store charges 150 dollars an hour to FIX!  And is not a guaranteed fix.  

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LVL 1

Expert Comment

by:gigix18
ID: 8066844
No there is no other solution than an upgrade for BIOS.
Anyway....win9x/me/2k/xp can actually see the entire content of the drive but you can't run certain tasks on it that require BIOS information (like scandisk, partition magic(i'm not 100% sure about this one), fdisk or any other partitioning utility,and so on).I had the same problem. If you wish to use it like that(without the upgrade) try not to harm the contents of it in any way(like turning it off ehile working)
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Wakeup
ID: 8067201
gigix18,

What do you mean by there is no other solution than an upgrade for bios?  

The software overlay will work as well as installing a controller card that has the bios on the card?  So what do you mean?  Can you clarify?  
I have used scandisk on a drive with overlay on it....as well ask fdisk.  I havent tried partition magic, but the other two yes.  And on a computer with an IDE controller with the built in bios, does work.  You can do everything normally as if your Motherboard has that capabilitiy to begin with...  So I am confused by your statement.
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Author Comment

by:Itatsumaki
ID: 8067540
Thanks for comments all.  It was indeed the win98 fdisk, rather than the BIOS.  Help much appreciated.  Wakeup and msa2003 pointed that out -- points for Wakeup in a separate post.

Tats
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