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SDHC & micro-SDHC card readers for Windows 98


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SDHC & micro-SDHC card readers are essential add-ons for Win98

SDHC cards are removable media, comparable to Jaz, zip and plain floppy disks, in sizes currently from 1-32GB. Now is the last moment to buy card readers which have manufacturer-provided Win98 drivers, eventually they will be gone. I don't expect large capacity USB-sticks with manufacturer-provided Win98 drivers to be available in 1-2 years, but SDHC cards for your Win98-compatible card reader will be around for many more years. The media wears out, maybe after writing 10.000 times the capacity of the card/stick.

How to buy an SDHC card reader for Win98

1) The box of the card reader MUST have the logo "SD HC ready", otherwise the reader will probably not work with cards >2GB. SDHC is a different format, it is not SD 1.0 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital_card The websites usually do not indicate whether a card reader is SDHC ready or not, you have to look at the box in the store.

2) The box should also list Win98SE as system requirement, but this is not reliable: the manufacturer-provided drivers of most SDHC card readers described as for Win98 wouldn't work. It is amazing how many models come in boxes with "Windows 98" printed as system requirement, but then the provided driver doesn't work. When manufacturers started to switch over some time ago to SDHC-compatible chips, they may have put the new chips into the same old enclosures and boxes, which still said "Windows 98". The hama 55310 for example has V1, V2 and V3, each with a different chip inside.

3) An included mini-CD, with the Win98 driver on it, is the best indication that the card reader works under Win98. But careful: one card reader came with a mini-CD, but had only software on it, not a Win98 driver

4) Multi-card or single-card reader? A multi-card reader has several slots and uses up several drive letters (in most cases 4), so you may only want to own one. Single-card readers, on the other hand, use only one drive letter and usually have only one slot. You may want to own several single-card readers, but all different models/makes (exactly: different VID/PID), so that you can use them at the same time, as additional storage media. 32 GB SDHC cards, for example, are still substantially more expensive than 2x16GB SDHC cards, so using 2 single-card readers may save you money. The MSI card reader is a hybrid, it has several slots for different types of cards, but it uses up only a single drive letter, the best solution because drive letters get scarce if you use many partitions and USB mass storage devices.

List of Top Card Readers (SDHC compatible, working manufacturer-provided drivers for Win98SE)

1) MSI StarReader mini II (single-card reader) VID=04CF PID=9920 (Myson Century)

http://global.msi.com.tw/index.php?func=pr...mp;prod_no=1161 , which comes with a very handy USB extension cable and can also accept SIM cards of your mobile phone. It also includes SIM card editing software (under WinXP). It is a single card reader, with 5 slots for different card types. It's sturdy, the big metal ring around it can be removed easily. The MSI Win98 driver on the mini-CD also includes an Adaptec ASPI Installer. Currently my TOP CHOICE as a single-card reader.

2) hama Easy Line 55745 (multi-card reader with built-in USB hub) VID=05E3 PID=070E (Genesys)

Not listed at the hama website.

The Genesys driver of the card reader adds 4 drive letters to My Computer, each one nicely identifyable by specially marked 2-state-icons (card inserted/no card) CF, SM, SD and MS. You easily get around a multiple-drive-letter bug, which occurs only when you use other Genesys-driven USB devices, by plugging them into the built-in hub (the cause of the bug is unclear, it may be a MS Windows bug or a bug of the Genesys driver). Very sturdy construction. The Genesys driver has its own safely-remove-utility in the system tray. The hama 55745 complements the MSI card reader very nicely (SmartMedia, CompactFlash).

3) Wintech CardReader SR-06 (single-card reader)

2 identical-looking models but with different chips inside, VID=05E3 PID=0717 and VID=05E3 PID=0723 (both Genesys)


The Win98 driver from their website didn't work, use the Genesys driver from the Toolbox, with manually updated VID/PID

Pro: sturdy construction; 2-state-icons of Genesys driver. Cons: It does not have a protective enclosure of the inserted SDHC card; the SDHC card is inserted at the side of the reader, instead of at the back and may block the USB connector next to it; you have to manually add 2 lines to the .inf driver file.

Toolbox for SDHC cards

1) Panasonic SD Formatter v2.0.0.3 (for WinXP, does not work under Win98SE)

To restore an elsewhere formatted card to a fast, near-original factory condition, especially after having used other partitioning and formatting software. Can be downloaded from http://panasonic.jp/support/audio/sd/downl...tp/sdfv2003.exe The Panasonic Formatter creates a single partition on SD/SDHC cards and formats it, only very few choices possible.

2) Manufacturer-provided Win98 drivers (alphabetically by chip manufacturer):

Alcor http://www.emtec-international.com/drivers.../k101_win98.zip

Genesys http://www.hama.de/webresources/drivers/00...350_win98me.exe

Myson Century http://download1.msi.com.tw/files/download...mini2_Win98.zip

Realtek Semiconductor http://www.cnsupport.de/files/de/treiber/w...ader/popart.zip

US Best no download location found yet (I wasn't looking), driver is on the mini-CD which came with the multi-card reader hama 55350 with the SN 32822630800 on the box

3) ChipGenius v2.64 (for WinXP, does not work under Win98)

Displays info about USB devices including SD/SDHC card readers, incl. Vendor ID, Product ID, USB serial number. The displayed Vendor ID and Product ID may be used to manually update .INF files of manufacturer-provided drivers. For some card readers it identifies the chip used. Does not tell whether a card reader works with SDHC or just with SD cards. Very handy for documenting your card readers: in contrast to ListUsbDrives v1.7.8, the displayed info can be transferred into your notes with copy & paste. No installation, just double-click on the .exe Download location: http://www.mydigit.cn/mytool/chipgenius.rar

4) Reggel's List of card readers http://www.hjreggel.net/cardspeed/info-readers.html

For information about chips inside card readers, more reliable than ChipGenius, but use ChipGenius to get the VID/PID. Careful, card readers with the same model number may come with different chips, but then they should also have a different VID/PID.

Also useful for finding additional card readers which use the same Win98 driver, but have a different VID/PID (so that you can use them at the same time)

5) USB extension cord

A USB extension cord (not a USB connection cable) allows you to have your SDHC card reader in your hands while inserting or removing the tiny but expensive SDHC or micro-SDHC cards. If your SDHC card reader is directly connected to your PC, not via an extension cord, you may have to creep under your desk to insert or remove SDHC cards. Also, the USB connector of your motherboard might get worn out when the card reader gets moved upwards, downwards or sideways while you insert or remove SDHC cards. Then there is the risk of electrostatic damage while fiddling around at a USB port of your precious/irreplaceable Win98 compatible motherboard; the USB port is one of the components of the motherboard which is most susceptible to damage.

6) HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool v2.18 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)

To make an SD/SDHC card bootable. By selecting in this "HP Format Tool" the boot file on a floppy, one can possibly create an SD/SDHC card which boots into the XYZ operating system. I can create only a single partition on SD/SDHC cards and probably does not adhere to the SD Memory Card Specification since it was made for HP flash sticks, so your SDHC card will become much slower. Can be downloaded from http://www.bay-wolf.com/utility/usbkey/usbmemkeyboot.zip

7) Paragon Partition Manager 9.0 RecoveryCD v8.08 (CD with its own Linux operating system)

Creates the fastest multi-partition SDHC cards in town, if you leave the boot record by Panasonic Formatter in its own partition.

8) Hitachi Filter Driver v3.20 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)

To access, under WinXP, multiple partitions created under Win98 on an SDHC card. On removable media WinXP can access only the first partition, it cannot access data on other partitions. By setting a specific SDHC card reader as "fixed" under WinXP, the Hitachi Filter Driver allows you to access data on other partitions. Can be downloaded from http://www.uwe-sieber.de/files/xpfildrvr1224_320.zip Good instructions on how to modify the WinXP registry for the Hitachi Filter Driver are on http://www.uwe-sieber.de/usbtrouble_e.html#partitioning Once you have entered these lines into the WinXP registry, the so-identified SDHC card reader will always be seen under WinXP as a fixed drive.

9) Hard Disk Drive Low Level Format Tool v2.36 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)

For your privacy. Can be used for low-level formatting of SDHC and flash cards. Wipes SDHC cards including partitions and MBR. After wiping an SDHC card with it, a msg pops up: "Low-level format is done. You will have to create partitions and format this drive." Use the Panasonic SDFormatter, not WinXP for formatting/partitioning. Freeware, can be downloaded from http://hddguru.com/content/en/software/200...el-Format-Tool/

10) Special multi-partition card reader for WinXP

In my own toolbox I have a separate card reader on which I pasted a label "multi-partition card reader WinXP". I have entered the details of this card reader into the WinXP registry (see Hitachi Filter Driver). With this card reader I can access under WinXP the data on all partitions of an SDHC card. This special multi-partition card reader "unhides" under XP data which is visible/accessible under Win98.

11) Disk flusher Sync v2.2 by Mark Russinovich of SysInternals (Win98 and WinXP)

Is a near-substitute of a Safely-Remove-Hardware utility in the System Tray, for removable devices which do not have their own(e.g.the emtec SDHC card readers). Also to make sure that modified data on an SDHC card is safely stored, e.g. in case of frequently hung systems or frequent power failures. Can be downloaded from http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb897438.aspx

ListUsbDrives v1.7.8 (for WinXP, does not work under Win98)

Displays info about an USB SD/SDHC card reader, incl. Vendor ID, Product ID, USB serial number.

Indicates the string to be placed into the registry for making an SDHC card appear fixed under WinXP with the Hitachi Filter Driver v3.20 Download location: http://www.uwe-sieber.de/files/listusbdrives.zip

Items removed from the front page can be found here: http://www.msfn.org/board/index.php?showto...st&p=806633

No unique USB serial number

One cannot use 2 USB card readers of the same make and model at the same time since they have the same USB serial number. I could not find a card reader model where each individual reader sold had a different unique USB serial number.

Several SDHC card readers in a USB hub

I wanted to use several card readers at the same time, plugged into a 7-port-USB hub - but this would work only if they were all different models with different USB serial numbers. So this is another reason to buy several Win98-compatible card readers of different makes: to be able to use several card readers at the same time.

When SDHC cards have become cheap and faster, I could imagine using 7 USB card readers connected via a USB hub to Win98, giving a max. of 7*32GB=224GB hi-speed. Because of the requirement to have different Vendor ID/Device ID/USB serial number for simultaneous use, it is essential to get feedback for the list of card readers above with working Win98 drivers.

SDHC card readers and eMule

Software which requires huge directories could use such a group of card readers. eMule, for example, already allows multiple directories/disk drives for its Temporary files. eMule has worked fine with a 2nd \Temp\ directory on a 4GB SDHC card (class 4), connected to an old USB 1.1 port.

Edited by Multibooter
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Creating bootable SDHC cards

Under Win98 you canNOT readily create a bootable SD card. When right-clicking on the SD drive - Format - Full - select Copying System files: the format will complete ok but the system files will NOT be copied, when formatting is complete, the selection "Copy system files" in the Format window will be greyed out.

The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool can, hower, create a bootable SDHC card under WinXP, extracting DOS boot files from an inserted floppy disk. UltraISO v9.2.0.2536 cannot extract the created boot sector of the SD card, Read error.

The HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool can be downloaded from http://www.bay-wolf.com/utility/usbkey/usbmemkeyboot.zip The referring page http://www.bay-wolf.com/usbmemstick.htm is interesting.

Edited by Multibooter
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Benchmarking file systems: FAT vs FAT32 vs NTSF on SD/SDHC cards

Here is the time it took to copy a directory with 200 files, altogether 122MB, to an SD card

SD card formatted FAT: 42 seconds

SD card formatted FAT32: 92 seconds

SD card formatted NTSF: 200 seconds

(from a FAT32 partition of an 80GB HDD, 700MHz laptop, 512MB RAM, via a USB 2.0 PCCard under Win98)

There are many implications of this result:

- Windows & browser cache files, temp files e.g. for unraring, should be on a FAT drive

- CD/DVD images for burning under WinXP should be on FAT/FAT32 drives for better burn quality, not on an NTSF drive

- frequently accessed software/files in general should be on a FAT drive

- maybe a 4GB SDHC card should be partitioned into 2 FAT partitions, if speed matters, but that would require another benchmark

Edited by Multibooter
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This posting was originally #1; 3 newer postings are above

I have 2 hama USB "Cardreader 6 in 1" model 55310 v3. Singly they work fine under Win98 & WinXP SP2, when connected to a Belkin USB 2.0 PCCard adapter or to the USB 1.1 port of an old laptop. Both card readers have printed on them the SAME "SN: 06822630800". a MAC number is not indicated.

PROBLEM: I cannot have these 2 card readers connected at the same time.

Under Win98, upon inserting the 2nd card reader, the msg: Unsafe Removal of Device is displayed, MyComputer stops displaying the 1st card reader, but shortly afterwards displays the 2nd card reader, under the same drive letter of the 1st card reader, the files on the SD card in the 2nd card reader are correctly displayed & fully accessible.

Under WinXP, when I have the 1st card reader inserted into the USB 2.0 PCCard and subsequently insert the 2nd card reader:

1) into the other slot of the USB 2.0 PCCard, MyComputer displays correctly the content of both card readers, each with a different drive letter (in contrast to Win98). But when I try to copy stuff from one cardreader to the other (both connected to the USB 2.0 PCCard, sticking out of the laptop), the system completely freezes & I have to press the reset button.

2) into the USB 1.1 port at the back of the laptop, the system crashes (power off) immediately, on the next reboot there appears only a blinking cursor, on the 2nd reboot it gets into WinXP again, but with the error msg: "The system has recovered from a serious error" & wants to send a msg to MS.

QUESTION: Is this a problem of the hama card reader or of the Belkin USB 2.0 PCCard? Is it because both card readers have the same SN? I have been using, for example, 2 Adaptec ACS-100 external HDD enclosures connected at the same time, with no problems, but they each had a different SN printed on the back. How can I assign a unique identifier to each of the card readers (WinXP apparently can distinguish between them because it assigns different drive letters to them & displays/reads their content ok, maybe it distinguishes between them by port number??)

QUESTION: Which other SDHC card readers work fine under Win98 & come with a unique SN? Are there any USB SDHC card readers which work with Win98/XP/Vista/Linux?

Note: A SD/SDHC card reader is needed for transferring .nds files from the PC to the R4-III Nintendo adapter. Without a Win98-compatible SD card reader, the file transfer cannot be done under Win98 & must be done under WinXP, see http://www.msfn.org/board/Compatible-Hardw...963#entry794963

Edited by Multibooter
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great work multibooter!!

I (a late-bloomie noobie to digital cameras) am trying to figure out what I need to retrieve pictures out of a digital camera with w98se ...

It may be my ignorance, but as the word 'camera' is not mentioned on the last 10 (of 23) pages of the Maximum-Decim USB driver project, and since cameras are such a huge area, and, since the card reader is apparently the critical item required to use a modern cameras with w98se (since they don't come with w98se drivers), it looks to me like this topic, on card readers and 98se, should be (or become) a pretty important one ...

So, from me, your work on adapting card readers to w98se is (and will be) much, much appreciated ...



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  • 3 weeks later...

Partitioning Software for SD/SDHC cards

If you format an SD/SDHC card on your computer with Windows-Format, the SD/SDHC card may possibly not work in your camera anymore.

"Ok I have a problem.... the SD card I use in my camera might have gone Pete Tong" http://www.vgchartz.com/forum/thread.php?id=38005

"Generally, SD/SDHC Memory Card file systems formatted with generic operating system formatting software do not comply with the SD Memory Card Specification." http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/sd/d..._formatter.html Maybe this warning by Panasonic just refers to FAT12 partitions, where the SD specification allows a max.FAT12 partition size of 256MB, vs 32MB of the Microsoft specification ( http://www.compuphase.com/mbr_fat.htm ,towards the end)

1) Panasonic SD Formatter v2.0.0.3 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)

Since large capacity SDHC cards are quite expensive (a class 6, 32GB SDHC card costs over $200), Panasonic - possibly to prevent customer returns - made this program which can restore an elsewhere formatted card to a near-original factory condition. So if you have done a lot of weird stuff with your SD/SDHC card, like creating several partitions, with NTFS or Linux file systems, different cluster sizes, extended partition, multiple primary partitions, etc., this program can clean that all up. The download location is http://panasonic.jp/support/audio/sd/downl...tp/sdfv2003.exe The Panasonic Formatter creates a single partition on SD/SDHC cards and formats it, only very few choices possible.

2) HP USB Disk Storage Format Tool v2.18 (runs under WinXP, not under Win98SE)

Also creates a single partition on SD/SDHC cards, but does probably not adhere to the SD Memory Card Specification since it was made for HP flash sticks.

Its main use is to make an SD/SDHC card bootable. By selecting in the HP Format Tool the boot file on a floppy, one can possibly create an SD/SDHC card which boots into the XYZ operating system.

3) Acronis Disk Director Suite v10 build 2089 (under Win98SE)

My top choice for special formatting and fiddling around with partitions on SD/SDHC cards under Win98. Allows to format FAT, FAT32, NTFS & Linux partitions on SD/SDHC cards. The more recent build 2160 I rejected, it hung under Win98 after the 2nd internal HDD was partitioned by Vista during the installation of Vista.

Norton Disk Doctor and ScanDisk have not found any errors after Acronis Disk Director formatted single and multi-partition SD/SDHC cards.

There is one annoying bug: Acronis Disk Directory Suite 10 does NOT see the SD/SDHC card if the SD/SDHC card is already inserted in the USB port at Windows startup. To make a card visible to Acronis Disk Director:

- you should insert it into the USB port after Win98 is up;

- or: remove the card reader with the eject-utility in the system tray, then re-insert the card reader

- or: run and exit immediately afterwards Paragon Partition Manager 9.0; voilá, Acronis sees the SD/SDHC card until Windows shuts down.

4) Paragon Partition Manager v9.0 build 4156 (under Win98SE)

It sees the inserted SD/SDHC card as partitionable media, BUT: DON'T use this software for modifying or formatting partitions on an SD/SDHC card. After re-formatting the 2nd partition of a multi-partition SD/SDHC card from FAT16 --> FAT32, Norton Disk Doctor found errors like:

2x "Invalid Disk Table in Boot Record", "Entries with invalid file names"

and ScanDisk found errors like: "The K:\ folder is damaged", "The K:\ folder contains incorrect information about PARA0_1?.???"

Also: The partition of an SD/SDHC card freshly formatted under WinXP with Panasonic Formatter is incorrectly marked red, Invalid Filesystem.

Uses of Paragon Partition Manager v9.0 with SD/SDHC cards:

- as a door opener for Acronis Disk Director Suite: it makes an SD/SDHC card visible

- to export files to & from NTSF partitions with Volume Explorer.

It is very easy to export, for example, files from an NTFS partition on an SD/SDHC card to a FAT32 partition on the same card.

- its disk editor, to see what's in the boot sector and in the MBR of an SD/SDHC card

Seagate DiscWizard 2003 v4.07.11 and DiscWizard for Windows v4.09.05 (under Win98)

Also see the inserted SD/SDHC card as partitionable media, BUT: Rejected, Norton Disk Doctor & ScanDisk also detect errors after an SD/SDHC card was partitioned & formatted with it.

Edited by Multibooter
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Benchmarking partitioning/formatting software for SD/SDHC cards

I initially made a full format of a Kingston 4GB, class 4 micro-SDHC card with the Panasonic Formatter 2.0. For each test I copied under WinXP 200 .jpg files, altogether 122 MB, from a FAT32 partition of an internal IDE 80GB 2.5" HDD to this micro-SDHC card, always newly formatted with the software in question.

Here the amazing results of the time it took to copy these files:

- if fully formatted under WinXP with Panasonic Formatter (FAT32, only cluster size possible: 32kb): 30 seconds = 4.06 MB/sec

- if formatted under Win98 with Acronis Disk Director 10 as FAT32: 123 seconds = 0.99 MB/sec

- if formatted under WinXP with Windows-Format as FAT32: 103 seconds = 1.18 MB/sec

- if formatted under WinXP with HP Formatter (FAT32, 4kb clusters): 100 seconds = 1.22 MB/sec

- if quick formatted under WinXP with Panasonic Formatter 30 seconds = 4.06 MB/sec, same copying speed as full format

The tests were done under WinXP, on a 700MHz laptop, 512MB RAM, Praktica card reader via a USB 2.0 PCCard. Files were copied to the micro-SDHC card from a FAT32 partition of an 80GB 2.5" HDD.

Conclusions and implications:

- copying to an SDHC card is about 4 times faster when the card was formatted with the Panasonic Formatter;

using any other formatting software reduces writing speed to a fourth.

- it is much more important to use the right Formatter than to use a fast SDHC card.

- when you use SDHC cards, you need WinXP, Win98 alone just won't do it

- partitioning an SDHC card into multiple partitions comes at a huge speed cost; if speed is important, it may be better to use several SDHC cards at the same time, rather than partitioning a single card into multiple partitions. This makes combo card readers which assign several drive letters of special interest. The hama Traveldrive, for example, has the size of a stick, and you can use on it simultaneously an SDHC & a micro-SDHC card. On the hama Traveldrive stick, for example, the micro-SDHC card could be a specially formatted smaller boot drive, also containing the encryption key, while, in the other slot, the larger SDHC card could be the non-booting (encrypted) data/program drive formatted with Panasonic Formatter.

- the Panasonic Formatter does not format NTSF since the SD Memory Card Specification only accepts FAT12, FAT16 & FAT32. By formatting an SD card with another Formatter as NTSF or Linux, its speed is reduced to about a fourth, which makes SDHC cards not well suited for running Vista or Linux.

Edited by Multibooter
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Did you notice a link between speed and clusters size?

Cluster size

I just made 3 more tests:

Using the same 4GB Kingston SDHC microSD card & the same old laptop, I copied under WinXP the same 122MB to the microSD card, with the following results:

When the card was formatted under Win98 with Acronis as FAT32, 32kb cluster size: 138 seconds = 0.88 MB/sec

when formatted as FAT 32, cluster size 16kB: 132 seconds = 0.92 MB/sec

Conclusion: cluster size doesn't make much of a difference on write speed of SDHC cards.

Here a comment by H.J.Reggel:

"with FAT32, two FAT copies can occupy up to 1.56% of the media, and cause a lot of processing overhead. There is a recommendation to start with a cluster size of 4kB for disks of more than 260MB and up to 8GB, and to use 32kB cluster size for disks of more than 32GB. But for photo/video recording on flash media, the cluster size should be as large as possible, to reduce the overhead for FAT handling." http://www.hjreggel.net/cardspeed/info-formatting.html

That's probably why the Panasonic Formatter uses a 32kb cluster size on a 4GB card.

Huge boot record of Panasonic Formatter

The 4GB card freshly formatted by Panasonic Formatter had a boot record of 3.064MB (6276 sectors), possibly with special instructions for the controller inside the SDHC card. Maybe this has something to do with the copy-protection scheme of the SD card controller. When the card was reformatted by Acronis Disk Director to FAT32, cluster size 16kB, the boot record was reduced to 16kB (32 sectors). It could be interesting to look into the huge boot sector created by Panasonic Formatter, which may give a clue why the Panasonic Formatter creates fast cards, while the other formatting software creates slow cards.

Making an image file of a SDHC card

WinImage v7.0.a.7009 was able to create under Win98 a .IMA image of the 4GB SDHC card, file size 3.927.104 kB (I don't know how good the created image was). It would be interesting to test whether WinImage can create an identical image of an SDHC card, including boot record. DCF, the classic predecessor, was pretty good at reproducing copy-protected floppy disks...

In a 3rd test, I formatted the 4GB SDHC card with Acronis to FAT16, 64kB cluster size. The same copying test under WinXP took only 90 seconds = 1.35 MB/sec. Using FAT16 instead of FAT32 does make a significant speed improvement.

I was able to read under Win98 the 4GB SDHC card formatted as FAT16, 64kB cluster size, using the Praktica card reader and the nusb v3.3 driver. So the nusb driver does support FAT16 filesystems up to 4095MB.

Edited by Multibooter
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OT, but not much ;)

Both FAT16 and FAT32 have by default two copies of the FAT tables.

The idea is/was that of having some means of recovery in case of something went wrong.

In real world, the two FAT mostly resulted in generating errors about the two FATs not being identical. :unsure:

It is possible to make a FAT filesystem with just one FAT:





Again OT, these may be of interest also:




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Thanks jaclaz, but I assume fat32format by ridgecrop & Fat32Formatter by tokiwa are not for Win98. I prefer to manipulate multiple partitions on removable media like SDHC cards under Win98.

Explorer under WinXP can access only the 1st partition of multiple partitions on removable media, unless you set the removable drive to fixed, with Hitachi Filter Driver v3.20. But this adds another layer of potential errors. Paragon Partition Manager 9.0, for example, can partition/format removable SDHC cards under WinXP. If you have one card reader set with Hitachi as "fixed", you can create multiple partitions under XP with Paragon on a normal card reader, then insert the freshly multi-partitioned card into the other card reader set to fixed, and all partitions on the SDHC card will be displayed by WinXP as "local disk".

The 32GB limitation for FAT32 of WinXP-Format may have been another reason why Panasonic made the Panasonic Formatter v2.0: maybe next year 64GB SDHC cards will be released, and WinXP-Format cannot format them (inefficiently) as FAT32. It looks like the capacity limit of SDHC cards may be 128GB. Since SDHC cards are quite slow (<10 MB/sec), it should be possible to use several card reader sticks together in a USB hub, without a noticeable loss of speed.

Edited by Multibooter
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Yep :), that's why I stated it to be a bit off topic. ;)

However, in my experience both the Hitachi cfadisk.sys and Anton Bassov's dummydisk.sys filter drivers worked flawlessly under 2K and XP.

There is also a Freeware app that can access (and thus partition/format) Removable devices under 2K/XP, Swissknife:


Also, to identify a controller, you may want to use Chipgenius, that usually finds more info than other utilities:


(cannot say how useful this can be with SD cards and the like or if it will even run on Win98)

In the same thread there are links to other similar utilities.


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I just made 3 more tests:

Using the same 4GB Kingston SDHC microSD card & the same old laptop, I copied under WinXP the same 122MB to the microSD card, with the following results:

When the card was formatted under Win98 with Acronis as FAT32, 32kb cluster size: 138 seconds = 0.88 MB/sec

when formatted as FAT 32, cluster size 16kB: 132 seconds = 0.92 MB/sec

Conclusion: cluster size doesn't make much of a difference on write speed of SDHC cards.

Interesting! Thanks for posting results. I'm going to download the Panasonic tool right away.
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Yep :), that's why I stated it to be a bit off topic. ;)

This is kind of a grey/overlapping area: SDHC cards are useful under Win98, but to prepare them properly, you need WinXP.

eMule is for me a must-run-on-Win98 application, for security reasons, but after 2 days to a week, eMule hangs. I suspect mainly because of physical failure of the HDD: reading & writing small amounts of data for very many threads, all over the HDD, and that uninterrupted for a long time, may just stress the HDD too much.

Maybe by using SDHC cards instead of a HDD as location of the Temp directory of eMule, uptime can be significantly increased. During the past 2 weeks the mule (on a dedicated old laptop) has been running with a 4GB micro-SDHC card as a 2nd Temp location, together with a 60GB Temp directory on the HDD, but I haven't seen a change in uptime. I will know for sure after having moved all Temp files onto SDHC cards.

Thanks for the links jaclaz, I'll be checking them out.

Edited by Multibooter
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