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Using big USB HDDs with Win 9x/ME

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1) I think now is the appropriate time to reread the thread "Problems with 1 TB RAID, Format (DOS, Windows) doesn't work properly!" and ponder about it some more. I invite you all to do so.

2) I've just added a link to this thread to my using HDDs larger than 137 GB (128 GiB) with Win 9x/ME thread, for easier reference.

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The 2 versions of the 2TiB Patch both modify ESDI_506.PDR so they will not work with USB.

Could you tell something more about 2 TiB patch?

The 2 TiB Patches are designed to allow the use of Hard Drives larger than 2TiB with Windows 9X.

Since no such drives are available yet, I had to simulate a drive to test them, so they are both still in Alpha.

The first approach remaps a Hard Drive into smaller Pseudo Drives that are individually Partitioned and Formatted.

The second approach extends the MBR Partition format and modifies VFAT.VXD to process it.

Edited by rloew

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The second approach extends the MBR Partition format and modifies VFAT.VXD to process it.
:blink: But... but... but it isn't enough to fix the MBR partition table format (in which the last two entries, "Sectors Preceding Partition a.k.a. LBA of 1st Sector" and "Number of Sectors in Partition" are both 32-bit numbers, and hence limited to 2 TiB)! You'd have to first fix the PBR (= Boot Record) format, because the last entry in the BPB ("Sector Number", for large volumes) is also a 32-bit number. And while you can have a working disk without a MBR (= "super-floppy"), you cannot have a working disk without a PBR. dubbio.gif In any case, your first approach seems safer. But both, to be generally usable for those who multiboot, like me, would require also a Win 2k/XP counterpart, to avoid problems, isn't it so?

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The second approach extends the MBR Partition format and modifies VFAT.VXD to process it.
:blink: But... but... but it isn't enough to fix the MBR partition table format (in which the last two entries, "Sectors Preceding Partition a.k.a. LBA of 1st Sector" and "Number of Sectors in Partition" are both 32-bit numbers, and hence limited to 2 TiB)! You'd have to first fix the PBR (= Boot Record) format, because the last entry in the BPB ("Sector Number", for large volumes) is also a 32-bit number. And while you can have a working disk without a MBR (= "super-floppy"), you cannot have a working disk without a PBR. dubbio.gif In any case, your first approach seems safer. But both, to be generally usable for those who multiboot, like me, would require also a Win 2k/XP counterpart, to avoid problems, isn't it so?

In the second design:

I redefined starting sector entries, in both the MBR and VBR/PBR, in the last 8GiB of the 2TiB range as mappings into 64-Bit Sector space.

When encountering one of these starting offsets, my modifications to VFAT.VXD remap the starting offset before adding the partition relative sector number to it. There would be problems mixing OSes since the others would see overlapped partiitons starting near the end of the 2TiB range wrappnig around back over the start of the drive.

The first design avoids problems with multiboot since any unmodified OS would not be aware of the additional Partitions in the area above 2TiB.

The other OSes would not have access of course. They would have full access to Partitions in the first 2TiB.

The disadvantages of this approach are as follows.

1. Problems begin to appear when there are more than 8 physical drives. The Pseudo Drives are treated as physical Drives. This would limit Interrupt 13 compatable Disk Drives to a total of 16TiB. The second approach is only limited by the number of Drive Letters, which is 48TiB (52Tib if A: and B: are repurposed). Increasing the size of a Partition above 2TiB is more complicated and is yet unsolved.

2. Drive letter issues may appear, depending how the Pseudo Drives are setup, as each one's first Primary Partition will be scanned before any extended Partitions.

Neither design currently supports booting from Partitions above 2TiB.

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JFYI:

New, large (>500Gb) USB Hard Disk Drives can work on w98, with the big HDD fix and NUSB installed...

and if they are formated in FAT32.

Reformatting USB Hard Disk Drives from NTSF to Fat32.

The Big HDD Fix is not required with large USB Drives as the ESDI_506.PDR Driver is not used.

If you put a large Hard Drive in an old USB Enclosure, you may be limited to 137GB, but no fix will help as the problem would be in the Enclosure's controller.

If the Drive is larger than 1TiB, you will need to split it into more than one Partition, as there is a bug in Windows 9x that affects Partitions larger than 1TiB. To use larger Partitions, you will need a Patch that I have written.

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Thanks for the informations, rloew.

Do we also need this or does this applies only when no driver is being installed for the device?

When I plugged the USB drive a driver was installed. I had MD's NUSB installed before and I guess the driver come from that.

USB FREE

Generic' date=' Lexar based, USB Mass Storage Driver for Windows 98 SE.

Windows 98 RTM has a flaw causing occasional corruption of IDE as well as USB

Drives, when transferring data, so use of USB Drives in Windows 98 RTM is not

recommended.

Unzip files and point the Hardware Installer to them when prompted for a

driver during installation.

[/quote']

I may be interrested in the 1TB patch.

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Thanks for the informations, rloew.

Do we also need this or does this applies only when no driver is being installed for the device?

When I plugged the USB drive a driver was installed. I had MD's NUSB installed before and I guess the driver come from that.

USB FREE

Generic' date=' Lexar based, USB Mass Storage Driver for Windows 98 SE.

Windows 98 RTM has a flaw causing occasional corruption of IDE as well as USB

Drives, when transferring data, so use of USB Drives in Windows 98 RTM is not

recommended.

Unzip files and point the Hardware Installer to them when prompted for a

driver during installation.

[/quote']

I may be interrested in the 1TB patch.

The free Generic USB Driver I distribute does the same thing as NUSB (not the USB2.0 portion) but in a smaller package. If you are using NUSB you probably do not need my package. I have been using my Package along with the USB2.0 drivers from NUSB.

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I have tested writing, reading and deleting on USB HDD full beyond the 1 Tib barrier and I didn't see any error. Moreover I'm sure the datas I tested are written "after the first Tib" because the drive was filled to 1 Tib at once and I added datas to it later.

Now I'm not saying that every w98 users wil be as lucky as I'm!

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I have tested writing, reading and deleting on USB HDD full beyond the 1 Tib barrier and I didn't see any error. Moreover I'm sure the datas I tested are written "after the first Tib" because the drive was filled to 1 Tib at once and I added datas to it later.

Now I'm not saying that every w98 users wil be as lucky as I'm!

The 1TiB Problem occurs only with certain alignments of data so there is a 1 in 4 chance that a given Partition will have the problem.

The problem appears when trying to read a Directory where the Directory itself is above the 1TiB limit.

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There is another internal option on windows 95/98/ME to use a large hard drive, that is a special IDE or SATA controller such as those made by Maxtor/Promise and other company's or a SCSI controller.

I have a Maxtor IDE card (ATA133) (these were originally sold by Promise) it supports IDE drives threw 750gig directly, it shows up under windows as a SCSI controller which doesn't have the file size limitation that a reg IDE controler has.

I also have a VIA SATA\IDE card it also shows up as a SCSI in windows, I have a 1Terabyte SATA drive and a 750Gigabyte SATA drive and a 320Gigabyte IDE running on win ME. Plus A 20gig boot drive and a DVD writer on the primary controller, so I know this works.

These are cheap on E-bay, I paid $3.00 with free shipping for the new VIA card I have, Maxtor/promise cards are a bit more, but have more options like being boot-able, the VIA isn't.

Also make sure the card you pick has drivers for win95/98/ME as some don't.

Oh and one note: You may have to disable one of your on-board IDE ports to use these cards, and note on the Maxtor ATA133 cards you need to use port2 first and only use port1 only if using more than two drives.

SCSI Drives were able to go over the 1Terabyte as a single partition threw LUN spanning of multiple SCSI drives, so large drives are directly supported on SCSI under windows 95/98/ME, so no patches, you may have to partition on over 1Terabyte though, but I don't have a drive larger than 1Terabyte so I can't speak about that. Win95 and some versions of win98 may need additional win drivers.

You can download software from most of the hard drive manufacturers to partition and setup those large hard drives under win95/98/ME if you don't know how to do it the old fashioned way. This software will also work on USB attached drives, well at least the Maxtor and Western Digital software, no clue on other brands, I won't use Seagate as they fail way too fricken often, Hitachi's support is a bit less than I liked and their drives seem to be a bit slow but seem to keep working so far as I've seen, I saw problems with Samsung on both speed and reliability.

Maxtor software will work on other brand drives as long as a Maxtor drive is in the system.

I'll have to see what happens with Maxtor now that Seagate has them, best get any software you need from Maxtor as Seagate mite not have it online for long.

I recommend the Western Digital green drives, they run cooler and if you have a system you can see the speed difference on them from a blue or black version, you have a hell of a lot better drive controller than most boards have.

Most of the external USB SATA drives work fine under win95/98/ME but may need drivers from one of the older IDE USB drives you can get off the manufacturer's web sites. These drivers can fix the hard drive shut down problem under windows with some on board USB controlers.

Also you may have to install a USB card and disable the on board USB ports, I have had good luck in boards with this problem to use the ALI 2port USB card, you can get these cheap used on E-bay, some people may need the ALI USB fix patch for everything to work right.

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SCSI Drives were able to go over the 1Terabyte as a single partition threw LUN spanning of multiple SCSI drives, so large drives are directly supported on SCSI under windows 95/98/ME, so no patches, you may have to partition on over 1Terabyte though, but I don't have a drive larger than 1Terabyte so I can't speak about that. Win95 and some versions of win98 may need additional win drivers.

The 1TiB limit per Partition is due to a bug in the Windows FileSystem Driver so using SCSI will not help.

I wrote a Patch to fix it.

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