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Puzzle with ASRock ConRoe865PE ...

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the following problem is not related to a specific hardware, this specific setup is just serving as an example... be patient...

At the moment, out of boredom, i'm fighting with an ASRock ConRoe865PE.

(Just sent it back, as the BIOS does not keep data (even with a new battery), but the trader has spare boards, so i hope to have one running in the next two weeks.)


The board has a funny IDE/SATA-configuration.

You can have a "compatibility-mode", where only IDE-channel1 or 2 with two devices is active, and the two sata-channels are emulated via the other IDE-channel. You can install the intel-driver, all is fine on w98.

Then, there is the "enhanced" mode, which means, you have both ide-channels, and can connect four IDE-devices (like, i.e., two IDE-SSDs, and two DVD-Roms), and have the two SATA-channels as well, for, i.e., XP and W10.

Unfortunately (and ASRock tells us), the latter config will "not work" (in practive: make w98 hang), once you connect devices to these sata-ports.

(So, you *can* use "enhanced mode with w98, with four IDE-devices, as long as you don't connect devices to the sata-ports - the ports don't initialize, and W98 doesn't detect them as a result, and so doesn't hang)

So, as a result, if you want to use w98, you can have only four devices, even though you have six ports, and if two are meant for XP and W10, those will necessarily run in IDE-mode, either from IDE-devices, or from SATA-devices.


(If you find this confusing, maybe read the manual of the board. It *is* confusing...)

It's just that i *absolutely* *want* to use six devices... and i *want* to connect and use the sata-devices for XP and W10 in sata-mode, *not* in ide-mode...

Why can't i make the SATA-ports invisible to w9x, as it is not supposed to use them anyway, while still keeping them activated in BIOS?!?

< Ragnar G.D. stomping with both feet onto the ground like Rumpelstilzchen(tm) >


So, what can be done?


I want to have a solution, that resolves devices making w98 hang during installation, for ALL hardware.

I don't know if this can be done, but let's propose a theoretical solution as a Gedankenspiel.

Let's assume there is hardware that, when activated in BIOS, makes w9x hang, as, assumed, during driver detection w9x assumes this is a known hardware, errs, applies an init-method that does NOT make sense, and, whoops, the system hangs. Incompatible SATA-ports, incompatible USB-ports, you know the drill.

Now, let's assume, that we apply a fix to the windows-installation CD, that is, we create a custom Install-CD.

We provide drivers for known *BAD-EVIL-BAD* hardware, which does install NOTHING, or some "dummy-drivers", for these devices when detected, so the installation can continue, and the system lives.

And afterwards, the *BAD-EVIL-BAD* hardware doesn't even have a yellow exclamation mark, but a driver named "WeirdDefunctHardwareYouCanTuseThis".




Is that even possible?



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I have red the ConRoe865PE manual, but the bios-settings are not clear to me yet. How many drives you can 'see' in the various modes when starting MS-DOS only?

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Remove/rename ESDI_506.PDR from WINDOWS/SYSTEM/IOSUBSYS. This will make 98SE use slow 16bit compatibility mode disk access, and you can keep the enhanced mode for other OSes.

Now, you can experiment with XHDD from here to possibly(?) speed up the compatibility mode: http://optimizr.dyndns.org/dos/drivers.html

Or, buy rloew's SATA patch, or the new AHCI driver.

Of course, since there's no Intel SATA drivers for 98SE for 865, ASRock fools 98SE by making SATA look like IDE to the system, that's the only choice they had.


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Those configuration options are not that unusual. LoneCrusader has a similar system.

My SATA Patch will allow you to use all 6.

It is possible to modify the INF file to cause the SATA Ports to be an Unknown Device. You will only have Compatibility Mode access to them.

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If Windows 98SE installs two HD-controllers (depending on bios mode?) then it should be possible to set the one with the sata drives to "not installed" (in Safe Mode). In that case you have a chance other drives are still compatible with Windows' ESDI_506.PDR. 

To speed up (sata-)HD-drives in compatibility mode read my thread 'Smartdrive Revisited', including XHDD.SYS-tests.

Edited by deomsh

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Thank you all.

Seems my board is FUBAR, and the seller will most probably refund me.

I'll have to find out another time... :(

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