Windows 98 detects a new hard drive, but won't boot
November 28, 2004 4:15 PM   Subscribe

Installing new Hard Drive. Trying to install a second, new 80GB hard drive under Windows 98. Will detect the drive, but won't boot... [mi]

The computer itself is fairly vintage. It's a P3 550, Windows 98, MS-6163 Pro motherboard with Award bios. The existing HD is 10GB, and I'm trying to install a new 80GB HD. Jumpers are correct. Trying to detect the new drive freezes bios. The boot sequence will detect the new drive, but won't boot from it. We formatted the new drive twice, but that didn't help.
We tried flashing the bios, it gave a 'source file not found' or something like that error.

We're out of ideas and don't really understand why it's not working, other than a vague sense that the motherboard and this new drive don't seem to like each other. Any ideas?
posted by sinical to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
Check the boot order in the BIOS.
posted by adampsyche at 4:17 PM on November 28, 2004

Response by poster: yes, we've tried that
posted by sinical at 4:21 PM on November 28, 2004

I believe this is due to an operating system conflict, due to the following:

1. Windows 98 does not natively support the NTFS format, so it's almost guaranteed you're using either FAT16 or FAT32 to format the new drive.

2. The maximum volume size of a FAT32 drive is 32GB. The maximum size of a FAT16 drive is 4GB.

If you've formatted (via some external means) the 80GB drive as NTFS, Windows 98 will be unable to read it. If you've formatted the volume as FAT32, it's incorrectly formatted and will cause problems (not recognized, free space not showing up, etc.) with the OS.

I would think that, if you partition the drive into 32GB/32GB/16GB chunks and format each as FAT32, the drive should be recognizable by Win98, albeit divided. I may be wrong in that regard.
posted by Danelope at 4:43 PM on November 28, 2004

The drive is too large. Your BIOS is limited to 32 GB drives, past that it will crash. This isn't unusual for older machines.

Choices (choose one) in order of simplitcity to most difficulty:

#1 - Set the 32 GB clipping jumper on your drive (if it has one) and use it as a 32 GB drive.

#2 - Set the BIOS for the BIOS to not detect the hard drive. Use an OS that will detect the drive despite this (Windows XP might...). Format and enjoy.

#3 - Set the drive to an acceptable size manually in your BIOS. Install an overlay manager. Oftentimes the manufacturer of your hard drive will offer one for free.

Two other things you should note: With windows 98 you will need to FDISK with the updated FDISK software since your drive is larger than 64 GB. I unpacked the one on MS's site and it's available here. Also, yes, you will need to probably format with smaller than 32 GB partitions. Try it with a single 80 GB partition first and you might get away with it if you're lucky. :-) If you want to trust your data, though, stick with 32 GB partitions.
posted by slashdot at 5:35 PM on November 28, 2004

Should we presume you've set master/slace on both drives, and have the master drive at the end of the cable?
posted by scarabic at 7:30 PM on November 28, 2004

posted by scarabic at 7:30 PM on November 28, 2004

Response by poster: Should we presume you've set master/slace on both drives, and have the master drive at the end of the cable?

Yes you should.

The suggestions so far seem logical, thanks. It's going to take me a day or a few to get around to trying them though.
posted by sinical at 8:09 PM on November 28, 2004

Originally I was going to say everything is fine and dandy, but then I realized that your system has the 440BX chipset.

You will not be able to use this drive with the native controller. It simply does not know how to address any of the data above 64GB. You can set the clip jumper, like slashdot mentions, but that kills about 45GB of space- No good.

This isn't just a BIOS problem- it's that the IDE controller, what actually talks to the drives on the systemboard, simply doesn't support it. The BIOS will POST and show you the drive because it's doing a basic query, but after that it should be hang time. If you think this sucks, remember that hard disks in 1998 never reached more than 20GB. Intel just thought the hardware would be outdated by the time a drive that big would be on the market.

If you want to keep the drive, which I recommend you do, then you can purchase a PCI IDE Controller card. These cards are available cheap (try and will allow you to boot the drive without any further issues. The system will just boot the card's BIOS, and it will handle the rest.

Promise and SIIG make decent cards.

Overlay managers are poo. They add a potent variable into the mix with your system- the way data is stored is specific to that overlay, and makes data retrieval in critical emergencies a next to impossible task.
posted by id at 8:26 PM on November 28, 2004

Oh damn. Further investigation causes me to eat some of my words.

Early revisions of the chipset exhibited this hard lock behavior with large drives and it wasn't fixable with the BIOS- this is the problem I'm familiar with. (I work for a tier one computer corporation in their x86 support team- I'm the guy who fixes problems the first few layers of support can't fix). Later revisions had the bug fixed.

So, if you have a later rev of the chipset, which this board may, then you could be in luck- up to a 137GB HDD worth of luck, maximum.

You WILL have to update the BIOS, however, in order to get this to work.

The fact that you are running into this means that the BIOS is currently using 35 bit LBA- a crude hack, which was actually a part of a series of hacks. In the late 90's, after it was realized that the 8GB limit would be smacked, everyone kept adding 1 extra bit of LBA address space to keep up. This made for some very messy data recovery situations. Finally, everyone pulled their heads out of their asses and went from 36 bit LBA to 48 bit LBA in 2000-01.

Overlays are still poo.
posted by id at 8:42 PM on November 28, 2004

and just for the record, some HDDs will not accept being a slave to other HDDs. check on this - if you swap master/slave it may make a difference. some western digital drives for example refuse to be slave to a drive of a different brand. newer drives shouldn't do this, but if the original drive is old enough it may be causing a problem. try setting on different IDE controllers if need be.

this is just a guess, i'd imagine given the age of the mobo and the above more detailed expert info the drive size rather than manufacturer is your major issue.

if you have access to a PCI IDE controller you can borrow, try that before buying - i had a similar situation (system wouldn't recognize anything on primary IDE) that couldn't be solved with a new controller; by borrowing a controller i was able to solve the issue without buying a $40 card that wouldn't help me anyway. (turned out to be badly-seated mobo riser in a modular tooless case.)
posted by caution live frogs at 6:29 AM on November 29, 2004

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